Vol State App Goes Live

By: Preston Neal, Staff Writer

 

Version 1.0 of Volunteer State Community College´s mobile application is officially live, and ready for download on any smartphone.

The new version of the app, MyVolState, in its current state offers features such as read-only access to eLearn and course announcements via push notifications, allowing students on-the-go access to class updates such as assignments and grades.

The app also features campus maps, a calendar for school events, and social media links.

The app can be downloaded from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Students can also expect more additions to be made to the app.

“As we start moving towards version 2.0 of the app we´ll start adding actual, not just read-only access to d2l, but the ability to interact with forums via the app on your phone or tablet,¨ said Kevin Blankenship, Chief Information Officer.

The app will later allow students mobile access to event sign-ups and interactions with advisors. ¨We´re really looking to add features to make this a more robust and much more student-centric app,” said Blankenship.

 

Editorial: The art of a successful argument

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

 

We have all had that experience online, when someone decides they want to argue over a topic that we are well prepared for in comparison.  Sometimes the arguments can turn into nightmares, other times the arguments are over within minutes.  It just depends on the subject, and possibly more importantly, the person.  

Some arguments are, as some would say, a waste of breath.  One side refuses to lose or compromise while the other side is just tired of trying to argue.  The best advice I can give for these is to simply let the argument die.

It can be hard to leave an argument for both sides, but sometimes it hits a point that you just want to stop.  It is also perfectly okay to stop, even if you do not want to feel defeated.  Defeat happens to everyone, just look at Ash Ketchum from Pokémon, he’s always being defeated in some way.

A prime example of a waste-of-breath argument is any argument over a moral issue.  Anyone who has taken English Composition 1020 has probably heard the professor list a number of topics, such as abortion or assisted suicide, that they refuse to take papers on.

The reason for this is because morals vary from person-to-person and are not easily changed through an argument.  Typically, a person’s moral argument is based on their own opinions more so than facts.  There is no right or wrong answer in the end because the argument is already based on individual views.

If you ever find yourself stuck in an argument that you are not prepared for, you can always back out.  There is no shame in accepting that you were not right in an argument, and it makes you look better than struggling to respond.

If the issue is more from a lack of knowledge, then use Google.  Seriously, I have never understood why people say “you just Googled that,” when you respond with information or a link.  If you Google it, at least you are making an attempt to learn and understand the subject you are arguing about.

To think that everyone has prior knowledge to a subject is ridiculous.  There is no way of knowing absolutely everything in the world.  Our minds are not able to do that yet.  So do not feel bad if you have to Google something in the middle of an argument so that you avoid making a fool of yourself.

There are some fights that you simply do not have time for.  Yes, you have done your research and you have learned all that you can about the subject, but that does not mean that you have to spend hours arguing with a person.

In instances like that, I find it easier to hang on to a few links in the note section of my phone so that I can just post them.  If the topic means that much to the person, then they will read them.  In the likelihood that it does not, you have completely avoided a terrible argument.

Social media has sparked numerous arguments and debates in the past few years.  It is best to be ready for one on a topic that you are passionate about, especially if you are a vocal person on Facebook.

 

Language Center to bring back workshops

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

 

The Language Center and the Thigpen Library will be working in conjunction this semester to bring back MLA/APA workshops at Volunteer State Community College.

An MLA/APA workshop is a place where students can get information about how to set up documents using those specific format methods.

Through explanation and practice, students will be able to take away some of the stress that comes along with research papers.

“Obviously, these formats take longer than one hour to learn, but the workshops are quick, and they will cover general things students need to learn, so that at the very least when they are writing their papers, they don’t have to lose sight of their content and focus of their paper,” said Suzanne Previte, an English instructor and the Language Center Director.

Previte said she believes the biggest motivation to come to these workshops is to take away the anxieties students feel when faced with the specifics of the format.

“They get so caught up in the subtleties and the specifics about the format that they often waste time focusing on the format and take time away from the focus of their paper, which is vitally important,” said Previte.

Previte has been a part of the Vol State faculty for six years and the MLA/APA workshops through the Thigpen Library began last semester.

“I’ve been talking about doing the workshop for years. But with a workshop, you need space and you need people who can do them.

“Working in conjunction with the library, we have both of those things,” said Previte.

The MLA/APA workshops will be done in the Library Instruction Center located on the second floor of the Thigpen Library.

There, students will find the resources on hand to implement the format practices as they are being presented by the instructors.

“I have been conducting workshops since I’ve worked at Monmouth University in 1997.

Workshops are vital.

“Doing them does actually add to my ideas about learning and instruction, but that’s not at all new.

