Let It Move You

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

Four simple words. Four words that can make a lasting impact.

When I hear the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching,” it makes me nervous because what if someone IS watching. It is the fear of being criticized, made fun of, looked down upon, that causes me to tighten up and not want to just “let loose” in public settings. But at the end of the day I try to remind myself, who cares? Who cares if you’re having a great time and someone else thinks you look funny. What really matters if that you’re having fun and you’re enjoying your life.

The reason I am writing about this is because there is always another side to the story. The fear of being “laughed at” or made fun of is a minuscule concern compared to some of the day-to-day fears others may be facing. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be attending school with a stable living condition, steady job and same amount of emotional and financial support from family and friends.

Across the nation, thousands of women are fleeing from domestic violence and seeking safe shelter. Each year Campus Rec partners with the Women’s Resource Center to host their annual Zumbathon. All proceeds from participants go towards funding to provide shelter to victims of domestic violence.

Don’t be afraid to dance your heart out, let loose and let the music move you. I encourage you to participate in community events that stand for a good cause. Portland State offers hundreds of events that connect you with volunteering and relief efforts.

It is a simple task to drop your worries, be brave and dance for those who can’t.

 

Scheduling Spring

Through and through I am a planner. I live for organization and tidiness. Arranging objects via color, alphabetically, by size or shape gets me ridiculously excited. I view my love for organization as a strength; however, it is definitely also a weakness because I allow little room for sudden changes.

This spring term I may or may not have committed myself to one too many things. And by one too many things, I definitely mean like five or six. Despite spreading myself far too thin, I am determined to fulfill all of my commitments and do so with grace, ease, and the aid of caffeine. I am determined to schedule all of my time down to the minute and stick to it.

In order to manage 20 credit hours for school, two part-time jobs, and my personal life I am heavily relying on the amazing trifecta of: bullet journaling, to-do lists, and calendar apps. Bullet journaling and organizing your time and efforts can definitely be overwhelming, but I have found it is very much worth the stress.

If you’re looking for any organization inspiration, I recommend a Google or Tumblr search for “studyblr,” which is full of beautiful photos of color coded notes and schedules and charts and a whole lot of other stuff artistically organized.

Don’t Forget What You Love

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Recently, I have found myself falling away from some of the hobbies I love in order to study and do homework. Even though college is definitely a time to figure yourself out and find your identity, I started to miss parts of myself I’d accidentally left behind.

For years I sang, played guitar, and enjoyed performing the songs I’ve written at open mic nights. In fact, Portland’s flourishing music scene is a key reason I chose PSU—and yet I still have not been to an open mic. For the entirety of winter term, I only picked up my guitar once and never wrote a new song.

I also haven’t been running as much. I loved having a goal to train for that culminated in a competitive race where I really tested my limits. Moving to Portland from Idaho, I was excited to participate in the races it had to offer. As in the case with my singing and songwriting, fall and winter term passed by and my runs grew few and far between.

Despite entering spring quarter of my freshman year with two academically successful terms behind me, I felt rather unaccomplished and disappointed. On a whim, I signed up for the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon with only a month to train. After my first long training run, I immediately felt like part of my old self was back—and in a good way. I have also queued up possible open mics to go to and ended my creative drought by writing a song.

Looking back, I see that I took the “fresh start” of college too literally and ended up sidelining the things I love to do. It’s very easy to get swept away in the idealized college life of self-discovery. Despite the transformations I’ve undergone, the biggest learning curve was realizing that not everything about me has to change.

 

How to Find Music at Portland State

img_4865by Andrew D. Jankowski

When I realized I was (finally!!!!) old and irrelevant to youth culture, I thought I didn’t know how to find new music anymore. The last time I tried to go back to MySpace, the login process was a jumbled mess, like an outdated HTML fantasy layout. What do straight people listen to, and why? How do you say FKA twigs? Why do people make fun of Grimes? My tastes have grown from riot grrrl offshoot projects to black and queer vogue ball music, and things between. Aaron Osborn, the Portland State Vanguard’s current creative director, has good taste in music, as do my other friends and coworkers, but I don’t necessarily have time to pilfer all their libraries.

