Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Why I Call Portland My Home Port: A Veteran's Perspective



... Or so I thought. For me Maseeh College is exactly where I belong. Being a student at PSU is better than nap time and free juice - and it's a launch pad for my career. 

When I got out of the Navy, I wasn't expecting a hero's welcome home parade. My friends and family would be happy to see me and I would go about moving on with the next stage of my life. I wasn't geographically tied down so the world was my proverbial oyster. I had the choice to study anything at almost any institution - and be able to afford it!

However I didn't have anyone to look to for advice on getting out and my desperation was reflected in my Google search history.  I had many queries like "I'm getting out of the Military where do I go?"

To those who are just as panicky as I was, I can offer one piece of advice when trying to make a plan of action: Plant yourself where you thrive. 

For me Portland State is where I decided to plant myself. It was the location that primarily attracted me. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest culture when I was stationed a few hours north of Portland. Between the large international company's and a vast collection of trendy start ups, there is a lot of opportunity.

But I didn't just come here to drink local microbrews, enjoy art and live music and eat from some of the finest food trucks. Being a career-oriented person my dream school had to lead to more than just a lot of fond memories of my college experience
What drew me to Portland State is the amazing paid internships through MECOP and PCEP, the chance to work hands on in leading edge technology in the undergraduate research program or in the Electronics Prototype Lab, the real world-employment ready-free training offered through the CAT and that was just a few things that were available through the engineering college. 

There is a lot of history here. Read up a little bit about Vanport College. It's known as the college that would't die and served as the foundation of Portland State.  It was founded to suit the needs of a post-war veteran community and in an under-served, largely minority community, where education was often limited to an elite few. 

To this day Portland State continues to serve with the tradition of open opportunity. Student services are available to a large variety of communities, LGBTQ, international, differently-abled and veteran students. PSU is very inclusive and there are a lot of exciting things happening right now that empower and enable our communities - including career, health, legal, dental, and financial planning services. What's more, at PSU I've never felt that I'm on my own, or being fed threw paper work or forms like I have in other places. 

I wouldn't trade my time here for any port of call. (Though exploring Portland fills me with the same excitement I had when exploring other countries. The local flora and fauna is totally alien to me and indescribably amazing, culturally it's nothing like my dusty dry hometown, or the haze grey hulls of a ship). I love going to school here. I have the best crew of friends I could think to ask for, I even found an amazing job that provides the professional development I need. 

Portland State is exactly where I thrive.
 
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