Communication Frustration

me

By Olivia Clarke

At a little over a month into my study abroad program in France, I’ve learned a number of things. For instance: French pastries are, in fact, delicious; discussing sensitive political issues is a favorite local pastime; and picking up after one’s dog is definitely not a priority here. But by far the most jarring discovery I’ve made is that learning a new language is really, really hard. Really.

I came to France after studying the language for four years. When I arrived at the University of Pau, I tested into one of the highest levels in the language program. However, this does not mean I’m anywhere near fluent. Between prepositions, conjugations, listening comprehension, and just plain vocabulary, the ever-present language barrier can make my interactions with French people exhausting. And then, of course, there are the inevitable embarrassing mistakes, like the time when I used the wrong auxiliary verb and accidentally informed my host mother that I was dead. It seems like every time I open my mouth, I get corrected, and every day I learn that I’ve been misusing a word or expression this whole time. Sometimes the frustration of being wrong so often just makes me want to hide in my room.

It all comes down to two basic truths: language is really complicated, and expressing oneself is really important. When we’re stripped of our ability to communicate ideas, it can be pretty traumatic; yet a new language can’t be learned overnight. So the budding bilingual finds herself in an uncomfortable no man’s land between blissful ignorance and fluency, where communication is a constant struggle. That’s tough, but I have to keep two things in mind: I chose this experience for myself, and you can bet I wouldn’t learn any of this from a textbook.

Let the Spring Light Wipe out Hate

By Chelsea Ware

Chelsea 2

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”

― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Spring’s warm weather is almost here! I love spring at PSU because I can expect to enjoy sunny afternoons on the grass, music by the water front, and ice cream breaks in between classes. However, there is one aspect of warmer weather at PSU that I don’t look forward too, and that is the evangelical preachers in the park blocks. As someone who spends a lot of time of campus, I’ve come to see PSU as my home and find it jarring when I hear someone screaming intolerant, homophobic, anti-Semitic and vulgar comments so brazenly. Whenever I see the preachers in action, I usually also see a group of students crowded around them shouting back. While I too get tempted to join in and argue with the preachers, I make a firm point not too. I think that the best solution to deal with people who come to campus and bellow discriminatory views is to simply ignore them. I know it’s easier said than done, but one of the main reasons people like that come here is because they enjoy having the audience. Why do you think they mainly come when it’s warm out? They know that they will have the largest audience and be the most comfortable. They simply enjoy arguing with the students and feel a sense of power from starting drama on our campus. If they were actually interested in spreading the word and teachings of Jesus Christ (which is love, by the way) they would do it rain OR shine. They would donate to the ASPSU food pantry or help pick up litter. These are not logical Christians; therefore arguing with them will accomplish nothing. This is our campus, not theirs. To take it back we simply need to rise above their hatred by smiling and enjoying the good things that spring has to offer.

Dating like a grown-up

Charlotte gets it /via taniayasmin.tumblr.com

Charlotte gets it /via taniayasmin.tumblr.com

I have this girlfriend, we’ll call her Katie, who was seeing someone. They would meet up regularly, like every other night at least, and one day, nothing. The guy, we’ll call him Mitchell, said all the right things – the sweet stuff, things about the future. But the morning after? He completely pulled the rug out from under her and back-tracked. No more calls, no more texts, nothing.

What happened? Two kids with the ideas of high school relationships floating in the back of their heads got caught up in the freedoms and naivities of college dating.

Think about how much easier it is to be around your honey 24/7 when you’re an adult especially if you live on campus. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to completely evade someone you do not want to see.

Instead of being forced to see each other in the hallways of Suburbia High, we’re able to drop off the face of the earth without so much as an, “I’m just not that into you.” But why do we do it? Why do we go from bright-eyed, bushy-tailed dating in high school, to dropping off when we cannot handle the seriousness anymore?

Obviously curing emotional unavailability comes from within, but what about simply making a rule of open communication? That’s what we lack. It’s harder to be a complete jerk to someone when, chances are, you’re going to see them in homeroom or at lunch. In college, we can hide.

