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Things to think about coming into the 2019–2020 school year (Letter from the editor)

photo by Jenna Gagnon

The Fall term is here. Summer’s end comes too soon for some and can’t come soon enough for others. As the temperature cools down, the pressures of school heat up. Before we know it, we will be wishing we had more time before finals in December as we cross our fingers and hope for the best while heading off into winter break. 

The good news is, we do indeed have time before those potentially stress-inducing exams. The bad news is, it’s not always easy to make time for our studies, for our personal lives, for our jobs outside of school, and for taking care of ourselves. 

As we settle back into our routines at Portland State let’s remember to check in with ourselves and each other. Over my last three years at PSU, I can’t advocate enough for self-advocacy. There are roughly 30,000 community members at our school, and it can be easy to feel lost in the machine we are trying to navigate through while gaining the knowledge and skills we need to succeed after college. 

The best news is, you’re not alone. At PSU, I have found that our fellow community members really do want us all to succeed. I have found a community at this campus that wants everyone to be able to live the best life possible. Unfortunately, I have discovered that most people here can’t read minds, yet—actually, that’s probably for the best.

If you need help, make sure to ask for it, and if you don’t feel comfortable asking for it yourself, chances are good there are others who are willing to advocate for you. This community is big, but it is kind. If you aren’t sure what classes you should take, talk to your advisors, the professors you like, and most importantly your peers. We all want the best for you and we want to help you find the resources and educational path that is most suited for what you need both right now and in your future. 

It can be hard, and inconvenient, to make friends, and talk to your peers, professors, and other administrators on campus. But if you make time to reach out and ask questions I guarantee your academic life will be better for it. Yes, building a wealth of knowledge and skills are important, but so are building relationships. 

While I am advocating for building relationships, a big part of that involves trust and respect for others and their boundaries. We are all busy, but even just taking the miniscule effort to say hello can go a long way. 

This summer we lost peers to gun violence, we have lost students to suicide, and we regularly lose students to a financial burden that they can’t sustain. Talk to your peers, talk to your professors, talk to your advisors, talk to the financial aid office, talk to your deans, talk to the president of the university, reach out. Sometimes nothing will come of reaching out, but if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need. 

Love, respect, and all the best for our greater PSU community, 

Party on,

Jake Johnson

Executive Editor
The Pacific Sentinel

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