5 Ways to Ease Homesickness

5 Ways to Ease Homesickness

For many students, going to college might be the first time they’ve been away from home for more than a couple of weeks. And when students finally have some free time from their school work, they might be unable to afford that plane ticket back home. All that extra time to think means more dwelling on what they’re missing.

If you’re feeling that homesickness bug, we have some helpful suggestions for you.


Find Community on Campus

One of the best ways to beat homesickness is to find a community of like-minded people and form friendships. Joining a PSU student group that matches your interests is an easy way to find that community—a whole group of people passionate about the same thing as you! With everything from a PC gaming club to an environmental club, you’re bound to find something that peaks your interest.

At PSU, there are thriving communities you can connect with in our many Resource Centers. In addition to fostering community, these centers provide services to students in their population that make PSU accessible. Check them out:

At many of these Resource Centers, you can even become a volunteer. In fact, there are many volunteer opportunities at PSU—check out the Student Community Engagement Center for more information and their event calendar. If you want to connect with fellow students while making some money, getting an on-campus job could be a great option too.

If the big groups intimidate you, reach out to a peer or roommate to see if they’re interested in seeing a movie at the 5th Avenue Cinema, a student-run cinema on campus that’s free for PSU students.

Stay Active

It’s widely known that getting exercise helps release chemicals in the brain that boost your mood, so get active! PSU has a large Campus Rec Center that’s free for students to use at any fitness level or ability—all you need to do is sign an electronic release form and bring your PSU ID when you go. Campus Rec offers exercise equipment, a pool, a rock climbing wall, a hot tub and more.  In addition to having awesome gym equipment, Campus Rec hosts classes and special events on and off campus. You can even sign up for trips to explore Oregon’s beautiful landscape.

Sometimes all it takes is getting out of the house. Traveling around Portland can be tricky—there’s all the bridges, traffic and weather to deal with—but fortunately the public transit options can get you around town without the stress. A day pass that works on all Trimet vehicles costs about the same as a fancy-coffee-shop drink, and the Portland Streetcar is always free for PSU students. Students can even get reduced-rate transit passes.

Eat Familiar Foods

Missing that Frito pie, breakfast taco or latke? Portland may be a foodie city, but it may be hard to find your favorite foods from back home. Fortunately, there are so many restaurants and food carts around Portland and on campus that cater to every type of food, so you’ll find something that hits the spot.

For students, money’s can be sparse, so making familiar foods at home may be the best option. Grab some free food from the PSU Food Pantry and the Harvest Share Free Food Market, both programs dedicated to making nutritious food available to students at no cost. With all that great food, you can plan a potluck to connect with friends. It’s the perfect opportunity to have everyone fix their favorites from back home.

Make Video Chat Dates

Even though these are all great options, there’s nothing that beats spending time with your parents, siblings or friends who live far away. When you can’t travel to see them, video chatting is often more personal than just a phone call. Most phones now have the ability to make video calls, and there are so many free services to use: Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Skype, just to name a few. Schedule a time to talk with a family member or friend (accounting for any time difference, of course). You can even plan a movie date, starting the movie at the same time and talking while you watch.

Use Mental Health Resources

Sometimes homesickness stems from deeper issues. In that case, these little comforts can only do so much. You should take advantage of any counseling services available. PSU students taking five or more credits have access to free counseling services through the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), regardless of whether they have PSU insurance. SHAC offers individual and group counseling, crisis counseling, LD/ADHD testing and more. When PSU is in session, they even have a Mind Spa, a space for relaxation through meditation, yoga, biofeedback, massage and light therapy—during those rainy Portland months, getting a little extra light can help a lot.

If you can’t make it to SHAC during their office hours, you can reach out to the Multnomah County Crisis Line or check out more Portland-based or national resources.


At PSU, we have a diverse, accepting population of students, faculty and staff. So even though homesickness happens when you’re away from family, friends and that familiar environment, we know you’ll be able to make a home at PSU as well.

