The Last Word

IMG_7864  by Molly MacGilbert

I’m graduating next month. Just typing those words feels hard to believe. My college career did not follow a linear path; I attended four different colleges in three different time zones, with a year off in the middle during which I worked at a bagel shop and partied too much. I’ve learned so much in the past five years—and I didn’t learn all of it in textbooks or classrooms. As I prepare to leave PSU and enter the so-called real world, I will impart a few quick lessons I wish I could’ve told my freshman self:

  1. Sit in the front of the class. Simple but effective. By sitting near the front of the room, you’re up close and personal with the material. It’s harder to get away with smartphone distractions, side conversations, watching pigeons through classroom windows or daydreaming. The times I’ve habitually sat in the front have left me pleasantly surprised by my test grades.
  2. Get involved in the student community. This is something you’ve heard a million times and, like me, have maybe been reluctant to listen to. When I first transferred to PSU, I read the Vanguard every week and wanted to contribute. I included this goal in to-do lists, planner pages and new year’s resolutions. It wasn’t until my senior year that I finally wrote my first story— and I could not believe how exciting and rewarding it was to see it in newsprint. My only regret is not getting involved sooner.
  3. Use a planner. With Vanguard and student blog responsibilities, internships, a 6-credit capstone and homework, I could not have stayed afloat without my planner. Weekly and daily to-do lists and color-coding helped me manage my time confidently and efficiently. Once deadlines and due dates are on paper, they’re no longer building up in my head and stressing me out. Don’t think of yourself as a slave to your planner, though—just do things piece by piece, do the best you can and know that you will handle it all.

To those of you who are still powering through your education, you’ve got this! And congrats to my fellow soon-to-be graduates—we’re almost done, and it feels good. Feel free to comment your own tips for ruling your schooling!

Not qualified? Get an internship.

IMG_7864 by Molly MacGilbert

Here we are, students at Portland State, in the city of bridges and roses and sportswear companies. We’re all in a pretty good position for internships—being in college gives us an excuse to get some work experience in a field we’re not actually that qualified for (yet). When I was a junior at PSU, I interned with local nonprofit Literary Arts for seven months. My senior year started with a six-month marketing internship with TriMet and is now ending with a spring term internship with Overcup Press. These three internships have given me invaluable work (and life) experiences.

On paper—unless it’s resume paper—internships tend to seem undesirable. Interns may seem like doormats or Coffee Donkeys. This is a common misconception; in my own experience as an intern, I have not yet picked up anyone’s coffee or had anyone wipe their feet on me. Internships do require challenging (and often unpaid) work, but under the right circumstances, you’ll be too engrossed in your work to notice you’re doing it for free.

For more career and internship-related information, attend one of PSU’s career fairs, like the All Majors Career + Internship Fair on May 1 in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom!

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?

My Major Networking Opportunity

Kellie Doherty  By Kellie Doherty

The Write to Publish 2016 conference is over. Write to Publish is an annual writing conference, and it’s a great place to find some interesting contacts and meet some influential people. (I also organized it this year, so I may be a tad biased.)

One of the great things about my graduate program (MS in Book Publishing) is the hands-on learning we have and the networking opportunities that arise from that dynamic environment. To say I made a few contacts working on Write to Publish would be an understatement, and last Saturday, I finally got to meet the people I’ve been communicating with for the last six months. I got to shake their hands, introduce myself, and put faces to all those emails.

One of the great things about this year’s conference, though, is half of our attendees were college students! I was pleasantly surprised by this, because it means they got to meet all those speakers and vendors, too! It was the perfect networking opportunity for students interested in going into publishing, one that showcased many publishing professionals and gave the students a chance to connect with them. I know it will help me, and hopefully many others, find a job in the future. So, if you didn’t get the chance to make it to this year, mark it on your calendar for 2017! It’ll be a great place to sharpen your networking skills.

And if you were there, how did it go?

Questioning the System

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by Shezad Khan

Now that I’ve officially begun my career as a graduate student, I’ve been delving into some pretty interesting conversations with my cohort. A topic that was the focus of a lively discussion that took place recently was that of the “banking concept” in education. This concept essentially places teachers and professors as holders of knowledge who deposit said knowledge into students. It’s a controversial method of teaching to say the least, but sometimes education adopts iffy frameworks.

