Set aside your fears and take the first step toward your goals

By Zoe Davis ’20, Business Marketing Major

When I decided to come to Portland State, I knew this was the place to continue working on bettering myself — and that usually involves forcing myself to leave my room and do something out of my comfort zone.

My first step was attending Management 299 course the week before classes started. There, I met a few current students who gave some insight on the school and all the opportunities here. During one of the last lectures, Angela Stanton, an alumni and former Fearless blogger, mentioned that the business school was looking for help with social media. With 3 years of digital marketing under my belt at after-school jobs, I jumped at the idea of doing something I knew I could succeed in. But I was still hesitant.

“What if I send an email and get nothing back? … What if I send an email and get rejected?” My mind was flooded with worries about meeting my arch-nemesis, rejection.

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I remembered that in order to get something out of my experience here, I needed to take some risks and accept that the hypothetical cold shoulders shouldn’t stop me from pursuing something I’m good at or interested in.

So I wrote a cold email to Wenye Tang, the associate director of Marketing and Communications for the business school, offering my help on social media work.

After a small nervous breakdown and a couple minutes of intense regret, I realized that what I had done was (for lack of a better word) brave. Even if I got rejected or ignored, I should be proud – and that rejection isn’t the end of the world. I’ve failed before, but that didn’t stop me then and won’t stop me now.

Despite my nerves, Wenye got back to me later that week and now I’m here, writing for the Fearless Blog!

If I hadn’t put my fears aside and written that cold email, I would have never gotten this opportunity. On the flip side, if I would have written the email and never heard a thing back, it wouldn’t have been a big deal.

My lesson: Whether it’s applying for a job or attending a club meeting, fear of the unknown can sometimes prevent us from making progress. I’m working on learning how to ignore my fear of rejection and be more brave. Fear can sometimes prevent us from doing great things and I’m still working on learning when to ignore my fears and take a step out of my comfort zone and toward my goals. There’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to taking a risk: sometimes you just have to do it.

So take a step out of your comfort zone: Attend a club meeting (there’s one for almost any major or interest)! Apply for a job on CareerConnect or email an advisor about what kind of opportunities are out there for you.

~Zoe Davis, Fearless Freshman

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Zoe Davis is a freshman majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Theater. She is the Social Media Coordinator for the Athletic and Outdoor Connect club.

 

 

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Learning the digital marketing ropes can help you build a brand — and get a job!

By Sara Kirkpatrick ’17, Advertising and Marketing major

When I graduate, I aspire to work in digital marketing. However, like many students, I didn’t always know what I wanted to do after college.

At Portland Community College, I excelled in business coursework but struggled with math. I transferred to PSU to study communications, but three terms before graduation I decided to say goodbye to my communication degree and apply for the SBA program (even if it does require an additional 2 1/2 years of coursework!).

I started my business coursework and became focused on digital marketing. I used resources like Google, Meetup and LinkedIn to network with others in the field and start learning skills. Since then, I have designed and launched a personal e-portfolio, attended community workshops and digital conferences, and have completed a digital marketing certificate through PSU. To practice my skills in the art of Instagram’s quirkiness, I created an account for my French bulldog, Diesel.

My enthusiasm and interest for digital marketing is driven by my passion to inspire others. As a newly hired SBA student blogger, I plan to use this platform to spread awareness of the importance and value of social media for students in today’s job market.

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In future blog posts, I’ll share insight on how to build a professional online presence, including:

•   Why an online resume is more effective than a written one

•   How to leverage Pinterest for careers

•   How to become an expert in your major using Facebook groups

•   Why you should consider making LinkedIn your primary blog

•   A student’s guide to keeping it professional on Twitter

By the end of the year, I hope to arm readers with the digital skills needed to land your dream job right after college!