Winning with WUE

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a decades-old program that aims to make colleges such as Portland State, more affordable for nonresidents. Qualifying students pay 150% of in-state tuition. Resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the course of your degree. And the best part—all students are automatically considered for WUE if they apply to PSU by February 1.

Portland State University is proud to be the only research university in Oregon that participates in the WUE program.

Cost of Annual Tuition and Fees at 15 Credits Per Term (2018-19)

In-State WUE Out-of-State
$9,223 $13,107*  $27,437

*Does not include room and board, books or personal expenses.

What Is It Like Being a WUE Student?

Right now, there are over 2,000 WUE students attending PSU, 1,728 who entered as freshmen and 323 who entered as transfers. Students from almost every WUE locale attend PSU, our largest groups coming from California and Washington. But those are just the numbers. We asked Fernando Gomez, new transfer from Arizona studying film, what his WUE experience has been like.

“I found out about WUE after I was accepted to PSU. I got a call from one of the admissions counselors, who told me I qualified. I’ve always been a full-time student, so it’s necessary for me to find ways to pay for school. I knew I wanted to attend PSU, so WUE was just a bonus!”

Because Portland is a cultural hub, students have easy access to many events. Just hop on the amazing public transit from campus—the Portland Streetcar is free to students—and get anywhere in Portland in no time. “Living on campus puts me right in the center of the city, which makes it possible for me to pursue my passions on and off campus.”

Fernando is excited that WUE is helping him afford college in a city that allows him to work toward his dream career. “The weather is cool, the city is culturally diverse, and it’s cheaper than all the other big cities that would allow me to pursue my film studies.” PSU’s Film Program, the most comprehensive film program in the Northwest, is always pushing Fernando to get involved. “PSU has great equipment available for students. There are also lots of companies in Portland that offer internships to PSU students, so they can get hands-on experience.”

WUE is just the ticket to get the out-of-state college experience without paying those prices.

Eligibility

  1. Apply for fall term by the WUE deadline: February 1 is the deadline for both freshmen and transfer students.
  2. Be a legal resident of one of the following states or territories: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  3. Meet PSU’s academic requirements for WUE:
    • Freshmen Academic Requirements: 3.5 cumulative unweighted high school GPA or 1270 SAT or 27 ACT composite
    • Transfer Academic Requirements: 3.0 cumulative college GPA

Learn more about WUE

Being the Most Prepared: Earning College Credit in High School

The Scouts have a motto: Be prepared.

They might not have been thinking about college when they coined that phrase, but we believe it still applies.

There are lots of ways to prepare for college. One that you may be doing already is earning college credit in high school. Whether it’s through AP and IB exams or taking classes at a local community college, taking college-prep courses is a great way to get a jump start on your degree.

Plus, coming in with college credits means you can take more electives and graduate sooner, which means more money saved.

PSU offers multiple different ways to earn college credit during high school:

SAT and ACT scores

While not directly earning college credit, SAT and ACT scores can help certain students’ application in other ways.

  • For international students (for whom ACT and SAT are NOT required), these scores can help them meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement required for class placement.
  • These scores can also help  meet admission requirements in the case of a GPA below our minimum requirement (3.0).

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

If you have taken AP courses in high school you may be able to earn college credit you can use toward your degree at PSU. If on your AP exam for a given class your score is high enough, you may be eligible for college credit.

AP courses are also a great way to get a preview of the kind of academic rigor and content that you may encounter in your college classes.

To request an official copy of your AP transcripts, visit the College Board website.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams

Like AP courses, IB classes are a way that you can both gain collegiate-level academic experience and receive college credit by doing well on IB exams.

Students enrolling at Portland State who earn their IB diploma with a score of 30 or above will receive a total of 45 college credits (!) and sophomore class standing. Review this chart to see how your specific exam scores will transfer to PSU credit.

To request an official copy of your IB transcripts, visit the International Baccalaureate website.

College Level Exam Program (CLEP)

CLEP subject exams, like the more general AP and IB exams, can help you enter your freshman year with college credit, the results of which can be seen in this chart.