I bring this up because we should all be well aware that the education system in this country, to put it gently, isn’t the best. I’m sure that the amount of reasons for the failure of our education system is vast, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try to figure it out. Some of the problems that come from the banking concept include elitist educators, lack of student/teacher interaction, and even the fact that students are meant to be docile in terms of doing and thinking what they’re told to.

I’m interested in discussions like this because I want to become a college professor. As we go through school, day by day and week by week, it’s easy to get stuck in this cycle of doing what’s on our syllabi and getting assignments in on time. Seldom do we stop and think about what it is we’re actually doing. But I think it’s very important for us to rebel a little. By that, I don’t mean you should flip your desks and tables in a frenzy during your class. I just mean that, sometimes, it’s healthy to criticize institutions.

What a Wonderful Year

meBy: Sharon Nellist

This upcoming year at Portland State is the one I have been waiting for.

Not only is it my last undergraduate year (hoping to stay for graduate studies!), but I am comfortably involved in various ways to ensure that quintessential college experience that I have been pining for all of my young adult life – and I am elated!

I WRITE – for the PSU Chronicles, and I love it. This is my voice and I intend to use it. I hope to flourish my opinion on controversial issues not only on campus but within my community. This is the only option for change.

I PLAY – or rather dabble in various Rec clubs from swing dancing, to Dragon Boat racing, and rowing. I am taking advantage of all that our unique urban campus has to offer like the week-long community celebration Portland State of Mind, FREE movies at the student-run 5th Avenue Cinema, and the privilege of listening to generous amounts of brilliant minds at PSU hosted events.

I SERVE – as a Student Leader for Service through the Student Community Engagement Center. Stepping a bit out my box and yearning for growth as a leader, I am a liaison between PSU and Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives’ Healthy Food Access Program. I also am tending community gardens at low-income properties, working with residents and hosting workshops on garden eating, helping organize community service projects and getting PSU students involved! It cannot get any more GREEN or PORTLAND than this.

My only advice to all of the new students – live these years to the fullest, PSU is simply handing it to you.

New tuition rates help only in-state students

Marilynn

By Marilynn Sandoval

As I was reading the news, I came upon an article saying Portland State is lowering the planned fall tuition increase from 4.2 percent to 3.1 percent. I instantly started to read the article, because it obviously concerned me as a student. As I read, my happiness quickly faded.

Although reducing the increase is amazing and will end up being a huge help for some PSU students, it won’t help me.

Full-time, in-state students  will save $90 each term. That isn’t a lot, but it is something still to be grateful for. Other universities such as the University of Oregon and Oregon State University didn’t lower their increases at all..

However, as an out-of-state student, I won’t benefit. I will pay $180 more next year than last year. The tuition for non-residents will still be $4,236 more per term than an in-state student pays — a total of $12,708 more for the year. That doesn’t include any other fees I will encounter.

PSU also is using the state funding to hire more advisors, faculty and other services. Although it seems like nothing, more support will ultimately help students stay on track. This will actually benefit all students, resident or non-resident.

To learn more about how Oregon university presidents are advocating for higher education funding, read this article http://bit.ly/1M5FkyY.

STUMPED in Stumptown…

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By: Sharon Nellist

Can you imagine going into your senior year and doubt the major that you have so painstakingly been working toward the last few years? Well, I certainly can. HELP!

My most recent thoughts: I am certain of the type of job I am looking for…. But will my current major get me there? Will my major hurt my chances of getting this job? Is it worth switching majors at this point? How much longer will it take? Ahh! I have to study more for that last final exam…

My mind is full.

Thankfully! I have the summer to figure this out.

And I know that I am not the only one…

Nearly 80% of new students heading for college are undeclared. About 50% of college students that have declared a major change their major, even two or three times!

Also, Portland State has great resources to help through this “traumatic” time…

What can I do with a degree in….?
Career Workshops, Classes & Events
Exploring PSU Majors Fair

What did or would you do in this situation?

Wish me luck!

