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?

Give Thanks for Thanksgiving

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

This week is Thanksgiving. A time for laughter and cheer, for friends and family, for great food and even better company. A lovely little holiday leading up to The Big One.

But honestly? It’s some pretty terrible timing. Next week is Dead Week here on campus and finals are literally just around the corner. (T-minus 14 days, in fact.) And I know I’m not the only one freaking out about the projects due. It’s stressful. Just thinking about it makes my shoulders tighten, and my stomach curl into a knot.

So, is this the best time to stop working on (or thinking about) those hugely important final projects? Probably not. My suggestion, though? Make the most of the holiday as you possibly can anyway.

Try to parcel the homework assignments out so you can spend time with the family (or friends or whomever you’re spending the holiday with). Take Thanksgiving dinnertime off, or better yet, take all of Thanksgiving Day off. If you’re traveling—like me!—try to do some assignments on the journey. (I know I’ll be writing a paper on my plane ride to the East Coast.)

Make some time for your loved ones. Heck, make some time for yourself.

You deserve the time off before the final push to finals week. Treat yourself, and your friends and family, to some quality time together this Thanksgiving. Trust me, your spirit will thank you later.

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!

A relentless secret at PSU . . .

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There is a secret held by many a Portland State student, closely guarded, but not really secret; not shameful, but not boasted of. We keep it from others, and ourselves as well.

It is the grinding, relentless poverty of the college student. Students push poverty out of their minds, taking loan after loan each term without dwelling on the ramifications, trying to hang on until graduation, concentrating on academics.

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Our university community may not fully realize how deeply many students live in the quiet perseverance of being broke and being a student. And the weird ways that poverty can manifest.

A busy student I know led a prestigious student group last year while racking up $1800 in parking fines and impoundment fees on her car. She gave up on recovering the car, and eventually purchased a different vehicle. Some students can’t afford their textbooks. I’ve visited ASPSU’s food pantry myself several times this term and in past terms.

The wolves just catch up with you. You feed the ones that must be fed, and try to ignore the howling of the others as you bear down your latest term paper. Eventually, the checkbook gets empty, the next pittance of income too far away.

That is when I have been grateful for the existence of several things:  ASPSU’s food pantry in Smith. The endless help of the Financial Aid office. Emergency loans from the Bursar’s Office. A little help from my friends in my personal life.

I would not have made it through without them.

“Man, I Wish I Knew This When I Started!”

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    Here are some academic tricks I’ve learned at Portland State. I hope these hints help you become a stellar Viking scholar:   

Calendar Your Studies. Enter ALL assignment and exam deadlines into your calendar or organizer. Planning ahead saves cramming later!

Don’t be a perfectionist.  I don’t advocate skipping readings, but when an exam is upon you, there may be more benefit in reviewing your notes, lecture slides, and other class materials than in every precious word in the readings.

Be succinct on essay tests and class presentations.  Being long-winded won’t help your grade, but your grade will drop with unfinished essay exams.  An instructor will cut you off in class if you go over time on presentations.

Demand rigor in your education:  Ask everyone who the best professors are. Can’t hear student comments in class?  Ask the professor to repeat them. If your professor is doing something wrong or inaccurate with grading, points, or on the syllabus, approach them about the matter.  You will usually get satisfaction.

You have a right not to be distracted in class by your classmates’ smart phone and Facebook fetishes.  Complain to your prof after class or during office hours; they will respond.  And don’t BE that in-class surfing addict. It’s distracting and rude to fellow students. Go in the hallway.

For now, avoid online PSU classes like STDs.  Nonverbal communication is 66 percent of all communication, and online classes remove almost all live teacher-student contact and student-to-student contact. Plus, PSU charges you an extra $160 in “online learning fees” for the privilege. Learn more in my Vanguard story “Clicking for Classes” here.

Need a quiet study spot?  The Quiet Study Lounge on the 4th floor of Smith features the soft, rustling leaves of Park Blocks trees, cushy furniture, and seriously quiet students.  Another seriously quiet spot is the 7th floor mini-library in the Urban Center Building.

Concerned about negotiating this university?  Consider taking the well-run College Success courses (UNST 199 and UNST 399).

Local hangout hint:  25-cent coffee all the time at Big Town Hero, 1923 SW 6th Ave., between College and Hall.

         Also, check out my Vanguard article on the “Top 20 Big Words You Need In College” for more help!

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

A few weeks back, I was low on money and had to budget in order to eat at least once a day. Fortunately, I was helped out by my girlfriend, who kept me alive by buying me meals. I am truly grateful to her for taking care of me. As a student, I have many educational expenses. Books, tuition, and course fees mount up to a huge sum of money. More often than not, a majority of my financial aid and work study money goes to paying off my expenses. My parents earn enough to sustain themselves and cannot support me financially as much as they would want. I have managed fine, but I became careless this summer.

I have been at Portland State for the last three years, only moving back home after my freshman year. Since then,I have stayed in Portland for work and school. I had managed to get a work study position last summer and even took one course. This summer, I managed to do the same. However, I moved to Oregon City at the end of spring term and could only obtain a part-time work study position. I was low on cash and had to even take a small loan out for my added expenses.

I got careless and didn’t plan ahead. I should have looked for another work study position. Honestly, I wanted to take a break and have a relatively mellow summer. But with expenses and bills, I should have known better. However, I am happy to say that I am in full swing this term working and going to school, with a few side projects. A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood.

Navigating PSU as a Student of Color

At one point, I was a freshman, eager to go to my first university class, but not knowing what to expect. Inexperienced and with no siblings who had gone through the college life before, I was all on my own. Class registration, time management, budgeting, making friends, housing, food, finding a job, and numerous more things were all put on my plate at once. This happens to be true for many Portland State students who are of color and even more so when the University is regarded as a commuter school.

However, I was fortunate enough to have met Perla Pinedo during my first Viking week. She is the coordinator of Latino/a Student Services. At the time I knew no one, and was glad to see someone with the same heritage. Not only did she help me understand how the university functioned, but she also did the same for my parents and provided them a sign of relief and assurance. Through Perla, I was introduced to the department of Diversity and Multicultural Services which located in the Smith building 425

They provide general advising, transition programs, college success courses and the diversity scholarship that help students build the skills needed to succeed and graduate from PSU. Students, especially of color, should go to the DMSS Office and seek general advising and other opportunities.