23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years 

By Claire Golden

This is my last post for PSU Chronicles, and I’m going to miss being a blogger here. But since I’m not a student anymore, I couldn’t stay around forever. My life has changed so much since I started at PSU. I’ve been diagnosed with and treated for OCD, had my gallbladder removed, made some friends, lost other friends, came out as bi, got engaged to the love of my life (whom I met while working at PSU’s Learning Center), got a degree, and got a book published. But I’ve also cried in many PSU bathrooms, failed homework assignments, had an existential crisis (or three) and wondered what on earth I was doing. 

A lot of the things I learned in college weren’t academic, and I think they’re the most valuable lessons I took away from my time at PSU. So I thought I would share the top 23 things I have learned in my 23 years on this good ole planet. (I forgot how old I was and had to ask my fiancé to confirm.)

1.     Say “I love you” to people more often.

2.     Every bad moment will pass.

3.     Learn to be okay with good enough.

4.     If you wait for something to be perfect, you will be waiting forever, so go after your dreams.

5.     Don’t procrastinate things on your bucket list, because life is unpredictable.

6.     Take care of your body — go to the doctor when you need to!

7.     Do the things you want with your hair, it grows back! (I am rocking a DIY pixie cut at the moment.)

8.     Approach things with a sense of humor and learn to laugh at yourself, kindly.

9.     Reach out to people you think are cool, because you might just make a new friend.

10.  Learn new things just to experience being a beginner again! (I am working on my third language, German, as well as how to read tarot cards.)

11.  Do things that you’re bad at if you like doing them: draw, sing, dance, write.

12.  Be generous with your compliments, because you never know what they will mean to someone.

13.  It’s okay to ask questions, big or small. And it’s okay if you sound silly while asking them.

14.  Just because your parents or family do things one way doesn’t mean you have to do things that way. This applies to little things like loading the dishwasher and to big things like religion. 

15.  Waste time with the people you love, because that’s not actually wasted time.

16.  If you can, live somewhere you love, because every day will feel like a vacation. (Shoutout to Portland, from a former Midwesterner.)

17.  It’s okay to be childish…collect stuffed animals, read Middle Grade or Young Adult books, color a picture.

18.  Don’t be normal just for the sake of being normal, but also don’t be weird just to “stand out.” Find your happy medium.

19.  If you get excited about the little things, then life will become much more exciting: a great glass of ice water, a spinny door, a really shiny pigeon.

20.   Write down your feelings to help make sense of them.

21.  Send letters to people you love — it’s fun to have a pen pal and it will make both of your days to get mail.

22.  Reading books helps me escape, but also makes me a more empathetic person as I learn about new things.

23.  Probably the most important thing of all that I’ve learned: It’s okay not to know the answer. 

Bonus tip: Hugging a fluffy animal makes everything better.

5 Tips For Living It Up in a Tiny Living Space

By Claire Golden

If you live in downtown Portland, you probably know the struggle: Housing is so expensive around here that a lot of us are crammed into a tiny living space. Lots of college students live in a dorm room, which is not exactly known for its spaciousness. In my own case, my fiancé and I share one small attic room, with my office wedged into one corner. But I’m quite content in this space, because I have everything that I need. Here are my tips for making a small living space yours.

1. Decorate: The first thing I did in my “office” was decorate the walls. You can hang things up with tape or sticky wall hooks so as not to anger your landlord by putting holes in the walls. I’m not picky about what goes up on the wall. It doesn’t have to be an “art print” to go on my Wall of Art. Right now I have a picture of my chicken, my enamel pin collection on a pin banner, a pigeon ornament, an embroidered cat, a John Green quote poster, and the parking pass from the place where my fiancé proposed to me. These things have nothing in common with each other except that they all make me smile.

2. Double down on storage: Storage is key in a small space, and I take great delight in my miniature drawers from Target, which hold my school supplies, makeup, and knicknacks. I am also probably the target customer for IKEA’s Raskog cart, which is a three-shelved storage cart on wheels. I have two of them, one for yarn and one for stuffed alpacas, and they are a lifesaver when it comes to storage.

3. Try journaling for frustration: Journaling is a great way to create something beautiful on paper. You can go for a basic journal or go all out with art journaling — there’s lots of inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. Journaling is also an excellent way to cope with frustration and process your emotions…and you can do so in a pretty way.

4. Go online: When  get fed up with not having enough space to express myself,  I turn to online platforms. Then, when I can’t control something in my physical space, I can make my online space a haven. My blog and Instagram are my creative outlets and ways to connect with people. I find happiness in curating them exactly the way I want.

5. Let go of the unimportant: Above all, the most important thing I’ve learned about living in a small space is not to hold onto things that don’t make me happy. There’s no reason to keep something you don’t want to keep (except, perhaps, those tax papers…) that will only clutter up your space. My favorite book on organizing is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, in which she advises only keeping things that “spark joy.” This is the rule that I live by when it comes to my living quarters. Because of this, everything that I have makes me happy when I look at it, and it’s enough to make a small living space feel exactly the right size.

Not qualified? Get an internship.

