Beacon Of Color

35734876_10209214198830669_4585640907247714304_n (2) by Kassandra Johnson

Standing in the hot sun, cheering as each float passed in a flurry of color, it seemed like everyone in Portland was on that street. In that moment I realized something: I’m thankful to live here.

It was Sunday, June 17, and I was at the Pride Parade in downtown Portland. As I looked around all I could see were happy faces. People were clapping along and high-fiving strangers as they passed by. I felt lifted up by the people around me and knew this is why I chose PSU.

There are always ways to get involved in the City of Roses, whether it’s supporting a parade or marching in a protest. Portland and PSU’s urban campus give you the tools to have your voice heard. While living on an urban campus can come with its own trials and tribulations, there is always support to be found in the city.  Becoming a PSU student lets Portland become not only your city but also your community — a community that’s supportive and very accepting of all who call it home.

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.