2016: Portland State looks back and forward

As students recover from their holiday adventures, the roller coaster ride of 2016 nears its end. Through the highs and the lows, Portland State moves forward, and perhaps with more zeal than ever.

Students at PSU have mobilized through political activism in response to the controversial election of Donald J. Trump, the calamities in Aleppo, and the protests in Standing Rock. Despite the tragic deaths of various celebrities, students maintain their positivity and hope for the best in 2017.

“I’d say the best thing that’s come out of 2016 for me is the friends I’ve made,” said Skyland Yerkes (Class of 2019, Political Science). “I’ve met people who may not be interested in the same things I am but that are extremely motivated and engaged in their own pursuits, which inspires me in turn.”

Tessara Dudley (Class of 2017, Black Studies and Liberal Studies) was able to accomplish a lifelong dream: “I got to travel to Ghana, and I was also accepted to the McNair Scholars Program, which will help me achieve my dream of getting a Ph.D.”

“I moved away from my small hometown for college and have seen myself branch out so much in Portland,” said Jessica Ibarra (Class of 2020, Chemistry). “I’m happy with all the new experiences and the diverse exposure. Overall, 2016 was actually really good for me personally.”

Some students had simpler responses. “I was able to explore Oregon, which was an adventure in itself, and I drove along the Oregon coast over the summer,” said Jaysen Gutierrez (Class of 2018, Architecture). Gutierrez documented his travels through his photography.

Kaylee Brunette (Class of 2020, Business) said, “Choosing to live in the Broadway dorms so I don’t have to find parking in Portland was probably the best choice I’ve made this year!”

“The best thing this year for me was being able to move in with my girlfriend,” Ashe Jordan (Class of 2020, Social Sciences) said with a smile.

And what is your primary goal for 2017?

“I’m aiming to take care of myself better,” Jordan said in response.

Ibarra looked at her past term to decide what she could do better next year: “One of my goals at the moment is to learn from fall term and improve on my study habits and time management. Fall term was my first at PSU and it wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped to be, but I plan on winter term being better, as well as the rest of my time in college.”

“My main goal for next year would just be to try new things as much as possible,” Gutierrez replied. “I want to maybe learn a new talent or take part in a new sport, even just try some new food!”

Brunette added that she wants to start spending more time on her friendships: “I really want to build solid relationships with my college friends and old friends from back at home! I hope I will be able to dedicate time to visiting them.”

“I technically have three goals,” Dudley said. “I’m looking forward to completing the McNair Program, I’m extremely excited to graduate, and determined to apply to grad school!”

“My main resolution is to try to be just a generally more ethical consumer,” Yerkes said. “I know it’s nearly impossible to attempt to completely abandon my dependency on products with not-so-good production histories, especially considering I’m a low-income individual, but I’d like to stop supporting businesses that are complicit in the oppression of various groups. For example, don’t buy products/services from companies wrapped up in for-profit prisons.” Yerkes also added that she aims to be more politically active and aware during the upcoming year.