Real Talk About Internships

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Photo credit to Internships.com

Brooke HornBy Brooke Horn

We’ve heard it before: Internships are a key part of your education. They provide valuable experience, they present networking opportunities, they look good on your resume, they help you transition from academia to the workplace, etc. We get it already. They’re important. What’s lacking in the conversation about internships (at least the ones I’m hearing) is how to really make them work for you. I’ve had three so far, and I’ll be the first to admit I made a few mistakes along the way. Here’s what I learned from them.

Like any relationship, it’s important to know what you want going into one so that both parties are on the same page. I’ve seen internships range from one to six months in length and require anywhere between one and 25-plus hours per week. Before you do anything else, figure out how much time you can realistically devote to interning. I made the mistake of overestimating how much time I had to give, and as a result, I’m writing this blog post at 4am. Sleep is important too, as is scheduling time for things that help you relax and genuinely make you happy.

When you interview, remember that it goes both ways. You should be asking questions and making sure that this internship will be mutually beneficial. Some things to consider: Will this internship provide you with new skills, or do they expect you to already be competent? Do you need to generate work samples for a portfolio, and if so, will this internship help you do that? Are you going to be exposed to networking opportunities? Will you be working on your own or as part of a team? Telecommuting? Not only will you impress your potential employer, but your internship experience will be that much more rewarding because you know what you want out of it.

Finally, no internship discussion is complete without acknowledging the elephant in the room: compensation. The ethics surrounding paid vs. unpaid internships deserve a blog post – or even a book – all their own, but I’ll say this: I’ve had one paid and two unpaid internships, and they ALL were irreplaceable parts of my education. It may seem incredibly unfair to have to pay tuition and fees for seemingly free labor, but you aren’t really working for free. You are gaining otherwise unattainable experience, academic credit, and networking connections. In many cases, you are also helping small businesses stay afloat in a difficult economy. My internship with local independent publisher Hawthorne Books taught me not only about publishing, but how small businesses interact with their communities.

In short, don’t just sign up for an internship to fill a requirement or a line on your resume. Be selective, know what you want and what you have time for, and do your research. Seriously… internships quite literally changed the course of my education. If you’d like to know more, feel free to ask in the comments. I’m out of room here, but I’m always happy to help a fellow student.

If you’re on the hunt, the following resources are super helpful:

  1. PSU’s Career Center
  2. PSU’s Jobs & Internships Database
  3. Career Workshops, Classes, & Events
  4. 10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship
  5. Pinterest’s surprisingly good internship advice

How Rocks Taught Me about Happiness

Painted Hills By: Chelsea Ware

A little while ago I found out that I needed two more science credits to fulfill the requirements for that portion of my degree. My academic advisor told me about one-credit lab classes that consist of trips around Oregon where students learn about the natural environment. One of the one-credit classes I signed up for was a geology camping trip in central Oregon. As a business student, I didn’t expect this class to have a huge impact on my learning. I was very wrong.

During the day, a tour bus took us to different locations throughout rural Grant County, near John Day where we dug for fossils and hiked on scenic trails. At night, we cooked dinner by campfire and made s’mores. My favorite part of the trip was taking a two-mile hike through the Painted Hills. Listed as one of Oregon’s seven wonders, they get their name from the delicately colored yellow, gold, black and red stratifications in the soil.

As someone who grew up in the city, this trip had a vast influence on how I see the world. The residents of Grant County sometimes lived miles apart and many of the towns had populations under 200. There were no malls and no cell reception, yet the people were so content and happy. I think a lot of people base their happiness on material possessions, such as owning the latest IPhone. But maybe the reason we feel like we always need more is that once we’ve bought that thing, we quickly realize that it didn’t make us as happy after all. This leads people to get lost in an endless cycle of materialism that is difficult to escape. Through my trip, I learned that true happiness comes from the simple things, like a panoramic view of the mountains at dusk or cooking sausages over a fire with friends. True happiness comes from things that can’t be bought from a store.

The Seven Wonders of Oregon can be found at: http://traveloregon.com/7wonders/

Affordable camping gear for PSU students is available through the PSU Outdoor Program: http://www.pdx.edu/recreation/outdoor-program