PSU Accreditation Scare, Not So Scary

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

The PSU Vanguard recently published an article about PSU’s accreditation status. As of January 2019, PSU has two years to improve how it defines and assesses student learning outcomes. Less than half of PSU’s programs have sufficient plans to assess student learning, and accreditation requires that number to increase above 50% by 2021. If PSU fails to comply with these standards, the university risks probation and after that loss of accreditation. Losing accreditation is a big deal, as it means the loss of federal funding. 

Upon first reading this article and talking about it amongst my peers, we were all under the impression that PSU was already on probation when it is not. In this mix of misunderstanding, I’d started researching what a diploma from an unaccredited university meant for job and graduate school opportunities. All of my upperclassmen friends were thanking their lucky stars that they’d be graduating within a year regardless. In reality, we had no idea what the accreditation process and continuing verification looked like for a university. One thing that the PSU Vanguard article didn’t mention was that accreditation status is evaluated and reaffirmed in a seven-year cycle. PSU was last evaluated in 2015, and the next evaluation is in 2022. Additionally, the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, which governs the accreditation of regional universities, does not have a defined time period for probation. So while PSU has two years to fix the current student learning assessment problem, it could actually amount to several more years.

All in all, I know this article caused a level of fear amongst my peers. I know that I had never even considered what it would mean for a university to lose accreditation and what that would mean for myself and the entire student body. However, looking at the accreditation process as a whole puts everything in perspective. PSU has a lot of time to fix the current issue, and remains accredited at least until 2022—and hopefully for many years to come. 

Homesick? Here’s what I do

By Wiwin Hartini

It’s almost been three years since the last time I saw my family at home in Indonesia. I often think that it’s not that long ago until I suddenly miss home badly. I miss speaking my native language, eating cheap local food, being with my family and friends and enjoying the tropical weather.

It feels funny and lonely sometimes when the people around you speak a totally different language, have hair and skin that are different from yours and find things humorous that  I need to think about sometimes. Is this real? All I want at that time is to be home watching my family’s favorite movie chosen by my younger brothers. It’s good to feel this way to some extent because it makes me appreciate the time I get to spend with people here in the U.S., which will not be forever.

Recognizing this feeling is also hard when you’re trying to look like you’re fine all the time. But I think it is important to be aware of it because it can happen to anyone at any time.

Here are a  few things that I found work for me when I feel like I just want to go back home.

Get busy with activities you enjoy

Getting involved in clubs, organizations or working on campus can shift our thoughts. Working on campus has been a good tool for me because I have to think about getting my work done and learn new job skills.

Try those food carts around PSU

I would say this is my favorite activity when I am thinking about food at home. At least, I get to try different types of food at the carts across Fourth Avenue from the Engineering building. My favorite is Pho, and yes, the first time I tried it was actually in the U.S.

Less social media

It gets frustrating sometimes when you look at your friends’ social media and they seem so happy without you, isn’t it? Well, I’m happy when they’re happy, but I feel like I’m missing something. This feeling can trigger homesickness too. So, use social media wisely; such as actually to communicate instead of looking at people’s posts only.

The U.S. is big, travel if you can!

It doesn’t have to be expensive; small trips with friends can be fun. The idea is to create activities we can look forward to. My friend from China and I are planning to visit San Francisco this spring break. The fun part so far is trying to figure out the places that are worth visiting.

Remember the reason we’re here

Why am I here? Answering this question helps me during difficult times.

There are more to share, but I hope whoever is experiencing homesickness doesn’t feel alone anymore.

The Unspoken Truth Of College

 

adbi2 By: Adair Bingham

Before I moved from home to live in in my own dormitory in September of 2017, my head was filled with false narratives and elaborate ideas about what college life is like. I was always led to believe that it was an endless hustle and bustle: wild parties left and right, new romantic partners at every turn and reckless decisions made just for the fun of it.

I’m in my second year of university, and I haven’t experienced any of these things. What I have undergone isn’t cruel or unusual. It’s simply the strange truths of college life which many students like to sweep under the rug.

After I graduated from high school, I was playing my faux “cool guy” persona, trying to fool myself into believing that I was prepared to live on my own.  If I had the power to turn back time and let myself know what college life is truly like, I think that I’d be both relieved and horribly confused.