If you are interested in taking CLEP exams, it is recommended that you sign up for them one month in advance with Testing Services (part of Student Health and Counseling) or with another recognized CLEP testing center.

To request an official copy of your CLEP transcripts, visit the College Board website.


Earning college credit during high school is an investment in your future. Coming in with college credit means that you are more likely to graduate on time and that means saving money! It also allows you to jump into your major and start learning about the things you are passionate about.

Remember, if you want your college-prep courses to count you must send the appropriate transcripts to the Office of Admissions:

Office of Admissions
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751

Learn more about other ways to earn credit at PSU!

Six Ways to Spend Time Between Classes on Campus

Lab just got out and you have a few hours before your next class. You sit for a minute, check Instagram, think about going home— but no, you think there has to be something fun to do on campus. Well, wonder no longer!

Six Ways to Spend Time Between Classes on Campus


1. The Viking Game Room

Need to kill some time? A place to unwind? How about a game of pool or bowling? (Yes, we have a bowling alley, and yes, it’s awesome.)

Located in the basement of the Smith Memorial Student Union, the Viking Game Room is open everyday of the week and offers a great place for students to relax and have fun.

 

2. Campus Rec

Wanna work up a sweat? Campus Rec has you covered with everything from a gym full of modern workout equipment to multiple climbing walls and even a full-size swimming pool.

Access to Campus Rec is included in your student fees and the multi-story facility is located conviently in the heart of campus.

Feeling competitive? Try PSU’s many rec clubs or intramural sports! With activities ranging from rugby to dodgeball to tango dancing there is sure to be something for everyone.

3. 5th Avenue Cinema

Ok, so maybe you’re still sore from going to Campus Rec the day before and want to take it easy. No problem. Did you know that right on PSU’s campus there is a student-run movie theater that’s free for students?

The 5th Avenue Cinema is Oregon’s only student-run cinema and presents international and domestic cinema year-round. If you weren’t sold already, just know that there is FREE POPCORN at every showing.

Check the screening schedule and other special events.

4. Portland Farmer’s Market

On campus on a saturday? Want to try some of the best food you’ve ever had? Well, you’re in luck because the Portland Farmer’s Market sets up shop right on PSU’s Park Blocks. Get ready to taste some of the most delicious produce you’ll ever eat.

Over 140 vendors come every saturday to sell their wares and every market includes chef demonstrations, kids’ cooking classes, live music and a lineup of food education events. It is not to be missed.

Plus, there’s plenty of free samples, if that’s what you’re into. (And let’s be real, who isn’t.)

5. Live at Lunch Concert Series

Portland is a town that revels in its unique music scene, so it would be remiss if PSU didn’t invite some of that amazing music to perform on campus. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 12-1pm, Live at Lunch presents live music on the PSU Park Blocks (inside SMSU if it’s raining).

With a new artist and musical style at every performance, Live at Lunch brings amazing free concerts to campus that everyone can enjoy.

Check out the lineup for this Spring on the PSU Professional Sound Facebook page.

6. Snag a Quick Bite

20+ food carts, local restaurants and more variety than you can shake a stick at, the truly unique food on campus represent the vibrancy that is Portland’s culinary culture.

Whether it’s Bowery Bagels in the Student Union, Coco Donuts at the Karl Miller Center or pad thai at the food carts across from the Engineering Building, campus has anything you could want to scratch that edible itch.


Now you have no excuse to be bored on campus!

Tuition Equity for non-U.S. citizens and non-lawful permanent residents

At PSU, we are committing to making college available to everyone. Our goal is your success, plain and simple. That’s why we are proud to participate in Oregon’s Tuition Equity program.

In 2013, HB 2787 became law, granting eligible students ( those who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States) exemption from nonresident tuition if they meet specific criteria, meaning they will be assessed an in-state rate for tuition.

In order to qualify for the benefits provided by HB 2787, students must:

  • have studied in the United States for five years
  • have graduated from an Oregon high school (or received equivalent certification)
  • apply for federal individual taxpayer identification number or other official federal identification document
  • show intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

Receiving in-state tuition under HB 2787 does not change a student’s residency status.

