You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

By: Theo Burke

As I graduate, besides memories and friends, I am leaving behind the awesome Portland State student health insurance. I’ve written about this before, now I’m experiencing the difference.

Since I don’t know what job is coming down the pike or what kind of health insurance it might carry, I’ve applied for individual insurance through Cover Oregon, the state exchange that sells private health plans (with federal subsidies to help pay the premiums) under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” The state exchange will alternatively sign you up automatically for the state’s Medicaid program (the Oregon Health Plan) if you qualify.

In the real world, I will have to think more about the deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay each year (usually $250 – $1000 or higher) before any benefits are paid by your health insurer.

At PSU, the deductible was $0.00.

My present doctors might not be covered by a new insurance company. At PSU, the Aetna provider network was vast.

I will have to worry more about whether alternative care is covered. At PSU, naturopathic doctors are treated the same as primary care doctors, and chiropractors are covered up to twelve visits per year.

Weirdly enough, when I heard from Cover Oregon recently, they put me in the Oregon Health Plan, even though I reported enough income to disqualify me from that program. Now I will have to figure out the Medicaid ”world,” which works much differently than the private insurers’ system, or else contest my placement in that program with Cover Oregon.

Students, the PSU plan won’t throw you such curve balls. You have an awesome, generous health plan, and you should take advantage of it before you graduate. As I’ve said before, you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it.

Did you spend your MLK day on or off?

By: Katie Quick

Martin Luther King Jr. has been and will remain to be a heroic and influential figure in our country. He preached equality for everyone, no matter what race, ethnicity, class, or any other social, political, or economic status. Every year, the PSU Student Leaders for Services helps to coordinate the MLK Day of Service, when when about 1,000 college students from across the metro area gather to better our city in some form of service in memory of Dr. King.

This year, the theme was education, and we were assembled at David Douglas High School in outer NE Portland. From there, we met the other students from other colleges and universities and were assigned projects. My group was assigned to clean Parkrose High School, an ethnically diverse, heavily low-income school. We cleaned their gym and helped with other janitorial services to make the learning environment cleaner and encourage the students to have more respect for their school. MLK day of service

It was a rewarding experience to help a community in need of a little boost. I highly recommend to all PSU students to get involved in even one small volunteering event, whether that be packaging at the Oregon Food Bank, delivering food through Meals on Wheels, or participating in beautification efforts around the city. Even a couple of hours can make all the difference.

A Note to Mr. To-Do

To my dearest Mr. To-Do,

I realize the importance of our relationship at the moment–and often times, you’ve saved me from some pretty unfortunate situations. What would I have done without you if you hadn’t have been there to remind me that I had that French literature worksheet to analyze or that I needed to go to my professor’s office hours or to pick up toilet paper?


You’ve had my back the past five weeks, and I do appreciate it.

But I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe you’ve been perhaps a little too helpful as of late. I’ve begun to feel guilty: you seem to grow a little larger every passing week, and yet there is nothing I can do to slow your pace. Monday morning approaches, and I realize that I haven’t done nearly enough to satisfy your needs. It’s just been a little hard with all of these midterms and everything. Can we just have a moment and slow down? Would you mind taking a few things off? Can’t we deal with some of these issues a few weeks later?

…no? Okay. I understand. At least it’s nice to know that I can always look to you to keep me on track (kind of). I guess I’ll try harder.



AKA Stressed-Senior-With-Too-Much-To-Handle

WWOOFing in France

WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is just one option beyond studying abroad to get out and explore the world. I spent my entire junior year last year preparing for study abroad my senior year. My heart was absolutely set on it, and I was ready to follow through with everything. I’d attended orientation in Eugene, sent in my host family preferences, signed up for classes, and had even already checked out the tango dance scene. The only part that didn’t follow through? My finances.

Upon realizing a tad too late that there was no way I could afford the ridiculous fifteen grand to study in Lyon, I looked elsewhere for a way to 1) travel 2) ameliorate my French 3) have some fun. A few classmates and coworkers had done WWOOFing before, and they were the ones to put the bug in my ear. In exchange for approximately 5-6 hours of work per day, 5 days a week, a farm will host you, house you, and feed you. So essentially, you can go stay and work for a host family for the price of a plane ticket and whatever else you’d want to spend your money on for fun.

I chose to come to Velaux, France, just outside of Marseille on the Mediteranean, to work on a horse farm. My hosts have been incredibly gracious and welcoming, and I’ve learned a lot while being here. I still have two weeks left, but time seems to be flying. I’ve learned how to ride horses, how to care for them, the pain of getting stepped on by one and what the electrical fence feels like, and that horses get super cranky if you don’t feed them on time.

It’s been a great experience so far. I plan to do this again, but in Germany or Sweden next time. I’ve had the same advantages of studying abroad in that I’ve gotten much better at my comprehension of French, I’ve met a bunch of new people, and I’ve even been able to take my days off to explore Marseille, Montpellier, and Nice. And not to mention the food and wine… So if you’re strapped for cash but have a desire to go abroad, let me recommend you to WWOOF! If you’re interested in following my adventures as I’m currently working as a WWOOFer, here’s my personal blog: And if you want to check out what WWOOF is and how to get involved, go here.