~Sara Kirkpatrick ’17, Fearless Senior

Did you know SBA has a Pinterest page where you can find hundreds of job search tips? Check it out and get started pinning your way to a job!

img_6388Sara Kirkpatrick is a senior majoring in Advertising and Marketing with a minor in Communications. She is working as a digital strategist for FIR, the student-run advertising agency. She also blogs for PSU Chronicles.

Learn how to get scholarship money from PSU!

Shelbie Butler, ’18, Human Resource Management and Management and Leadership

 

scholarshipDid you know that the School of Business alone gives away $200,000 in scholarships each year? Portland State University offers many scholarships opportunities for all students. While applying for scholarships, here are a few very important things to remember:

– For the PSU scholarship application, you’ll need at least​ two letters of recommendation. Even though the application isn’t due until February 1st, you should start asking professors and mentors now! This will give them plenty of time to write a quality letter.

– Read all of the instructions very carefully and make sure that the application is filled out completely!

– Fill out the FAFSA! This year the form opened up on October 1st. This is your first step when seeking scholarships. The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the better!

To find out more about PSU scholarships, changes in the FAFSA process, and tips from professionals to help you find success in your quest for scholarships, come to my workshop: Scholarships! How to Find and Get Them! On Tuesday, November 1st from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm in SMSU 298. I’ll see you there!

Turning passions into a career

By Edwin Garcia ’17, Advertising and Marketing major

The Monday after Ranier Evans graduated from PSU’s SBA this past June, he started an e-commerce internship at Columbia Sportswear. His internship turned into a full-time job, and now he gets paid to tell the story of a brand deeply rooted in Pacific Northwest adventure — something he’s passionate about.

How did he do it? I sat down with him over some Rogue Hall tots and water (it’s too early in the term for midweek beers!) to find out.

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When Ranier started at PSU, he was a film major. He became a lifeguard at the Rec Center, a swim coach, logrolling instructor (yep, just like it sounds), served on the Rec Center advisory board, and enjoyed hiking the great Northwest.

Through his involvement around campus, he realized his passion wasn’t in the editing room — it was outdoors. He joined the School of Business Administration and signed up for an Athletic and Outdoor Industry class, taught by a Senior Global Manager at Columbia. Rainier also joined A&O Connect, a student group.

“Seeing all the hard work and passion in one group of like-minded students” let him know he was in the right place and kept him going in the program. Ranier said the support of other students and the opportunity to gain experience and develop connections was a critical part of landing such a great job right out of school.

He graduated in June with a degree in Marketing and certificates in Digital Marketing Strategies and the Athletic and Outdoor Industry. The certificates helped differentiate his resume.

He said his success doesn’t boil down to one or two things, but a major factor in helping him find his passion and become successful was his involvement on campus in activities and clubs. It helped him develop leadership skills, communication, and grow a network of both peers and professionals — while having fun.

“I did what I loved,” he said of his time at PSU. “Or at least I went in that direction!”

~Edwin Garcia ’17, Fearless Senior

If you want to get involved on campus, check out Student Activities and Leadership Programs or find a list of active SBA student groups to join.

 

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Edwin Garcia is a senior majoring in Advertising and Marketing with an Athletics and Outdoor Industry certificate. He is co-president of A&O Connect and an Account Executive at FIR NW.

The Struggle is Real

Diana Shukri ‘17, Business Management/Human Resources Major

I hope all my fellow transfer students are adjusting to this first week at Portland State! I know it can be scary and frustrating adapting to change, especially when it comes to school. You may now are starting to realize how different community college is from a university!

Thoughts like “How am I going to get through this?” or “This is not what I expected!” are common. Trust me, I know the feeling. I remember my first term here feeling like I was struggling. Here’s my advice for getting over that feeling quickly.

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Get used to the rigorous work load. You’ll soon realize that classes here are challenging. I came here thinking I could breeze through my classes and soon realized how wrong I was.

The good news is, you will adjust. Don’t stop working hard, even when you’re feeling discouraged. Always ask for help if you need it. You can talk to your professor, visit the tutoring center for free help, or join a study group.

