By: Anchitta Noowong
By Anchitta Noowong
I moved from Bangkok, Thailand to the United States roughly six years ago. I left my friends and family behind to get a higher education, and to follow my dream of pursuing film as a career. 15 Hours Behind is an experimental film based on my personal experience of homesickness.
I have gone through five majors in my previous two years of college; international relations, environmental studies, religious studies, theater, and now finally, child and family studies. I have changed and changed my course of study depending on what I thought would make me the most money, what I thought was the most interesting, what I thought would help the world, and what my true passion was. I think I have now found in social work a good balance between marketability, necessity, and enjoyment. But now that I’ve made my choice, my problem is affording it.
I have always worked while in school, and I currently work two jobs. In fact, I know very few people at PSU who do not work year-round. And not just for some extra spending money, but to afford their education and housing. Portland State of Mind is coming in just a couple of weeks and on Tuesday October 27th from 7 – 8pm PSU will be a hosting a town hall style meeting (free and open to the public) about raising Oregon’s minimum wage from its current $9.25/hour to a possible $15/hour. This event falls in the wake of New York, San Francisco, and Seattle all passing legislation to raise their minimum wage. Similar legislation will likely appear before Oregon voters sometime next year. If I didn’t have to work that evening I would attend this meeting, and I highly recommend you all try to attend.
As someone who currently makes a wage less than the proposed minimum wage, as I’m sure many of you do as well, this legislation and this discussion affects me. At many times in my college career, I have felt that spending so much of my own and my parents’ money is a waste. What’s the point of bankrupting my family if I can’t get a job anyway? I have hope that this cycle of struggling to afford college then struggling to pay off debt after graduation will end. And I hope you all do as well. Whether you have hope, whether you have no hope, whether you feel lost in the struggle of it all, let’s do something about it. Make your voice heard at this town hall meeting and let our community know that everyone deserves a living wage.
This upcoming year at Portland State is the one I have been waiting for.
Not only is it my last undergraduate year (hoping to stay for graduate studies!), but I am comfortably involved in various ways to ensure that quintessential college experience that I have been pining for all of my young adult life – and I am elated!
I WRITE – for the PSU Chronicles, and I love it. This is my voice and I intend to use it. I hope to flourish my opinion on controversial issues not only on campus but within my community. This is the only option for change.
I PLAY – or rather dabble in various Rec clubs from swing dancing, to Dragon Boat racing, and rowing. I am taking advantage of all that our unique urban campus has to offer like the week-long community celebration Portland State of Mind, FREE movies at the student-run 5th Avenue Cinema, and the privilege of listening to generous amounts of brilliant minds at PSU hosted events.
I SERVE – as a Student Leader for Service through the Student Community Engagement Center. Stepping a bit out my box and yearning for growth as a leader, I am a liaison between PSU and Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives’ Healthy Food Access Program. I also am tending community gardens at low-income properties, working with residents and hosting workshops on garden eating, helping organize community service projects and getting PSU students involved! It cannot get any more GREEN or PORTLAND than this.
My only advice to all of the new students – live these years to the fullest, PSU is simply handing it to you.
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 did or would you do in this situation?
Wish me luck!
We’ve heard it before: Internships are a key part of your education. They provide valuable experience, they present networking opportunities, they look good on your resume, they help you transition from academia to the workplace, etc. We get it already. They’re important. What’s lacking in the conversation about internships (at least the ones I’m hearing) is how to really make them work for you. I’ve had three so far, and I’ll be the first to admit I made a few mistakes along the way. Here’s what I learned from them.
Like any relationship, it’s important to know what you want going into one so that both parties are on the same page. I’ve seen internships range from one to six months in length and require anywhere between one and 25-plus hours per week. Before you do anything else, figure out how much time you can realistically devote to interning. I made the mistake of overestimating how much time I had to give, and as a result, I’m writing this blog post at 4am. Sleep is important too, as is scheduling time for things that help you relax and genuinely make you happy.
When you interview, remember that it goes both ways. You should be asking questions and making sure that this internship will be mutually beneficial. Some things to consider: Will this internship provide you with new skills, or do they expect you to already be competent? Do you need to generate work samples for a portfolio, and if so, will this internship help you do that? Are you going to be exposed to networking opportunities? Will you be working on your own or as part of a team? Telecommuting? Not only will you impress your potential employer, but your internship experience will be that much more rewarding because you know what you want out of it.
Finally, no internship discussion is complete without acknowledging the elephant in the room: compensation. The ethics surrounding paid vs. unpaid internships deserve a blog post – or even a book – all their own, but I’ll say this: I’ve had one paid and two unpaid internships, and they ALL were irreplaceable parts of my education. It may seem incredibly unfair to have to pay tuition and fees for seemingly free labor, but you aren’t really working for free. You are gaining otherwise unattainable experience, academic credit, and networking connections. In many cases, you are also helping small businesses stay afloat in a difficult economy. My internship with local independent publisher Hawthorne Books taught me not only about publishing, but how small businesses interact with their communities.
In short, don’t just sign up for an internship to fill a requirement or a line on your resume. Be selective, know what you want and what you have time for, and do your research. Seriously… internships quite literally changed the course of my education. If you’d like to know more, feel free to ask in the comments. I’m out of room here, but I’m always happy to help a fellow student.
If you’re on the hunt, the following resources are super helpful:
By: Shezad Khan
A lot of us have had jobs we don’t like, and a lot of you currently have a job that you don’t like. My only advice is for you to quit.
It may sound a bit irrational, but quitting my previous job was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Unlike most people, I quit my job before I found a new one. But honestly, it was still worth it. I was in a position where I would absolutely dread going to work every day. I couldn’t stand it. I was fed up with having an unrewarding job. I did more work than most of my coworkers and received no recognition, I was sick of the drama caused by people twice my age, and dealing with some of the worst customers.
I worked for my previous employer for just over three years and my only regret about quitting is that I didn’t do it sooner. I found a new job just a few weeks after I left my old one and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I now work in a place where a huge focus is teamwork. My coworkers and my managers are all awesome, and we’re always recognized for doing good work – I’ve even received three Starbucks gift cards!
Initially, it was my counselor who pushed me to quit my job. She made me realize how unhappy I was there, how much I hated getting off at midnight and having to be up early for school, and how much I hated dealing with the people I had to deal with. If you find yourself in a similar situation where you can’t stand your clientele, your coworkers, or your manager anymore, consider quitting. The thought might be a bit nerve-wracking, but there’s a good chance you’ll be happier somewhere else.
Trust me when I say it’s just not worth it when your job makes you miserable and makes you feel drained physically, mentally, and even emotionally. There’s a better opportunity for you out there. Go for it.