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.

Slow ride, Take it easy

By: Sharon Nellist

I admire and sympathize at the same time with those who take more than the recommended full-time classes and are involved in every other school organization and club in hopes to save a bit of money and graduate sooner than expected. Because I once was that student – and it is certainly not for everyone.

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Perhaps it is that I am a returning full-time student, in my late twenties, married, making a car payment, working several outside jobs in order to pay rent, and I’m not opposed to starting a family while trying to have the most quintessential young college experience.

What I have realized is that it is possible for everyone to have this experience, even me, but you need to know how to balance these things and maintain your sanity.

  • For me I know I need 12 credit hours, no more or less, for optimal learning
  • That suggests that I have 24 hours total of study time
  • I save money by bringing food instead of eating at delicious food carts – allows for some creativity, or lack thereof
  • My job as a nanny gives me the flexibility around my school schedule, as it is my priority
  • I budget using a spreadsheet, they are not just for old people – I can cut back on my student loans this year!
  • I am part of PSU Crew (campus rowing team), yes at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and I work for the student blog – minimal commitment allows me to focus on my involvement
  • And then, there is a whole day allotted for spending time with my husband or friends – we frequent the Saturday Market on campus

My degree may take an extra term or two to complete, but I most likely will not have a mental breakdown, my personal life will be unharmed, and I will succeed well enough to go on to Grad school and still have my perfect college experience.

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Sweat to be sexy? I don’t think so

Sweat to be sexy? I don't think so

By Amanda Katz

“I think you look good already! You don’t even need to work out.”

This was the text message I received after telling my friend I was going to go the gym and I’d text him back later.

Let’s get some things straight.

I don’t work out to impress other people. I work out to be healthy and feel good about myself. The opinion of a male makes no difference in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

Too often girls are told to diet and work out to be “sexy” or “attractive.” What happened to working out and eating properly for health reasons? Why does my choice to be active have to be to gain a reaction from a male? Is that all I’m meant to do, strive to be attractive to gain suitors?

I don’t understand why so many guys feel entitled to think that I would work out to gain their attention. I don’t need the approval of any guy on my body, because at the end of the day the only opinion of my body that matters to me is my own.

Weighing in on PSU

Kari Anne McDonald works the runway at PSU's first Love Your Body Fashion Extravaganza. In background, emcee Poison Waters engages the audience.

This past Thursday in the Smith Ballroom, PSU’s Love Your Body Fashion Extravaganza featured a fashion show with models who definitely were outside of the size zero seen on most runways. The focus of the fashion show was to highlight loving your body no matter what size or shape it happens to be. By deciding to be a part of this show, I had to face my own inner insecurities between weight and health.

It seems to be a focus of media attention that the United States is becoming bigger around the waistline. In Portland, a city that tends to be very health conscious and that also is known for having a strong foodie culture, this can be a source of conflict. College is certainly a time when students are faced with the fears about the “freshman fifteen” weight gain, and how to transition from a system of mandatory physical activity in schools to self-motivated physical activity.

One consequence of this transition may be adding extra pounds. Fat acceptance can certainly be a loaded subject for many individuals. One question that frequently arises is, “How can we promote health while still accepting those who are overweight?” Somewhere in all of the haze of health information and media messages there must be a balance between health and weight.

If anything, this recent Love Your Body Fashion Extravaganza shows the PSU campus that you do not have to be traditionally skinny in order to be sexy or feel good about your body. For myself, I have had to let go of my fears about being “too fat” and instead focus on getting back to my love of running. I may still have those few extra pounds, but in this way, I feel healthy.

Weigh in with your own thoughts: What do you do to accept your body and stay healthy, while possibly still keeping on those extra pounds? Do you think that people can still be healthy while being overweight?