Decide on your major. It’s a good idea to evaluate your major and decide if you truly want to continue on this path. Maybe you want to take on a minor? Or you’re losing interest in school and want a change of pace?

It can be a stressful decision. My advice: Think long-term, talk to your advisor, and trust your intuition.

Don’t procrastinate. Do not wait until the last minute to apply to school and get your transcripts transferred over. It will only result in a mad rush and potential delays.

Similarly, don’t wait until the last minute to register for classes. There’s no guarantee the classes you want will be open – and you don’t want to end up wait-listed for every class you sign up for. The lesson: Be aware of the academic calendar and meet with your advisor to create a plan.

Stay on top of your class work and work hard – pretty soon, you’ll feel right at home here.

~Diana Shukri ’17, Fearless Senior

What are you waiting for? Learn more about free tutoring for business students, schedule with your advisor, and check out the academic calendar.

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Diana Shukri is a senior with a double business major studying business management and leadership and human resources management.

Is on-campus employment worth it?

By Gene Park ’17, Supply and Logistics Management

There is a stereotype about student jobs that they aren’t “real jobs.” Especially if you are in need of money, working outside school seems like the most logical choice. When I started my first student job at Portland Community College, I didn’t have high expectations but knew I need to add some work experience for the sake of my resume.

It turns out, I was wrong about student employment. My job at PCC was one of the best experiences I’ve had because it provided me with personal growth opportunities that I would have missed if I had chosen an off-campus job that paid a few more dollars per hour.

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Since that first job, I’ve had two others on campus. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Time management – Most student jobs allow flexible schedules that will adjust for students’ scheduling needs. I was able to cut commute time dramatically by working and studying on the same days. It was a like an oasis in a desert for me when I needed more time to study.

 

  • Student friendly work environment – If you have worked off campus, you know how demanding a job can be. My  supervisors in student employment understood my struggles much more than my off-campus supervisors.

 

  • Competitive pay – Surprisingly, student job pay is not as bad as what you might think. Almost all student jobs will pay more than working at a franchise restaurant, for example. Obviously, I could not make a living from my student jobs, but working on campus is a great way to earn extra income.

 

  • Network opportunity – Working on-campus provides more opportunities to get to know your professors and fellow students. I was able to broaden my social circle and be exposed to new opportunities on campus.

~Gene Park ’17, Fearless Senior

 

Want to hear more about working on-campus? Attend our upcoming Finding and Getting an On-Campus Job workshop this Friday, Sept. 23 from 10 – 11 a.m. in SMSU 296. Find out more information here.

 

gene-park_webGene Park is a senior majoring in Supply and Logistics Management. He is also a Peer Advisor in the Undergraduate Programs Office. Connect with Gene via LinkedIn or by coming in for Express Advising.

Making the Leap

By Diana Shukri ’17, Business Management

I remember when I was about to start school at Portland State. Transferring from PCC, I was excited and nervous. Most importantly, I was ready … or so I thought. So many people who made the leap from community college to PSU told me, “Oh it’s the same thing, PSU is just bigger.” I took their advice and kept that mindset. Little did I know, that wasn’t really the case.

My first impression was, “Wow! This place is so big!” When that faded, I realized there was a lot I needed to learn and do in order to have a smooth and successful transition into PSU’s business program. Here’s what I learned that might help you:

  1. You still need to take those “other” business” classes. If you transferred here thinking, “Finally! I don’t have to take business classes that don’t apply to my major anymore!” Think again. All business students have to take a set of 8 core business classes that range from finance to marketing to supply and logistics. Expect a lot of group work in these classes as well.