IMG_7864 by Molly MacGilbert

Here we are, students at Portland State, in the city of bridges and roses and sportswear companies. We’re all in a pretty good position for internships—being in college gives us an excuse to get some work experience in a field we’re not actually that qualified for (yet). When I was a junior at PSU, I interned with local nonprofit Literary Arts for seven months. My senior year started with a six-month marketing internship with TriMet and is now ending with a spring term internship with Overcup Press. These three internships have given me invaluable work (and life) experiences.

On paper—unless it’s resume paper—internships tend to seem undesirable. Interns may seem like doormats or Coffee Donkeys. This is a common misconception; in my own experience as an intern, I have not yet picked up anyone’s coffee or had anyone wipe their feet on me. Internships do require challenging (and often unpaid) work, but under the right circumstances, you’ll be too engrossed in your work to notice you’re doing it for free.

For more career and internship-related information, attend one of PSU’s career fairs, like the All Majors Career + Internship Fair on May 1 in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom!

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!

A purr-fect match: Tips for student pet-owners

Brooke's cat Ulysses

Brooke’s cat Ulysses

By: Brooke Horn

When I moved here, I couldn’t bring Bandit with me.

I knew that a 400sqft studio in the city is no place for an energetic Black Lab, and that I would be able to adopt after the move. Bandit was more than happy to stay home with family and escape the traumatic experience of flying. After settling into Portland, I did a lot of research into pet adoption. For my fellow students who own pets, or are interested in owning pets, here are some of the best tips I’ve come across:

 

  1. Know the pet rules for where you live. According to PSU’s Housing & Residence Life FAQs, “The only animals allowed in on-campus housing are fish in a small tank (up to 10 gallons), cats, and service animals that are pre-approved by the Disability Resource Center (DRC).” For those of you who live off-campus, it’s important to know that most management companies will require you to have renter’s insurance (I decided to go with State Farm for $10/month), and most have a policies regarding weight and breed restrictions.
  1. The Oregon Humane Society is wonderful. Not only do they have great pets that desperately need good homes, they have a phenomenal list of resources for pet-owners. This list covers everything from which apartments are pet-friendly to sample pet references/resumes.
  2. Buy all of your pet supplies in advance, and make sure you really have the room in your home AND your schedule to devote to a pet. Pinterest has some great student-friendly ideas for DIY pet furniture that saves space!
  3. Spend some time researching your local veterinarians. Although they’re a little far from campus, the folks at Powell Veterinary Center have been kind to me, my pet, AND my wallet.

I finally met my purr-fect match through The Delicious Mickey Grrrl Fund – a small group of dedicated, friendly locals who match neglected pets with forever homes. They went above and beyond to make my adoption experience wonderful, and now I’m the proud pet-mama of Ulysses (pictured above).

Have an inspiring adoption story, a cute pet photo, or know of a good pet resource? Share it with us!

5 Ideas for Valentine’s Day

V-day cookiesStill stumped with what to do on Valentine’s Day?  Check out some of these ideas, single or taken:

  1. Make something chocolatey – This is one of the most common gifts for your sweetie, and can have fantastic results. Maybe get some fresh strawberries and dip them in chocolate yourself; don’t underestimate the power of some homemade dessert.
  2. Dinner for two – Busy schedules keeping you two apart? Try getting together and making dinner as a team at home. This gives you time to catch-up on each other’s lives in a more casual setting than dinner out. Plus you get to keep the leftovers.
  3. Date night dilemma – Stuck in a dating rut and on a budget? Make a jar of popsicle sticks with fun ideas for a night in or out. This gives you something tangible for your better half, it’s inexpensive, and can help you spice up the romance.
  4. The Single Mingle – Get your single friends together for games and dessert. Just because you don’t have a date doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun!
  5. A Night for yourself – If you’re feeling down about single life, today is a great opportunity for some rest and relaxation. School is stressful! Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse for a night of pampering and focusing on your own needs.

Top five things to know at PSU

As I wrap up my senior year, I thought I’d gather a list of things incoming freshmen should know that I wish someone had told me, so pay attention class of 2016.

1. PSU offers 2 credit weekend classes. These are great to take because the credits add up, they are generally upper division, and fairly easy. However, make sure you don’t take them the weekend before midterms or finals because it will get in the way of your study time and just add stress. Consider taking one when there are holidays that extend the weekend, that way you get a day to rest and catch up on homework.

2. Tuition is usually due the second week of the term. However, I’ve come to realize that you can pay your tuition any time until the last day of the term without any fees added. It’s not until after the last day of the term that you get a $100 penalty.

3. Sign up for classes ASAP! First, look at the classes that will be available next term ahead of registering that way you have it fairly planned out. The class list is usually available by mid-term. Then find out when you’re allowed to register for classes. Log on at 8 am the day of and sign up.

4. Remember that Pass/No Pass is an option for several classes. Look for it on the class list. You’re able to change your grade option reasonably far into the term, so if you’re considering withdrawing or retaking a class, think twice about your options.

5. Save money on textbooks. I didn’t know any better my freshmen year and bought all my books new and full priced at the PSU Bookstore. Nowadays, you can rent used books at the PSU Bookstore, but do so ahead of time before they run out. The Campus Bookstore on 6th Ave. is also a cheap alternative. Amazon.com is a great online option to buy inexpensive new/used books and college students get free 2-day shipping. There are also several websites that rent books like chegg.com if you’re not interested in keeping the book.