Everyone pegged you as a late bloomer, but here's your chance to prove them wrong. Welcome to Portland Sort-of University, or PSU, Oregon's only 4-year community college.
While the academics around here aren't terribly challenging, and the most stimulating discourse is scrawled on the grout in the women's bathrooms, PSU is almost like your typical university—we've got sports teams and residence halls and stuff like that. But what makes PSU most like a real college is the brochure, which, just like the brochure of those privileged bastards at Oregon State, depicts a sparkling campus with rosy-cheeked students excited about learning in an institution with state-of-art facilities. But Portland State is fibbing more than a little, so before you embark on your sub-par educational journey here, I think there's a few things you should know:
(1) PSU's pride and joy, the South Park Blocks, may look like a sweet place to chill between classes, but the canopy of trees and rows of inviting benches are actually a lush, leafy corridor of DEATH. Rumor has it that the trees are diseased and rotting from the inside, the heavy branches mere seconds from ripping away from the trunk. Just last year, half a tree came crashing down on one of the walkways and sat there for hours, marked off with police tape. No one was killed that time, but someday it could be your head exploding beneath a wooden arm of oblivion!
(2) As an underclassman, it is your duty to refrain from attending class so that I don't have to sit on the floor in an overcrowded room. You needn't show up to make a good grade—simply wait until the last minute and fabricate a good sob story that explains why you can't possibly write a four-page term paper. After all, who's going to refuse to give you an A while your mentally challenged quadriplegic brother is in the ICU having his heart removed?
(3) Attending PSU is a lot like hanging out at Pioneer Square all day long. Every few feet you'll meet a smiling face who really needs to speak to you. If you're lucky they'll just want a cigarette, but most will want you to sign a petition or give them money—or both.
Most of the people you'll meet are from OSPIRG. OSPIRG stands for Oregon Students Purchase IKEA Rugs for Gina. Gina is the president of OSPIRG, I think. And her minions will be hiding in every nook of PSU, waiting to jump out and explain why they desperately need your money. It's hard to say no because they look at you with big batting doe eyes and say, "Excuse me, do you have just 10 SECONDS for the environment?" Of course you do! What kind of asshole doesn't have 10 little seconds for the environment? Avoid canvassers by spending 20 minutes each night writing out $25 checks to various campaigns. Blaze yourself a trail to class by tossing the checks to your left and right.
(4) Remember to recycle. Never bother to write a new paper if you already have one that's useable. In fact, turn in every paper you write as many times as you can. If you turn in someone else's paper, remember to cross out their name or you'll get yourself in a lot of trouble.
(5) Brush up daily on your political correctness. You know by now not to say venereal disease, because that's just downright icky. But by the time you learn to say, "I contracted a sexually transmitted disease from someone on the Greek Council," someone will tell you it's actually a sexually transmitted infection. The third time around someone will tell you the new term is icky private part issue not nice to say out loud, and by this point you may not want to bother trying to learn the new lingo. But keep at it, that's what I say. Take a lot of women's studies classes and avoid addressing anyone directly or looking them in the eye and you'll be just fine.
So, freshman, I hope you remember my advice as you strive to make the most of your four-year hiatus from being a waitperson. Enjoy, and remember that regardless of what prospective employers may try to tell you, Portland State is a real college, and your degree is worth something!
Treasure Porth, Class of '08