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Old 07-12-2010, 05:11 PM
 
13 posts, read 27,945 times
Reputation: 14

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Hi! I was recently accepted to Portland State University.. I just had a few questions about the area.

I have a choice between Portland, OR and Tucson, Arizona. I'm originally from New Hampshire, so I think that the climate in Oregon is about the same.. except NH gets a lot more snow.

I ADORE cold gray days, but I've been reading about how people tend to get depressed due to the lack of sunshine. My mood is directly influenced by those around me.. could this be a potential problem for me?

What is there to do in Portland? Does the city shut down early? Is it more expensive in the West to 'go out', than it is back East?

What kind of environment/vibe does Portland have?

Are the people friendly or more reserved? I have college to fall back on to make friends.. but I'm worried about being older than the majority of students. (I'm in my early 20's)

I'm a single female... How is the dating aspect in Portland? I'm not really interested in the 'new to college' type, I've gotten that out of my system.

Is it possible to live here without a car?

How about the job market? I've been reading about the high unemployment rate.. I'm really only interested in finding a part time job as a waitress. Are these jobs scarce as well?

Does anyone know anything about PSU in general?


I know I asked a lot of questions. If anyone has any advice or information about Portland in general.. I'd love to hear it! I'm really interested in the vibe of the city, what the people are like, things to do, etc.


Thanks so much.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
2,317 posts, read 7,204,806 times
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PSU is the transfer university in Oregon and is known for it's, erm, "mature" student body. It's a decent school, but 90% of people who apply get in, if that tells you anything about the student body. It's Oregon's most diverse student body, however. Most people who go there are commuter students. There is not much of a "community" feel at PSU. Community college feel? Yes. Community feel? No. If I had to choose between the University of Arizona and Portland State University, I'd probably choose U of A. It's a better school overall. Tucson? I don't know if I could deal with living in Arizona, even Tucson.

Everyone wants the low end jobs like waiting tables because ANYONE can do a job like that. Those are the jobs with the most competition because so many people just want to find a job--any job. Open positions are hard to find, and even harder to get if you try to go after one.

There isn't much to do in Portland, honestly. After 10 it's pretty much snoresville. Works for some people, not for others. But you can definitely get by without a car, especially if you live downtown.

As for the dating scene for people our age? I have heard that it's easy to find dates if you're a single, straight woman, but the quality of the available straight men can be questionable at times. Maybe that's a universal thing, maybe not. But either way, people are generally pretty reserved I'd say. Polite and surface-friendly, but reserved. You can possibly make friends through school though, yes.

As far as your mood being influenced by the people around you... That's going to be a potential problem for you no matter where you go in the world. You should probably work on that for yourself. I work in customer service and I don't notice any more grumps in the winter than in the summer. The short, grey days (even shorter than you'd be used to in NH--we're on the same latitude as Montreal) aren't lit up by snow on the ground. It's a lot darker, from what I've heard and what little I've experienced of snowy climes.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Portland
63 posts, read 71,008 times
Reputation: 71
snoresville? i get the chills every time i hit up jambase and see all the phenomenal shows playing in portland... very eager to move there myself.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Lake Oswego, OR
30 posts, read 119,662 times
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portland is a great town to be a college student in. much better, imho, than the small towns or segregated-from-the-big-city universities. it's very cool to have a school that's directly integrated into a thriving downtown.

psu is in between a commuter school and a traditional university, culture and "feel"-wise.

i've got both my undergrad and masters from michigan, and am now taking grad-level history classes at psu. the average age of students is a bit older, so you definitely will fit in. the instruction is on-par with michigan, from my casual and admittedly limited observation. seems many faculty are top-notch, and just want to live in portland, so they teach at psu. i've had profs with doctorates from the ivy's and cambridge, with quite the list of publications under their belt.

the grading is a bit easier than it was at michigan, although the work required is the same. the teaching is much more classroom focused, rather than research focused, as it is at a big university.

aside from psu, portland or tuscon?? no contest, i'd pick almost anywhere besides arizona, and i did pick portland over anywhere else in the usa, and i've lived all over.

good luck with your pick!
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Sutherlin OR
130 posts, read 214,340 times
Reputation: 38
COMMIEVILLE essentially, but i'm headed to elsewhere so IDGACrap! Have fun!!!!!
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:21 AM
 
65 posts, read 136,401 times
Reputation: 19
I would not take backdrifter's comments to seriously with the acceptation of a few sentences. I often have nights that do not end until 4 A.M. While the night life does not compare to NYC where bars close at 4, Chicago,SF, etc... It's pretty damn good for a city of it's size. Tons of bars, minor league baseball stadium in city, Portland Blazers, great live music, and great artistic community.

I have heard jobs are incredibly difficult to come by. backdrifter does seem spot on about this.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:10 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
1,657 posts, read 4,130,179 times
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Cammy7115:

Portland is reputed to be very Liberal. Very high Democratic Party voter turnout within city of Portland. Entire Metro area is strong Democratic Party loyalist voters.