Now, high school relationships have their own downfalls. College dating took those downfalls and exacerbated them. Were we too invested in high school relationships sometimes? Probably. Then put those overzealous emotions and inject them into the college world – stress about money, grades, the ever frightening future.

The fears we had when we were 16 – read: this is too serious – blow up in our faces. When you’re 16 it’s a bit easier to say, “well it’s only high school;” but when you’re an adult, the future – particularly the romantic future – feels much more tangible.

I believe that the best advice – and the infuriating – is to be completely honest. If you really like someone, you should tell them. If you want to be serious with that person, you should tell them. If you do not want to be serious with that person, you should definitely tell them.

Our futures are right in our faces, let’s not waste anyone’s time with games.

Please Silence Your Cell Phone and Enjoy the Show!

post 1 picBy: Chelsea Ware

For a college student like me who is on a tight budget, going to a mainstream movie theater can be tough. $11 for a ticket? $6 for popcorn? All for a movie that’s a remake or just full of plot holes and lousy acting… However, there is still a way for students to enjoy movies without breaking the bank right here on campus. 5th Avenue Cinema, Portland State University’s student run movie theater, is free with your student I.D. You also get a complimentary bag of popcorn.  One to two movies are featured every weekend at 7:30 and 9. It is a great place to check out vintage titles such as “Gremlins” and “Return to Oz” while supporting your fellow students.

If you are new to campus, it is a wonderful way to meet other people because it is definitely not your conventional movie theater. One of the coolest things about 5th Avenue Cinema is that the patrons know how to have an exciting time. When I was last there a few weeks ago to watch the Japanese horror flick Pulse,   people gathered in the lobby before the show to talk and munch on their popcorn.  During the movie, the audience was cracking witty jokes and strangers were laughing together about the characters’ poor decisions.  The small theater size and enthusiasm from the crowd made the amusement palpable, and it was hard not to be infected from the humor that buzzed around.

If you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you check out some of their screenings. All upcoming titles and show times can be found at http://5thavenuecinema.org/.

A live phone call — someone loves me

By: Theo Burke

"Hey, I didn't know it could TALK!"

“Hey, I didn’t know it could TALK!”

Not long ago, while working on a PSU Vanguard story, I received a return phone call, within 24 hours, from Scott Gallagher of the University Communications office. I nearly fell down from shock.

I had not received a live phone call in months from anyone other than my mother. And it seemed as though an ever-increasing amount of important people in my life had barricaded themselves behind “email walls.”

When I recently asked to meet with an editor at one of the three student media outlets I worked for, she simply refused to do it. Her supervisor had established a policy, she said, that editors could limit communications with writers to email. No meetings, live conversations, or body language required.

A professor supervising me on a huge term paper could only be reached by email and was only on campus two days per week. She had not even set up the voice mail on her office phone. But this makes her no different from most PSU profs —not a single professor in my three years here has used the office phone.

Mr. Gallagher reminded me what humans are capable of. Follow up.  Consideration. Professionalism. Simple human respect and kindness. And he understands that the old standards of professionalism still matter to do your job.

I submit to you all that we will not be able to live without live voice communication and nonverbal body language over the long run. We will not be able to abandon those and hold onto the jobs that we like, as well.

No amount of quiet, feverish tapping on our devices will replace our voices and ourselves.

Text Messaging = LIFE

Reach into your pocket. I am willing to bet all the money in mine that you have a cell phone in there. I am willing to put even more money on the line to bet that you have an unread text message waiting for a reply. It seems like here on campus and everywhere else in the world, people are constantly texting. People text more than they live!

On the PSU campus, I can recall times where someone was so into their “text”-versation that they bumped into me. Just the other night I found myself texting in between bites at the dinner table. Class getting kind of boring? How many times have you seen a classroom full of students texting during a lecture? I have to say this is the most outrageous one that even I am guilty of: having a conversation on the phone and texting at the same time, or as I like to call it, texting while talking……LOL.

It amazes me how popular text messaging has become. Even my beautiful grandmother is on the text messaging scene. But hey, as long as you are not texting while driving feel free to give your thumbs a workout ladies and gentlemen. People text more than they live, but texting that results in taking a life is not cool at all. Come on PSU, I know I left something out, what are some other bizarre text message scenarios you have seen around campus?