We want you to apply to PSU and start your path towards your bachelor’s degree and the career you’ve always wanted. To be considered for exemption from nonresident tuition under HB 2787, students should follow the application guidelines outlined on the PSU Admissions website.

Students who wish to be admitted under HB 2787 and want to apply for financial aid and scholarships (students admitted under HB 2787 can  apply for PSU scholarships) are encouraged to also fill out an Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA). The ORSAA functions much like its resident counterpart the FAFSA, except the ORSAA does not require the student to have a valid Social Security ID.

We believe that the opportunities college presents should be available to anyone with a passion to pursue their goals. That’s why we are happy to accept HB 2787 applicants and welcome students to campus with our Diversity and Multicultural Student Resource Centers and Retention Programs

Learn more about HB 2787 and Tuition Equity at PSU
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Resources



University Honors at PSU: Like Nothing Else

At PSU, we pride ourselves on being unique. We have a unique campus, unique students, and especially unique street food.

But more than any of that we have a unique approach to education. In no place does that stand out more than PSU’s Honors College.  

PSU’s nationally recognized Honors College has supported and inspired some of the university’s most high-achieving students for more than 40 years. Our Honors College offers the atmosphere of a small liberal arts school with the benefits of a large urban university, and is open to all majors.

Honors students learn to be both critical consumers and producers of knowledge, and gain the skills that prepare them to land rewarding opportunities after graduation. Honors students have gone on to remarkable careers in medicine, the arts and sciences, law, education and sustainability.

The academically intense curriculum of the Honors College prepares students for their senior thesis project. This project provides students the opportunity to work closely with a professor in their major to pursue an independent research project, which is publicly presented and published. You heard that right, published while still in your undergrad.

Students in the Honors program are connected early on with internships, fellowships and scholarships, allowing them to take their talents beyond the classroom and into Portland’s living laboratory and global contexts.

The Honors College is one of the most unique college experiences in one of the most vibrant cities in the country, and is waiting for you to join and flourish.

Learn more about Urban Honors and how to apply today!



Journeys and Destinations

The circuitous route is sometimes the most enlightening.

“There were times when I had a lot of doubt, times when I thought I’d never get to the point where I could graduate. Looking back now everything looks so different.”

Franky Martin, a senior Graphic Design major from Salem, Oregon, will finally, after eleven years bouncing from college to college, job to job, walk the commencement stage and be rewarded with his Bachelor’s degree.

“Getting my bachelors was always at the back of my mind. It was always the goal,” but the route to that goal wasn’t always so clear.

Franky initially started at a private college in Oregon, but left after finding that it didn’t mesh well with his own personality. “It was small, rural, expensive— it just wasn’t for me. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity.”

Opportunity is something Franky finds at PSU in spades. “The engagement here, with PSU, with the city, is so amazing. The creative community is big and really receptive to student involvement.”

Portland’s urban environment was something that was always alluring to Franky. After leaving his first college, Franky started taking classes at Chemeketa Community College in his hometown of Salem, but all the while he was there the opportunities in Portland beckoned.

“At Chemeketa, all of my graphic design professors kept saying that the place to study in Oregon was PSU.” Before Franky transferred, he was able to speak with graphic design faculty at PSU, who helped him in the transition.

“Everyone here— the professors, faculty, even my peers— are so invested in my success. They really do care about my growth not only as a student but also as a person. Everyone seemed excited to help and get to know me.”

Franky’s professors have been able to put him in touch with graphic design professionals all over Portland who are helping him gain the skills and connections he needs to land a job after graduation.

“I helped with the design for Design Week in Portland this year, and there is no way I would have gotten that opportunity without my professors looking out for me.”

The professors in Franky’s program also bring in industry professionals nearly every week, and students have the opportunity to speak candidly with them about what is important to their growth and success in the industry.

“Looking at where I am now it’s hard to believe I ever thought I couldn’t get here. It’s kind of surreal.”