Portland is reputed to have way more guys in your age bracket than women. They all claim (in another thread on this board) ain't enough women to go around.

Portland has many different neighborhoods. Google: Moving to Portland.
A couple of web sites will introduce to Portland's neighborhood breakdown. Be aware these are hosted by Real estate ladies, so the tone is somewhat Rah-Rah cheerleader, but you should expect that from real estate ladies. But good reads none the less.

Portland has good drinkable cheap wines, (not inexpensive great wines!) Fantastic local beers and ales, Excellent, extremely excellent, veggies and salad makings greens. Organic foods with a quality you won't see on the East Coast. 12 verities of apples, even apples with golden or maybe pinkish red flesh inside, which you may not have seen, much less tasted, back East. Oh, Left-coast Asian markets are going to be a shock to you and your taste buds.

Portland has one of the best Mass Transit systems in North America.
TriMet: Public Transportation for the Portland, Oregon, Metro Area

Portland has food carts. Old RV Trailers, modified for serving food out a window, parked in 'pods' on private parking lots. Think of a shopping mall food court, but outdoors, and no seating. Many pods around town. Al-fresco eating at its finest. The really great thing is the international diversity of the food carts culture in Portland. Food Carts Portland

OK, Tuscon, show us what ya got! Bring it on!
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:20 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
2,317 posts, read 7,204,806 times
Reputation: 1727
Quote:
Originally Posted by LincolnLove View Post
I would not take backdrifter's comments to seriously with the acceptation of a few sentences. I often have nights that do not end until 4 A.M. While the night life does not compare to NYC where bars close at 4, Chicago,SF, etc... It's pretty damn good for a city of it's size. Tons of bars, minor league baseball stadium in city, Portland Blazers, great live music, and great artistic community.

I have heard jobs are incredibly difficult to come by. backdrifter does seem spot on about this.
It depends on what you're into. I was speaking from my experience and interests. The question was if the city shuts down early, and, by and large, things die down pretty early. There are some good clubs, there are some great bars, events like Last Thursday, and a plethora of awesome shows, and often these things go late into the nights (usually on weekends). But still, it's not really a 24 hour kind of city, by any means.

And with regards to PSU, you can make a good education for yourself there if you are self-motivated. That sort of applies to any institution of higher learning--your education is what you make of it. Intrinsically, PSU isn't a great school. It's a decent school though, definitely. I didn't intend to make it sound like a terrible school with nothing going for it. Being located in the enchanting city of Portland is a major plus in and of itself for the school. And select departments there are standouts, even on a national level.

Portland is pretty leftist socially and fiscally, liberal in a live and let live sense, environmentally focused in many ways, urban in the downtown area, beautiful, green, drizzly, temperate, and a great place to live if you can support yourself in our economy. If that sounds good to you, cammy7115, you may have a met your match of a town.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:22 AM
 
333 posts, read 747,282 times
Reputation: 262
Cammy, take the long view. Do you know what area you are likely to study? Compare both schools and try and gets stats on how the programs are regarded and the outcomes for students in those majors. Where you get your degree from matters not only from a status point of view but also simply what stepping stone it leads you to next after that. I did not think about these issues that seriously when I made my decision about where to go to for undergrad, but it turned out that it mattered quite a lot in the long run. Night life, climate, that's all very nice....but remember this choice is about the long game.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:34 AM
 
157 posts, read 493,962 times
Reputation: 101
backdrifter's got it right. PSU is not like a college-town school, it's a town-with-college school. Most of your classmates are going to go to school then go home or work. There's not much campus life, at least what college is typically pictured to be.

If you're doing your 400 level classes in your late-20's, you're still going to be a lot younger than average compared to your classmates, some of which are taking the same class at 500 graduate level.

The five main PSU buildings look as if you took a building from the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's and lined them up. From what I can remember, Shattuck feels like it will fall apart in an earthquake or stiff breeze, Smith Memorial has a nice lounge for studying but it can get loud if a band is playing downstairs or outside. Neuberger has monster steps that will make your calves burn after one flight. Neuberger also has these mezzanine levels where the professor's offices are. If you are claustrophobic, do anything you can to talk with teachers after class. The halls barely fit two people across and are dark. Cramer has wooden seats that will kill your back if you sit too long. Lincoln is the theater hall which is dark and has too-comfortable seats. No-Doz, caffeinated drinks, or smelling salts are required to stay awake. The library is nice for studying but sitting by the large windows makes it seem gloomier and colder than it really is.

Dating and relationships has been a recent topic on these boards. I have lived in Portland almost 40 years and have many friends and connections in that time period. I also did half my undergrad at PSU before transferring. So far, I've never met one couple that actually met and dated while attending PSU, but I am a ridiculously small sample size. The point is, is that both dating and entertainment are going to be what you make of it. The city has a lot to offer, but PSU is not going to provide any help.
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