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.

wolf howling-md

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.

Where is your next destination?

What if you had all the time and money to travel wherever you liked? Where would you want to go?

I spend quite a lot of time daydreaming about traveling and experiencing a new culture. When I come across beautiful and extravagant scenery of various countries, I can’t help but imagine what the place would have to offer me. The knowledge and experience I would gain from the sightseeing, climate and people would be stories I would tell for years to come.

I am interested in studying or working abroad at some point before I graduate. The high cost and the lack of financial resources somewhat discourage me. But I attended the first Education Abroad Fair of the year on October 4th in the Smith Ballroom, and I grabbed numerous brochures about study abroad programs and international internships.


Community development is my field of study. I have decided that I want to get some hands-on experience working with disadvantaged populations. I have heard from one of my peers, the IE3 program has many global internships to offer (http://ie3global.ous.edu). The two internship locations I am most intrigued by are South Africa and Nicaragua. I would like to gain a better understanding about sustainable community development as well as global issues such as gender inequality, racism, and poverty in developing countries.

To learn more about education abroad, visit this site:
http://oia.pdx.edu/ea/
Or you can visit the study abroad office in East Hall, 632 SW Hall St.
Drop-in hours:
• Tuesdays: 12-1pm
• Wednesdays: 1-2pm
• Fridays: 10-11am