I can pick my way through press releases and Facebook event invites. But there are more ways than downloading albums off Limewire (RIP) to find new music, and even support your classmates and alumni on and off campus. Here are a few ways to find new music:

Parkway North: The northwest lounge on Smith Memorial Student Union’s first floor has daily programming, hosting everything from community events to free concerts by some of Portland’s best emerging and established musical artists. Check out their website to stay updated on their programming.

Lincoln Performance & Recital Hall: Host to concerts, plays, musicals, recitals, lectures, film screenings and more. Every floor of Lincoln Hall has poster boards, which are popular locations for poster hangers promoting events on and off campus.

Event Calendars: Sure, I bet some of you hate “the liberal media.” That’s okay**, I’m not a fan of their music either. But you can’t deny that Portland’s event calendars are consistently packed with some of the city’s best culture & entertainment, and I’m not just saying that because I curate the Vanguard’s event calendar. Willamette Week and Portland Mercury’s event calendars are what inspired me as a deeply confused heterosexual Christian teen from Vancouver (which is totally its own town and “not” the New Jersey of Portland) to get into arts and culture journalism. They were how I learned about what are now Portland institutions like Sinferno Cabaret, Blow Pony and STRFKR.

The internet / apps: Venues across town also have event calendars. Subscribe to your favorite venues’ social media pages & mailing lists, and if you aren’t -actually- financially struggling, then please stop complaining about cover fees because that’s how bands and venues make their living. Also, sometimes I forget that stuff like Pandora, Spotify Radio, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp exist because I’m secretly a techphobe who needs an intern to do stuff like make Snapchat make sense as a time investment.
**Disclaimer: It is okay to critique media and press workers’ work, but it is not okay to bully us or defame our profession, especially when we are acting within ethical guidelines.

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.

Petextrians

img_4856 by Steph Holton

In October, I fell down a flight of stairs in Lincoln Hall. It was not the way I’d planned on leaving film class that day, but then again, my attention was mostly on my phone at the time. Other than several days of a limp, I was lucky enough not to sustain any major injuries, thus my friends and family felt the luxury of laughing at my clumsiness. I’m glad it turned out that way instead of what could easily have been broken bones.

I’m telling you this story to show that I’m guilty of being a petextrian. That is, a person walking while distracted by their handheld device. According to CBS News, at least 10 percent of pedestrians ending up in emergency rooms are injured from distracted walking, and in a recent survey, more than three-quarters of Americans said distracted walking is a “serious issue.”

If the recognition is there, why are people still falling off cliff edges while looking through a lens and walking onto train tracks while checking email?

Last year, I wrote a blog declaring my New Year’s resolution to lessen my cell phone use in order to more fully engage in the moment. I realize what a challenge that is in the Digital Age that we live in, but the statistics on distracted walking are clear, and so my appeal to you now is more urgent: Don’t be another YouTube video of a pedestrian jumping out of the way of the Max at the last moment.

College is a Battle

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

When was the last time you actually did something fun at school? This week the Rec Center brought a life-size game of Battleship to the swimming pool, and it was one of the most thrilling activities I have done all year. Our rendition of pool Battleship stems from a classic board game that involves strategy and guessing. The object of the game is to “sink” your opponent’s ships that they have strategically placed on a 10×10 square grid. With each correct guess, your opponent’s ship takes a “hit” and slowly begins to sink until each part of their ship has been hit.

The life-size version of Battleship that we play mimics a similar concept to the board game. We have players team up into large, canoe-like boats where we’re given paddle boards and buckets as “weapons.” On the blow of the whistle, we paddle hastily towards other teams and fling buckets of water into their boat to sink their “ship.” As fun as it sounds, it’s certainly an upper body workout in disguise and a team effort.

Believe it or not, after nearly three years of working at the Rec Center, this was my first time stepping foot into our swimming pool. The game not only gave me a reason to try something new, but it reminded me that it’s moments like this that contribute to the overall value and experience we attribute to our time spent at a university. I think everyone deserves to have some enjoyable memories of their college experience, whether it be social outings with classmates or participating in a crazy, untraditional event like Battleship. We shouldn’t be leaving school with nightmares of the rough nights studying until 2 a.m. or that one test we scored terribly on.

Sometimes, we take school a little too seriously. While grades are important, they are not the only defining factors of success. I challenge you to purposely find ways to enrich your university experience not just through classroom learning but experiential learning. College is a constant battle of finding balance. How do you plan to enrich your experience?