Winter is Here

Noowong_Headshot By Anchitta Noowong

Winter is coming, winter is here. Are you feeling sad this winter? You’re not alone. Being born and raised in a hot tropical country, it was difficult for me to live in a place where it’s cold and dark half the year. I remember my first Portland winter, and it was brutal. I recalled that it rained all the time, there was no sunlight, and everything was just gross. I remember feeling depressed, sad, tired, and unmotivated. I figured that I couldn’t live like that, so I adapted and found ways that help me get through Pacific Northwest winter.

Looking for more information? Follow these links below:
SAD: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/seasonal-affective-disorder
Endorphins: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839.php
PSU SHAC: https://www.pdx.edu/shac/aboutshac

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.

It’s a mad, mad world

We all know going to school is stressful and being on your own is too. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a psychiatric condition. I’m happy, healthy and stable due to my doctors, prescriptions – and most of all – due to the amazing support system I have in my family and my friends – my two best friends to be precise.

On the days when I am “off”, because of stress or being sick or meds mixing wrong, I lean more heavily on the people around me. I had one of these days recently, and I was not functioning well, if at all. Someone, whom I love dearly, stepped up without question to take care of me. While I knew before how valuable my friends are, and how much I love them, this instance only made me understand it better.

For some of us though, our support systems are far away – either in different states, or maybe in different countries. I say, be aware of the people in your life. Take notice of them, and when someone is having a bad day, be a little nicer. Because you never know, it might just make a difference to them. For those out there like me, be aware of your resources. Sometimes all you need to do is tell a friend, “I’m having a bad day.” But if you need more support, PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) can help.

Going into this academic year, I plan to stay healthy, and to have as much fun as I can. With the support and love of the people in my life, I know this is not only possible, but guaranteed.