“It’s something that I have been doing for ten years at different institutions. We did workshops when I was in Auburn University and Columbus State University,” said Previte.

If universities did not have a workshop to begin with, Previte said that she would definitely be the one encouraging them.

“Another thing that’s very important about the workshops is that they’re quick and they don’t take that much from the student.

“Students can go to a workshop and even if they pick up very little, it is still more than they had when they walked in the room, added Previte.

The success of the student is the main priority of the workshops and the instructors in the Thigpen Library.

“Students from past workshops expressed appreciation for what they learned and that it helped them successfully complete research assignments.

“On a personal level, this type of feedback makes me feel so grateful to be in a position where I can help students feel more confident using citation styles as it is a challenging part of the research process for everyone,” said Sarah Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources.

“Students should expect to leave the class feeling more comfortable with their ability to incorporate APA or MLA style into their papers.

“Too, students will understand why different styles are required by their professors and that there is a meaningful purpose to citing sources,” said Smith.

Previte also says that she would like to see more workshops being offered at Vol State and would like students to recognize the importance of workshops as a whole.

“As we do more of them, they will be as common, if you will, as the Language Center or the library. It just takes time to establish that.

“We are going to do it every semester and it’s just beginning now, but it’s looking very promising, said Previte.

Previte will be instructing the MLA workshops and Smith will be instructing the APA workshops.

Laura Sheets, the Library Instruction Coordinator, will be overseeing the workshops as well.

“Citations are stressful because they are important but I see many students making them harder than necessary. In these workshops, we’ll talk about the philosophy behind citation styles, which makes the process of creating the citations themselves much easier.

“We want students to know that coming to these workshops will help take the burden of citing sources off their plate, so they can focus on research and writing,” said Sheets.

The workshops will help students free up time to dedicate to the more important aspects of the writing process such as research, organization and drafting.

Sheets said she loves having this chance to work toward a common goal with her department and the faculty outside of the Thigpen Library.

“I view every interaction with students as an opportunity to become a better teacher. I learn just as much from students as they learn from me.

“They motivate me to be a better teacher, inspire me to try new things in the classroom and remind me of the joy of learning,” said Sheets.

The librarians and Language Center tutors are on campus every day to help make students’ life easier and utilize the tools that can help their college and professional career.

The MLA/APA instructors said they hope to increase student attendance to these workshops by the Fall 2016 semester.

Vol State students can register online for the February MLA/APA workshops at the Language Center web page: http://www.volstate.libcal.com

 

Welcome Back Bash a Success

By Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

 

Volunteer State Community College hosted the Welcome Back Bash on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Several clubs and organizations were there to promote and recruit new members.

The First Baptist College Ministry of Hendersonville, the College Republicans, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Hendersonville League of Women Voters were a few of the clubs and organizations that were present at the Welcome Back Bash.

The goal of this event was for each club or organization to promote what they stood for and to create student support. Twelve club tables were set up in total for the event.

“What we’ve noticed around college campus is that there is a lack of community and believers, so to help solve that problem this club wants to make people feel like they belong and feel that they have friends and other people on campus,” said Austin Capps of the First Baptist College Ministry.

The First Baptist College Ministry is a club geared toward college students ages 18-25, but there were other clubs and organizations that accepted all college students.

“My goal for the organization is to let it grow and create a support group for your adult learners and returning students. This organization is for people who have been out of school for a while,” said Brittany Villa of the Returning Students Organization.

“The Hendersonville League of Women voters did show and were successful at getting students registered to vote,” said Tabitha Sherrell, the Coordinator of Student Activities.

The Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives offered free street signs by Party Train Entertainment in the Carpeted Dining Room.

“Multiple times that I went to the Carpeted Dining Room, the street sign table had a line of people waiting to sign up, which was great!” said Sherrell.

Students had their names printed on a metal plate. There were about 150 signs made for students. This was a first come, first serve activity for anyone that signed up.

Students that are interested in more clubs should visit www.volstate.edu/StudentLife/Organization.php.

“If you missed the welcome Back Bash, I encourage you to stop by the Office of Student life and Diversity Initiatives to get information on clubs and organizations on campus as well as upcoming events,” said Sherrell.

Unity Day Postponed to March 31st

By: Shannon Feaganes, Staff Writer

 

Volunteer State Community College’s annual Unity Day has been moved to March 31 in the Caudill Hall Auditorium and will feature keynote speaker Fred Bailey.

Bailey is the founder of Children Are People, Inc, which provides after-school tutoring services to at-risk children in the community.