As surreal as it may seem, Franky’s success in the program (he was part of the winning Adobe Creative Jam this year, an event where PSU Graphic Design students have a limited time to create a unique piece of graphic art) is indicative of how easily PSU students are able to gain the skills the need to land a job post graduation.

“Oh yeah, I feel more than prepared. I’ve grown not just in my technical skill but as a person too. I’ve gained so much confidence, more than I’d ever thought I could have.”

Franky’s advice to new students?

“Really get to know the faculty in your department. They’re advocates for you, allies, and the people who can help you in good times and bad.”

Franky attributes a lot of his success to the mentorship of his professors. However, it is his own hard work that will shine brightest as he gets his diploma. When he does eventually leave campus to make his mark on the world, he isn’t seeing it as a door closing.

“It’s less of a journey ending for me as a whole new path opening up.”

Learn more about PSU graduates and student success!

See where alums are working now!

Franky Martin

A Place for Adventure

While PSU is definitely an urban campus, that does not mean that we vikings aren’t all about getting into nature. Wanna go to the coast? Sure, it’s just 90 minutes away. The mountains? Go hiking around Mt. Hood or in the Columbia Gorge. Feeling aquatic? Paddle out onto the nearby Willamette or Columbia Rivers.

“I love the access PSU has to wild spaces. It was one of the big reasons I wanted to come here,” says Jacob McCoola, a second-year graduate student in the Leadership and Sustainability Education program.

“Portland was the perfect fit for me. I had always wanted to live in a big city, and not only did Portland seems like a very cool place to live, culturally, but it had such unique closeness to the outdoors.”

Jacob, who spent two years as a naturalist in Colorado and has an intense fondness for outdoor education, is able to complement his degree program (the only one of its kind in Oregon) by working with PSU’s Outdoor Program.

The Outdoor Program, which is in its 50th year, is a resource center aimed at getting students into the outdoors by offering day hikes, weekend camping trips, rock climbing excursions, and much more, all of which are led by students.  

“It feels like half of my education has come from working with the Outdoor Program.” Jacob wants to continue using the skills he is gaining through the Program into life after college as an outdoor and sustainability educator.

“It’s the oldest university outdoor program in the country.” Jacob is not only an Outdoor Program Trip Leader, guiding students through explorations of the outdoors, but also the Program’s Outreach Coordinator.

“Being a trip leader is an amazing experience, and really helps students, myself included, gain leadership and management skills.” Any student, regardless of major can become a trip leader by completing the Outdoor Program’s Wilderness Leadership Development program (WiLD). “We get trip leaders from all over the university. We’ve had environmental science majors, linguistics majors, music majors. Anyone with a passion for the outdoors can do it.”

This inclusivity doesn’t only extend to the staff at the Outdoor Program.

The Program isn’t just for students who have experience in the outdoors, but for students seeking to learn new skills, broaden their knowledge of being outside and get to know their fellow students.

“We strive to make our trips and events accessible for all students, regardless of ability.” The Program often collaborates with the Disability Resource Center on campus to find ways to include all types of students in Outdoor Program trips.

“We recently had an awesome paddle boarding event out on the coast that we designed so that it would be inclusive for students with disabilities. It was great and everyone had an amazing time.”  

Jacob’s advice for students who want to make use of the Outdoor Program is simple.

“Come on a trip, any trip! I can’t think of a better way to meet people and form a real sense of camaraderie. Plus, it’s an adventure, and who doesn’t want that?”

Check out the Outdoor Program trip schedule!

Learn how to become a Trip Leader!

Jacob McCoola

Passions Find a Home in Portland

It’s all about finding your niche. Where you fit in, what you like, what you don’t. Discovering where you can thrive can radiate throughout your college life and out into your career.

“Getting involved and recognizing all the opportunities around you makes all the difference,” says Vineta Gleba, a Ukrainian-born, Beaverton-raised, junior majoring in Marketing. “Knowing what’s around and taking advantage of it means everything.”