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  1. If you didn’t get it together at community college, you better start now. All business students have to be mindful of not one but two GPAs: Your cumulative GPA includes every class you’ve taken, and your SBA GPA includes only business courses. Both GPAs need to be at or above 2.5 to maintain good standing with SBA.If one or both GPAs fall below 2.5, you’ll be put on academic probation and have three terms to bring your GPA back up. This can become a stressful situation, so it’s best to avoid it by starting off on the right foot. My advice: Do your work. If you’re having trouble, talk to your professor and get help from fellow classmates. Don’t be intimidated about asking your professors for help: They are here to help you! I have done this countless of times and it has always helped.

  2. Meet with your advisors as much as you think you need to. The SBA advisers are some of the greatest sources of information I’ve found. They help with anything that you need academically and provide career counseling, too. Your adviser will become a major supporter that will help you stay on track to graduate on time.

You made a wise choice transferring from community college to the School of Business at PSU. I hope my advice will help make your transition to Portland State a positive and successful one!

~Diana Shukri ’17, Fearless Senior

Visit Academic and Career Advising for more tips on how to succeed as a transfer student!

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Diana Shukri is a senior with a double business major studying business management and leadership and human resources management.

True Confessions of a Graduate

Angela Stanton ’16, Advertising Major

Like many of those who walked in the graduation ceremony June 12th, 2016, I am feeling excited and relieved to finally graduate but scared at the same time.

What’s so scary about graduation? FOR ME EVERYTHING! It is a little overwhelming to spend four years and $37,640 on a piece of paper (I mean a degree). Graduation itself is easy. It is what comes next that is so hard. How do I describe the complete chaos in mind about the future? I think my childhood friend, SpongeBob SquarePants, sums it up quite well.

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The last four years of my life have been an endless sea of classes, work, study, and sleep. I have been on a mission for 4 years, to get through college. I felt like “the little engine who could” and guess what? I did!

Now that graduation has come and gone, many of us are wondering now what? It seems everywhere I turn, people are asking me, “Didn’t you just graduate?” And, “What are your plans now?”

Well, I have a lot of plans, but no job lined up yet and no idea of how I am going to pay back my large amounts of student loans. So I did a lot of soul searching and here is the top three pieces of advice I took to heart.

1. Take a break. Go camping, sleep in, binge watch your favorite crush, drive across country, do something fun, but whatever you do take some time off! Because if you are anything like me, that is a hard thing to do. I came across a great book written by millennial Katherine Schwarzenegger (yea, Arnolds’ kid) who has just recently experienced the “I just graduated now what syndrome.” This book really puts things into perspective. Her mother, Maria Shriver, spoke at her commencement ceremony about the “power of the pause.

2. Don’t give up on your dream job. I think there is always pressure on graduating students to get a great job right after graduation. We all know it doesn’t work like that, so as you can see the pressure is on. Well, take the pressure off and just get a job you want to do every day. And if that isn’t your dream job, just don’t give up. Having a back-up plan and get by job is good but don’t settle. Sometimes finding that first job in the field of your study can take some time so be prepared if it takes a couple months, 6 months or a year. Just keep trying.

3. Keep calm, nobody else knows what they are doing either! It’s okay to not know what you want to do. Just take life as it comes at you, surprises and all. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity that you have been preparing for. Finding a job is not easy – but it is possible. Portland State University also offers a wide range of additional Resources for current students and recent graduates.

The Academic Career Services (ACS) offers services and workshops for resume review and mock interviews, as well as other workshops on topics such as LinkedIn or networking. Portland State University also offers online job opportunities and internships for alumni through career connect.

  1. August 4 – Career Workshop: Networking 101 | 3:00-4:00pm

  2. August 11 – Career Workshop: Writing Resumes and Cover Letters | 2:30-4:00pm

  3. August 17 – Career Workshop: Introduction to Interviewing | 10:30am-12:00pm

  4. August 23 – Career Workshop: Introduction to Interviewing | 3:00pm-4:30pm

Graduation means different things to different people, but the one thing everyone has in common is the feeling of uncertainty that comes with the unknown. It is the way we handle ourselves and the choices that we make that will determine our success. And remember, we are the future!