Bailey was informed of the schedule change and is still expected to speak at Unity Day. The Student Life and Diversity Initiatives is holding Unity Day in March to allow more time for advertising of the event, drawing a larger-than-hoped-for crowd, not only full of students on campus, but full of people from the surrounding community.

“With the snow days, we really didn’t have time to advertise in the community, and [Unity Day] is going to be a community event,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities.

Bailey is well known in the community, and Sherrell said she expected a good turnout of people.

Sherrell said she believed that Unity Day will have just as much impact in March as it would have during Black History month.

Due to multiple snow days Sherrell explained that professors felt it would be better to postpone Unity Day so that class time would not be taken up further.

“I think people were kind of distracted,” said Professor Sarah Payne, Professor of Social Science. Payne went on to describe that because of both Martin Luther King Day and the snow day last week, Monday-Wednesday classes have lost an entire week of school, which puts professors’ schedules behind.

“It definitely affected science classes,” said Mia Mason, a Pre-Health major at Volunteer State. “We lost three class days and a lab for my Chemistry class,” said Zachary Trouy, another Pre-Health major at Volunteer State. “We are actually 1/8 of a semester behind already.”

Sherrell’s hope is that because the event will be in March, faculty members can now work it into their schedules so that students in their classes can attend.

Sherrell said she believed that Unity Day goes beyond just Black History Month.

“It’s unity, as in unity and inclusion of all aspects of diversity. Whether it’s race, whether it’s your age, whether it’s disability, whether it’s anything – unity is about everybody coming together, and coming together as one,” Sherrell implored.

Even though Unity Day will not take place during Black History Month, Sherrell noted that Vol State will still hold events celebrating black history on campus.

SGA Elections to be Held Next Month

By: Sam Walker, Staff Writer

 

The Office of Student Life & Diversity Initiatives will be handing out election packets on Feb. 5 in the Wood Campus Center, Room 215, to anyone who is interested in being a student on the Student Government Cabinet.

These packets are to be turned in to Wood 215 by Friday, Feb., 26.

As in any government there will be many positions open for election such as: president, vice president, secretary of state, secretary of treasury, attorney general, parliamentarian, activities chair, and athletics chair.

Student Government is an easy and effective way to influence the day-to-day functions around campus.

SGA president serves as a liaison for the administration of Volunteer State Community College. Vice president is the right hand to the president and runs SGA meetings.

Secretary of state serves as the scribe of SGA meetings by taking attendance and moderating content.

The secretary of treasury manages the finances of the student government. Attorney general works as a peacekeeper in SGA meetings and also makes sure that all decisions are constitutional by the standards set by Vol State.

Formally known as ACE, the activities chair and the athletics chair have been absorbed by the SGA. The activities chair will organize all on-campus events, while the athletics chair will organize intramurals like the upcoming Video Game Night.

If one wishes to campaign for a certain position, the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives will supply $75 to fund a student’s cause across campus.

There will be a packet to qualify for the $75 that will be available next week in the Student Life and Diversities office in the Wood Campus Center.

As a member of the SGA there are many benefits to consider.

According to the Coordinator of Student Activities Tabitha Sherrell, the president, vice president, and activities chair will have their tuition paid for by holding their positions in the SGA.

A student will also receive a $250 check if they hold the position of any of the five senior positions: president, vice president, activities chair, secretary of state, or secretary of treasury.

It can promote both leadership and teamwork-affiliated skills.

While other students reap the benefits of various activities and functions, a member of the SGA will have the pride in knowing that it was their leadership that made it possible.

Jesse Versage, current SGA President, said, “I wanted to jump into an environment where I didn’t know anybody so I could socialize and meet new people.”

If a student would like to see a change in how things are run, it would be advisable that they try for SGA office.

Tabitha’s Tale

By Sam Walker, Staff Writer

 

Tabitha Sherrell is the Coordinator of Student Activities at Volunteer State Community College. She manages the clubs around campus and oversees the Student Government Association (SGA).

She also helps with the distribution of both student IDs and parking decals in the Office of Student Life & Diversity Initiatives.

Originally born in Michigan, Sherrell had her first job at Blimpy Subs.

“I hated it, but it paid for my trip to New York because I was an honor student in high school,” said Sherrell.

She then went on to Siena Heights University to earn her bachelors degree in English communications. While serving as a resident assistant at Sienna Heights, she met her husband who was also an RA.

To achieve her masters degree in education, Sherrell attended the University of Toledo in Ohio. She is currently studying at East Tennessee State University for her doctorate. Sherrell stated she chose her career because, “I wanted to work at college forever.”

Her first job in higher education was as an admissions recruiter during her time at Toledo University.

In 2012, Sherrell started her job at Volunteer State Community College. This was also the year in which she married.