That is part of the reason Vineta chose PSU to begin with. “I knew it had a really good business school. Plus, having it be right in the city meant that there would be all sorts of opportunities for me to get in contact with the community.”

Through the College of Business, Vineta has been able to meet with and tour several of the national organizations that call Portland home, like international ad giant Wieden + Kennedy.

Through the College and Business and the Honors College, Vineta was also able to complete an Internship abroad in Panama with Kalu Yala, a sustainable housing non-profit focused on building homes in the developing world.

She is also getting to meet with professionals at Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, through the Athletic and Outdoor Connect program within the College of Business. “I’m really into sports and physical activity, so it was great to meet with companies that shared my interests and with whom I could network.”

Vineta is also able to merge her passions for business and marketing with sports with her job at Campus Rec. “I do Marketing and Outreach so it really combines my interests.” Vineta helps students by promoting Campus Rec at resource fairs and by helping facilitate and represent Campus Rec events like PRIDE Kickball and Cornhole in the Plaza.

“I want students to know that Campus Rec is an amazing resource available to them, and that it’s included in their student fees.”

Vineta’s work with Campus Rec is helping her gain the skills she needs to pursue a career in business and marketing after she graduates. “I want to work for organizations that are interested in helping the developing world navigate environmental and social issues.”

That goal is enhanced by the Certificate in Social Innovation that she is getting from the College of Business in addition to her degree in Marketing.

“Being able to meet with companies in Portland, my job at Campus Rec and the innovative Business degree program are all giving me the skills that can help land an amazing job after I graduate.”

Vineta’s advice for students?

“Take advantage of all the incredible resources on campus. Discover your passions and surround yourself with people who love what you love. Especially Campus Rec, although I might be a little biased.”

Check out all the amazing programs and resources at Campus Rec that are included with your student fees.

Check out Vineta’s Blog and YouTube channel!

Vineta Gleba

Accessibility Meets Oppurtunity

The benefits of experience cannot be undervalued. Those who seek out the avenues to build their skillset are able to venture into the world prepared to make the biggest impact, a fact which Justin Orendorff, a junior Liberal Studies major from Canby, Oregon, understands.

“I want to learn as much as I can so that I can do something great after I graduate.” Justin aspires to be an author and to go onto graduate programs in creative writing, so it made perfect sense that he would get involved with Ooligan Press, the PSU student-run book publishing house on campus.

Couched within the Master of Fine Arts in Book Publishing program, Ooligan affords both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to get hands-on professional experience with book publishing.

“I don’t think I could have gotten those kinds of experiences and skills at another university, not like this.” And Justin’s right. No other school in Oregon offers undergraduate students the chance to work on books that will actually go onto store shelves the way PSU does.

“It’s invaluable to see the process, especially since I want to be an author.” What’s more is that students participate with Ooligan as a class, so they get credits they can use towards graduation.

What’s especially unique about Ooligan Press, and PSU student groups at large, is that students don’t need to be in a specific major to participate.

“I’m a Liberal Studies major, so I take classes in sciences and education, but Ooligan, which I thought was only for English majors, was excited when I asked about joining. My major didn’t matter, they just wanted me to grow.”  

The ability for undergraduate students to get professional experiences while still in school is not only limited to Ooligan. Every major has ways for students to get involved with community or research projects, all of which are enhanced by the vibrant Portland geography.

Justin transferred to PSU from another Oregon university that was in a much smaller town.

“It definitely didn’t have the same resources and opportunities as Portland. Plus, I love that the campus is right downtown. It makes everything so accessible.”

That accessibility is playing into Justin’s project at Ooligan, where he is helping to organize the annual Write to Publish conference where authors can learn the ins and outs of getting published. “Since I want to be published one day it’s a perfect fit.”

Taking on community projects and hands-on skills during undergrad can have impacts that ripple out through a student’s life, and the staff and faculty at PSU are excited to facilitate students’ in their efforts serve Portland.

Learn about ways PSU undergraduates gain professional skills and interact with the city.

Justin Orendorff