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From left to right: Chuck Nobles, Angela Stanton, Maureen O’Connor

~Angela Stanton ’16, Fearless Senior

Angela Stanton is a recent Advertising graduate.
She is also a member of the FIR Advertising student-run agency.

What I’ll Miss About PSU

Sydney Kim ’16, Marketing Major

drupal_commencement_2016 - smallI can’t believe that I have come to the final days of my life as a college student. I know that many soon-to-be fellow graduates will agree when I say that this is truly a happy and scary moment in our lives. There is so much out there for us and so much we have to leave behind. I have truly appreciated my time at Portland State University and in commemoration of graduation; here are a few of the things that I will miss the most:

My group members: There is a special bond formed between people that cannot be created anywhere else but in the depths of despair bubbling with group projects, long nights, 50 page papers and stressful presentations. I will miss eating delivery pizza in the library study rooms and complaining about classes with these great people. They have made the journey that much better.

Diversity: We have people from all walks of life at Portland State University: old, young, recent high school graduates or people that took a less conventional route. I will miss the amount of diversity we have in our classrooms and the various perspectives that they bring. It has been a very educational and inspirational experience.

Hard-working professors: I’ve taken a lot of night classes during my time at PSU and it’s never easy going to class right after work. But, a lot of our professors are in the same boat. They work 9-5 and then come to teach us so they can give back to the community. I will miss their compassion and hilarious stories.

Everything else: Here is where I will list all of the other things that I will miss, because I’m too indecisive to make a short list: the Park Blocks during the Fall, people yelling at people in the Park Blocks, having food carts on campus, the gorgeous tree by our library, amazing student advisors, being within walking distance of practically everything, and all of the amazing people that I have met during my three short years at Portland State University.

PSU is bustling and dynamic. It’s been a place of growth and new beginnings for me. As bittersweet as this moment of time is, I know that there are more amazing milestones ahead and I look forward to them. Congratulations Class of 2016. We’ve worked hard for this moment. Now go out and enjoy life.

~Sydney Kim ’16, Fearless Senior

Sydney KimSydney is a marketing major graduate ’16. She is an intern at Adpearance and a member of the events committee of PSU’s chapter of American Marketing Association (AMA).

My Good Frenemy, Sallie Mae

Sarah Dunbar ’16, Accounting

As we near graduation it’s time to celebrate and congratulate ourselves on a job well done! It’s not an easy accomplishment to persevere through the challenges of college to complete your degree. All of the late night study sessions and Top Ramen breakfasts have finally paid off and it is time to take that next step in our lives. As we say farewell to the many experiences we’ve had at PSU, it’s time to say hello to our new best friend, Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae* is one of the nation’s largest educational loan servicers, for private and federal loans. It works closely with the Department of Education to collect on the student loans it disburses through FAFSA. Sallie Mae is one of those friends who is always there for you in the beginning, always there with a helping hand to support you through the difficult times, but you know they are only being nice so they can cash in the favor later.

When I made the decision to go to college I happily accepted her help, but I never fully understood what I was getting myself into. So I decided, with less than a month to go, to figure it all out.

1. Understand Your Loan(s).

When I first started this process I had no idea how many loans I actually had or what their balances were. Thankfully, the National Student Loan Data System exists. Once you create a login, NSLDS provides a detailed list of all of your outstanding federal loans, including dates when payments are required and the name of your loan servicer. If you have private loans, it is recommended to reach out to your specific lender to understand the details of your loan.

The NSLDS and Department of Education provide a breakdown of the Federal Loans provided. Under the Direct Loan program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. There are three main types of Direct Loans:

Direct Subsidized Loans: made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education; Interest does not start accruing until after you have graduated.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans: made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. The kicker? Interest starts accruing from the date of disbursement.

Direct PLUS Loans: made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.