Together they have a daughter who was born in Nov., 2014.

She said her favorite thing about her job was working with the students on a day-to-day basis.

“Anybody that comes in here always has something different that they want to talk or ask about and so it’s always fun to help students in anyway that I can,” said Sherrell.

Sherrell’s family is a large part of her motivation and she also gives credit to her faith as a practicing Christian.

“Regardless if students are believers or not I hope that when they come in contact with me they see me as a person they can talk to,” Sherrell said.

Sherrell hopes to instill these morals and practices in her daughter.

Lori Miller, Secretary of the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives Office, said, “Mrs. Sherrell was very instrumental in my education and getting my masters degree.”

Courtney Southern, student at Vol State, stated that “[Sherrell] is a really caring person, she even kept me from dropping out of school”.

So the next time a guiding hand is needed, look no further than Tabitha Sherrell.

Letter to the Editor – “Critical” Success

By Jeremy Stevens

 

This morning, I read a review of a hit Country Music song performed by an immensely popular artist. This critic wrote that the song made him want to “barf in [his] mouth.” I know, the artistic expression is strong with this one.

But, this one line that I originally saw on the song’s Wikipedia page made me think, although not just about what the critic said, but rather about what it means to be successful and what it means to be someone who criticizes success.

I know that in the game of the Internet, I’m losing because I’m reacting to critical Internet messages. So I must be mad. Bro. But, to paraphrase Dr. Phil McGraw, words are a powerful thing, and they mean something when we use them. Furthermore, it cheapens words when we exaggerate to this degree. Eventually “barf in [his] mouth” becomes “Eh, I could take it or leave it” in the mind of the writer as well as the reader.

Shouldn’t we question the taste of a critic who goes around barfing at a product that millions of people like?

Wouldn’t this be particularly true when music is something that the critic is supposed to know quite a bit about?

Within the scope of this article, let’s talk about success within the parameters of commercial success. Let’s quantify success and say that in today’s market, if a million people like what you’re doing enough to go out and buy it, you’re a wild success by commercial standards. Of earth’s 7 billion residents, 6,999,000,000 of those can hate your guts and say terrible things about you, but if the remaining million subscribe to your YouTube Channel, you’re quitting that job at Starbucks, waking up at noon every day and making prank videos all night. If you can sell a $5 newspaper, music album, or website subscription to that tiny fraction of people, it’s the same story.

This is the secret to the Kardashians’ success, just on a different scale. Do you think it bothers them that six billion people are put off by them? No, they probably secretly revel in it. They know that the remaining billion are willing to buy every, single thing they’re selling.

Obviously this particular “review” that I referred to employs a wild exaggeration meant to express displeasure. So was he really going to barf in his mouth as his words stated? Or was he simply trying to garner attention for himself and his website?

By my estimation, there is no difference between this statement and a twelve-year old going to Twitter and insulting Adele’s appearance.

Neither is a critique, it’s just simply the new critical normal that we are becoming accustomed to in the age of the Internet. But, it’s not just the insult and the lack of decency in an alleged “critique” like the one in question, what about the lack of journalism/professionalism going on while using words such as those?

I ask myself who I would rather be, the person winning awards and selling records/books (whatever), or the guy writing that it makes him want to barf in his mouth.

The answer is pretty clear; I’d rather produce than try to eek out a professional existence trying to climb up the backs of the producers of the world.

At the time of writing this, the song in question is number 3 on the Billboard Country Music charts, and has sold hundreds of thousands of downloads. Meanwhile, a quick Google search reveals that there are “13 people talking” about the critic’s associated Facebook page and website.

So, I guess Taylor was right after all when she sang that the “Haters Gonna Hate.” But don’t think that because people are critical, you can’t achieve success.

Even if almost all of the people are critical, there’s still a whole world of people out there to sell yourself and/or your product to.

Finally, remember to choose your words carefully, because they do mean something.

The Differences Between Middle College and Actual College

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

 

There will be 11 Middle College students graduating in the spring semester with an associate degree from Volunteer State Community College.

The Middle College High School is a preparatory curriculum for juniors and seniors in high school seeking to earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree, or up to two years of credit toward a bachelor degree.

The Sumner County schools involved in the middle college program are E.B. Wilson Virtual School, the Middle Technical College in Portland, the University Experience at Union University, and the Middle College High School at Vol State.

In the shift from high school to college courses, MCHS students are exposed to a new environment with an increased workload that will challenge their minds and benefit their academic credentials by the time they graduate.

“Some students do not understand the rigor they face in a college class as opposed to a high school class,” said Betsy Hunter, Principal of the Middle College.