One thing that definitely seems to be a disregarded problem is laundry. Everyone is well aware of the fact that college isn’t cheap, and if you’re living in the dorms, this fact hits even harder. College students want to save as much money as they possibly can, leaving some people to skimp out on weekly laundry hauls. Nobody ever told me to prepare for the fact that you may have to wear the same outfit for two or three weeks on end. Granted, nobody is going to say anything (hopefully), but you’ll definitely feel like you perpetually stink.

Another thing people conventionally forget in their college stories is what can only be described as the gladiator battle for seating in classes. One thing that I have discovered (and seems to be a universal experience amongst my peers) is that if someone happens to sit in your typical seat, your entire day is thrown off balance.

In the same vein, one key piece of advice that I would give to upcoming college students is to always scope out your classes prior to the first day. I cannot even begin to describe the primal sense of fear that surges through your body when you cannot find a class. It is one of the worst things to experience.

Another thing that many neglect to tell you is that literally nobody is going to pass judgement onto you for what you wear, what your interests are, or anything of that superficial nature. I came into college fearing disdain from my peers, but no one has batted an eye at me for any of my interests, tastes, or anything of the sort.

If I could go back in time to tell myself one thing, it would be to not be afraid of the people, the atmosphere, or living on my own. You’ll encounter bumps in the road and minor hiccups along the way, but you are prepared to be in college and you’ll be just fine, despite your doubts.

 

Getting Tatted at 21, Regretting it at 22

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

When I turned 21, I got three tattoos within two days. I got a huge flower along my collar bone, my name spelled in Vietnamese on my chest, and an arrow on my arm. This was a time where I was rebellious and wild. I got a lot of piercings done, too. I wanted to have a “bad-ass” reputation and be covered in tattoos to look cool and hardcore. I was living my life recklessly and didn’t think about the consequences that may come from my actions. But now I want to rip all my tattoos off.

I have become more serious about my studies and career goals. Unlike the person that I was when I was 21 (even though that was only a year ago), I’ve matured a lot and take my life seriously now. I’ve come to realize that having huge tattoos on my body could potentially get in the way of my career path, and that’s part of the reason why I want to take them off. The other reason is that I don’t find tattoos aesthetically pleasing anymore. I no longer like the look of having drawings and symbols on my body.

My nose piercing, which my parents hated and served as a symbol of my rebellion, was easily taken off. Only in my dreams would it be that easy to take my tattoos off. I guess it’s OK to be young and make mistakes, but I wish my mistake wasn’t so permanent. I do plan to have all four of my tattoos removed in the future, but from my research, it would cost a lot and be very painful.

Until I am financially stable enough to go under a laser, I will just have to suck it up and live with the consequences of my irresponsible actions. The person that I am now would never get any tattoos. She is goal driven and only cares about graduating and building a successful career. But when I’m old and wrinkly, I will (hopefully) be tattoo-free and will look back and laugh at how dumb I was when I was 21.

The Mirror

me! By Julien-Pierre Campbell

My mirror is dusty. It sits in my carpeted bedroom, all but unused, and I cannot bring myself to clean it.

“Every teenager is self-conscious!” my mother has always chided. “This is normal. It’ll pass.”

The thing is, I don’t hate how I look. I’ve got a killer jawline, curves for days, and an adorable haircut. I don’t hate the way I dress. My fashion sense lies somewhere between a wannabe punk and a 2005 emo. I love my black skinny jeans and grungy beanies. But the crippling dysphoria, oh, how it kills me.

When people look at me, they see a tomboy. An androgynous one, perhaps, but clearly a girl. In the words of a less than kind friend, “You look like a punk butch! It’s, like, your whole thing.”

But I am not a tomboy. Not a girl. Not a “punk butch.”

I’m a boy.

I see the way my beloved black jeans hug my hips and I cringe. My cut-up band T-shirts reveal my chest, small, but forever a tell. My face, even with the square jaw and high cheekbones that make me feel like a Greek god on my best days, looks feminine.   

I try to romanticize myself. A feminine young man, a dandy. A 19th century fop. A young, androgynous devotee of Apollo back in ancient times. But then I look in the mirror and my illusion shatters.

“I identify as a guy who likes guys,” I correct the friend, the less-than-kind one. “I mean, I’m pansexual for sure. But when you call me a lesbian, it invalidates me. It’s crushing. I’m trying to look like a guy. Not like…whatever your image of a lesbian is.”

It’s an endless cycle of frustration. Of invalidation. People should be able to look however they want, no?

I wish I had a clean solution for all of this dysphoria, but I don’t. I have hope and excitement about my future, but please, everybody — be sensitive to your trans friends. Our everyday life is a battle.