Additionally, the Federal Loan program offers Perkins loans. Perkins loans are a school-based loan program for undergraduates and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Under this program, the school is lender.

(Source: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans)

2. Determine Your Monthly Budget
Money Bags
Adding an additional expense to your monthly budget can be scary, regardless of your post-grad plans. This is why it’s important to know how much you can realistically pay on a continual basis for your student loans.

In my last blog post I talked about tips on how to build an emergency fund into your monthly budget, you can utilize the same philosophy here. Look at your projected income and deduct all of your current necessary expenses, and find little ways to reduce the non-essential expenses (do you really need the two DVDs at a time plan from Netflix?) Once you know how much you can comfortably spend on student loans, you can then pick the right payment plan.

Keep in mind that many federal student loan programs provide a 6-month grace period after graduation before your first payment is due. This provides time for new graduates to get settled and find a steady stream of income. Note: Most loans will start accruing interest for this 6-month period, so if you can start making payments immediately, it will cost you less in the long run.

3. Determine Your Payment Plan

Most graduates will take on a traditional payment plan for their loans. Traditional plans typically span over 10 years, include a required minimum payment of $50 (or more depending on your loan amount), and have the benefit of paying the least amount of interest over the life of the loan compared to other payment plans. Two other variations of traditional plans include extended plans, which amortize the loan over 25 years, and graduated payment plans, which slowly increase the monthly payment over time.

An alternative to traditional payments are Income-Based Repayments. With Income-Based Repayments your monthly payments are capped at a percentage of your income.

One unique opportunity provided to Federal Direct Loan recipients is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which provides an incentive for graduates to work in either the public or non-profit sector. If you are interested in working in one of these industries, check out the PSLF website for more information.

4. Set Up Auto-Pay

Adjusting to life after college can be scary. Maybe you’re moving to a new place, starting a new job, navigating a newly free social life. It’s easy to lose track of all of the moving parts and forget to make your payment. Setting up auto-pay, like you may already do for your other bills, is an easy way to make sure you’re on track. Falling behind on payments can have a serious impact on your credit score, so why risk it? On the plus side, some loan servicers provide benefits, such as interest rate reductions, for those who enroll in auto-pay. Check with your individual servicer about your options.

5. Make Friends with Your Loan Servicer

Yes, Sallie Mae is quite demanding when it comes to getting repaid, yet she also is flexible when it comes to how and when she gets the money. Because life isn’t always predictable, it’s important to build a relationship with your loan servicer from the time you believe you may not be able to make a payment on time or in full. There are two main avenues through which to postpone or reduce your student loan payments, deferment and forbearance.

Deferment: Period during which your principal payments are temporarily delayed.

Forbearance: Up to a 12-month period where your payments are postponed or reduced. This is an option if you don’t qualify for deferment but your loan servicer may grant the reprieve if you are having significant financial difficulties or illness.

For a full list of qualifying conditions, check out this web page. In any case it is important to stay in contact with your loan servicer about your plans and options. Both deferment and forbearance require documentation and a formal request to be put into place.

Whether you’re graduating in a few weeks or a year, it’s important to understand your relationship with Sallie Mae and any other financial entity you interact with. Financial aid is a big part of being a college student. Thankfully, we’re not the first students to have to deal with this issue. Work with your friends, family and academic advisors to find the right repayment schedule that works for you!

*Correction: The business was spun off in 2014 into a separate, independent company Navient Corporation. It owns federal and private student loans and services loans on behalf of Sallie Mae and other parties, such as the U.S. Department of Education. Sallie Mae transformed into a banking and financial services company offering private education loans, goal-based and traditional savings products, scholarship search and college financial planning tools.

~ Sarah Dunbar ’16, Fearless Senior

Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer www.craigmitchelldyer.com 503.513.0550Sarah Dunbar is a senior business student majoring in Accounting. She is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting and Finance Honor Society.