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.

Tabling: It’s Awkward for Everyone

Kellie Doherty

By Kellie Doherty

We all know that tabling is an awkward college life experience. People standing behind a highly decorated table, silently willing students over by expression alone. Passersby quickening their pace or looking the opposite direction just so they don’t have to deal with it. Let’s face it, it’s awkward for everyone involved. And, having recently finished a tabling session myself, I’d like to change that.

Here are some tips to deal with tabling.

For The Ones Doing the Tabling

  • Have candy (seriously, everyone loves candy)
  • Make interesting signs
  • Have easy-to-pick-up trinkets (buttons, stickers, bookmarks, pens)
  • Have a conversation instead of just a script
  • Be Warned: People will use your table as an actual table, be cool with it.

For The Ones Passing By

  • Smile if you make eye contact with a tabling person (it’s just nice)
  • If the subject matter looks interesting, stop by and chat
  • Take a bookmark, pen, or whatever trinket they have (it’ll make their day)
  • Take only one piece of candy, two at most
  • Be Warned: If you stop by a table you’re not actually interested in, it’ll probably be boring. (There I said it!) If it’s not interesting to you or to someone you know who you could pass the information along to, move along.

Following these simple tabling tricks will make it less awkward for everybody. And, seriously, everyone loves candy. Remember that, and it’ll be a success for us all.

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!

Three Tips for Staying Organized

Brooke HornBy Brooke Horn

As a graduate student, I’ve learned the hard way that time management and organization can be your best friends when used properly — and your bitterest enemies when not. The modern student isn’t JUST a student anymore: most of us juggle jobs, internships, volunteering, creative projects, and relationships too. As the term really gets underway, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. On the bright side, there are a lot of useful tools and tricks out there to help you stay on top of things. Here are a few that have really made a difference for me:

  1. Trello. This is my go-to app whenever I work on a collaborative project. You can create virtual assignment cards, which are organized within themed boards. You can also assign tasks, add due dates, create checklists, upload files, and color-code to your heart’s content.
  2. Wunderlist. This app is your standard to-do list on steroids. Similar to Trello, you can share task lists with others as well as set up due dates and reminders. I use this app for my personal lists because of its simplicity. I keep one for homework assignments, one for events I want to go to, and one for groceries.
  3. Labeling in Gmail. Seriously, this is a game-changer if you receive a high volume of mail. I use labels such as “reply,” “education,” and “finances.” You can even create sub-labels, assign colors, and adjust your settings so that your mail is automatically labeled and sorted.

What tools and tricks help you stay organized?

Internship Glory

By: Kadie Kobielusz

Yay! I finally landed an internship! I feel on top of the world (like my picture).

It took a lot of hard work and searching, but it obviously paid off. I found my internship through Internships.com, which is a great site where you can upload your resume, and just apply, apply, apply. Plus, I feel like the legitimacy of the jobs and workplaces there are far higher than people posting to Craigslist (though I suppose it depends on your career field).

My tips for you are:

  1. Even if you want to do an internship later on in the summer or fall, apply now! If they accept you, you can negotiate the start date. Or, you can be like me and find a way for it to work now, because it’s an INTERNSHIP!
  2. Make a list of all the places you’ve applied to, so down the line you can follow up, reapply and show your dedication if you haven’t scored a place yet.
  3. Talk to people. Mention to your friends and professors that you’re looking for one. There could be that friend of a friend who needs an intern.
  4. Don’t give up. If you’re not finding your dream internship, look at the whole spectrum of internships in your field and related fields. For example, being a graphic design student, I was also looking for internships in photography since that’s a highly useful skill in design.

Do you all have any more tips? Best of luck!

“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!