Missing: Summer Fun

Summer: the season of warm weather, tanning, outside sports, travel, beach trips, pool parties, BBQs… and sucky summer jobs. This summer I decided to “take it easy” and not have any obligations except for my two part-time summer jobs. As finals week neared the end and my regular responsibilities came to a close, I began to imagine in dream-like visions long sunny summer days with a constant stream of friends and fresh homemade dinners. I saw concerts, BLTs and popsicles, tango dancing every night, bike rides, and hiking in the gorge. I guess I also saw a glimpse of a few hours working here and there, but my ideal summer vision did not include more than a few hours of work a week; just enough to keep a steady flow of cash to fund my daily grind. In retrospect, I should have realized that you can’t make a ton of money and work hardly any hours at all at a seasonal minimum wage job.

I currently work upwards of 45-50 hours a week, sometimes working 14 hours a day. I’ve started to think: is this what working as an adult is like? –cause this is not fun. It feels like I’m busier now than I was during the school year with more responsibilities, and the stress level is equally high. But how can this be? Where is the summer?! There is at least some light in that I know I won’t have to do this forever, if only I can get through college…

When you become the interviewer

psu blog post

Last week, I had the experience of being on the other end of the table for several interviews. As part of my job as a resident assistant, I am required to interview people for the positions that will be open for next year.

I found it interesting to see the process through the eyes of the person conducting the interview. There were so many things that I had in my head as a personal checklist: dress, eye contact, sincerity, understanding of the job, and a drive and willingness to be there. I was thoroughly surprised with how little confidence I saw in several of the candidates. I’ve been involved with Residence Life for two years, so many of the things that I took for granted, things that I naturally expected from those I was interviewing, apparently did not seem to be so obvious to the candidates. I guess it goes to show you what experience can do to change your attitude, view, and expectations.

Overall, what I took away from this process is that presentation is everything. That doesn’t mean you have to be obnoxious and speak over others at every given point, or digress onto points that are unnecessary. Rather, be clear and concise with your ideas and don’t be afraid to speak up when prompted. Also, there’s a lot to be said with the phrase “dress for success”: your clothes reflect that you’re collected, professional, and ready for business. Even if you aren’t the most confident person in the world, just fake it ‘til you make it.

Balance, young grasshopper

So I’m sitting in class, and I have to admit that I’m a little tired. I had a late night last night, as I went out with some girlfriends for a couple of happy hour drinks and to catch up after classes and meetings and work. This doesn’t sound like the worst thing, at least to me, but I will sometimes find myself wondering how other people manage to come to class every day with the air of being so overly prepared. I know that I’m not able to dedicate that kind of time—life is a little busy at the moment.brain-balance-06

Most of us are juggling school and homework, jobs, clubs/societies/Greek life/sports/insert-what-you-please-here. Not to mention a social life. Personally, maintaining the social relationships in my life—everyone from my mom to the residents in my hall—takes up just as much, if not more time than needed to feel caught up on school work.

I sometimes wonder how this all manages to get done. But then again, I remember being told that 90% if learning in college occurs outside of the classroom. Perhaps balance is just one of those things. If you’re too focused in one area, you’ll burn out and go crazy. No exaggeration. It’s important to take moments to recuperate from the madness of everything happening during the week, but it’s also important not to lose your motivation and drive to keep going. All I know is that if my life was a table, and any of the legs were removed, I would certainly crash. Balance, my friend, balance.

School Stress… Here we go again!

Do you ever sit in class, and feel like you’re the one person that has no clue what’s going on? I seem to have already found myself in this dilemma this term. It’s now the second week of the term, and I’d say that I’ve already passed my previous record of stress-to-week-of-term ratio. On the second day of classes, I was assigned upwards of 200 pages to read before the end of the week. Granted, I signed myself up for these three 400+ level courses and one 300+ level course, but that still doesn’t mean that I’m not overwhelmed by this initial work load. This past week has left me feeling like this guy from the movie Better Off Dead:

I guess it’s time to hit the books!

What’s fun about under 21?

Le Bistro Montage

If you’re like me, you aren’t old enough to experience the night life of Portland. It seems that everything after-hours requires an ID. So what’s there to do when you’re itching to get out, but you can’t get in to 21+ places? I prefer the following places which have excellent food and foster friendly and relaxing environments.

  • Le Bistro Montage: (301 SE Morrison) located underneath the Morrison Bridge on the east side. Once you enter, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself in the dimly lit room with music blasting and shared community tables. And trust me, if you’re craving mac-n-cheese, this is the place to go. Everything they serve is delicious, and they always give away the most creative to-go packages.
  • The Roxy: (1121 SW Stark) This 24hr joint has basically everything that you’d crave at 2 or 3am, minus alcohol and ice cream. It’s 15 minutes from campus, and you don’t ever have to worry about a lack of conversation since the interior is decorated with so many pictures of drag queens and the aftermath of the surrounding gay clubs that it’ll be impossible for dead conversation.
  • The Hotcake House: (1002 SE Powell) Also open 24hr, and as you may have guessed, they serve pancakes here among other breakfast foods and burgers as well. You’ll need a car to get there, but the Journey blasting on the jukebox and the 70s feel is worth it.
  • SE Grind: (1223 SE Powell) This is a block away from the Hotcake House. It’s a 24hr internet café featuring a multitude of comfy couches and tables. I find it a great place for those all-nighters. You can get your constant fill of coffee, tea, or kombucha and stay as long as you need to finish research papers.
  • Rimsky Korsakoffee: (707 SE 12th) This coffeehouse isn’t open too late during the week, but it’s open until 1 am on weekends. It’s an experience. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that there are special characteristics that give Rimsky’s a kind of haunted feel to it. Their food is always especially delectable and sometimes they have live musicians who play the piano or guitar.

    Decorative interior to Rimsky’s

There are a few other places, but these have proven to provide an excellent non-21 experience every time I go. What are your favorite places?