“Some of that rigor comes from the fact that the class meets only two days a week and the student is responsible to spend time out of class working on the class material, as opposed to high school where the class meets five days a week with some outside work,” said Hunter.

Hunter said she believed that students who are regularly responsible with their schooling work hard and transition without a problem, and the students who are procrastinators often encounter issues adjusting to the program.

“Being a self-starter and responsible are important characteristics for success in the MCHS program, often more important than a high ACT score,” added Hunter.

To qualify for the MCHS program, Hunter explains that students must have a composite score of 19 on the ACT along with subtest minimums of 18 in English, 19 in math and 19 in reading.

Book and tuition fees are paid for by Sumner County Schools, who also provide free and reduced lunch to eligible students.

According to the Sumner County Schools web page, the program makes it a priority to serve low-income young people, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and non-traditional students.

Autumn Hemmelgarn is a student enrolled in the middle college program at Vol State. She said she is taking six courses on campus this semester and is no stranger to the change from a traditional high schooler.

“Well, the first thing I noticed was that there is no drama or social cliques whatsoever. You can come in and do what you have to do without those distractions,” said Hemmelgarn.

Hemmelgarn explained that the professors at Vol State care more for the students’ well being and go out of their way to assist when needed, unlike her previous school’s teachers.

“I decided to take six classes this semester because I am used to a heavy workload and also because I’ve taken many honors courses in high school. So I guess you could say I am comfortable with the transition,” added Hemmelgarn.

Hemmelgarn is applying to numerous colleges in California and said she hopes to get into Stanford University to pursue a degree in law.

The Middle College High School will continue to increase its enrollment and graduation rates while giving students the reward of a successful college career.

Life Forces You to Procrastinate

By Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

It’s February. Your speech teacher informs you that you have a group project due at the beginning of April, aka an eternity away, aka put it off for the last week.

In the meantime, you have the rest of the work to do in that class and your four other classes. Commitments you made months ago suddenly rear their ugly head.

By the way, your aunt just got diagnosed with breast cancer, your dog just died, and you just broke up with your girlfriend. By the way, be sure to eat right and exercise to maintain healthy weight but all you want to do is drown yourself in melted peanut butter and nacho cheese. By the way, you’ve gotta be sure to show up for your part time job and keep up with other schoolwork of course.

BY THE WAY. That GROUP PROJECT is due NEXT WEEK. So you and your group mates get together after class to talk about delegating what research to do. And your group mates, two people so unmotivated you’re certain they can halt the earth’s rotation with their collective negative force of backward movement, come up with – in a project that is supposed to denote the cultural differences between two diverse cultures – creating a Minecraft civilization showing as much.

Your features fall and you ask, doubtfully, “Well, how long would that take?” As if you’re actually entertaining this absolutely insane idea that you want no part of because A) the project must be delivered in PowerPoint format and B) what the hell is Minecraft, but you must be polite because dear God, what are you if not polite.

Your group mate looks at you pointedly with his hawkish features and shrugs, muttering, “Could take me a couple of months.” And you ask him to please repeat himself and he returns with, “It would take me a couple of months to do that.”

And suddenly the lights are flickering – but no, they aren’t, you are just blinking so quickly because your brain has frantically instructed your eyelids to try and make the rest of your body take flight and escape.

“But the project is due next Thursday,” you tell your group mate in a profound state of shock, and a little bit of awe.

And your group mate shrugs and goes back to looking at his phonesatisfied in the knowledge that he has helped the group in all ways in which he is capable and it is up to the rest of us to come up with something.

You nearly get whiplash with how quickly your head swivels on your neck as you meet your other group mate’s eye, desperate for a mirror that will reflect your thoughts on that idea. But your other group mate, who looks vaguely like a lion with his mane of red hair and red whiskers, widens his eyes at you and tells you, “That sounds like a good idea.”

And suddenly you find yourself trapped before the Lion as the Hawk circles overhead, and you are nothing more than a meerkat trying to find his hole to crawl into.

“We could all log onto a server,” the Hawk begins, brightening as his idea is suddenly taken up and you’re fractionally in the minority of those who oppose it.

“The project has to be on PowerPoint,” you reply firmly before the Lion and Hawk can pounce on you and drag your from your hole into some twisted Mexican-esque Minecraft civilization.

“We can take screencaps,” the Hawk squawks.

“Maybe if we had thought of this at the beginning of the semester,” you reason with him, because your other responsibilities are tapping you on the shoulder reminding you that you have no time to play computer games for your final project.

While an assignment that is due three months from now can seem like an eternity away, please never forget that life will happily help you fill that waiting period. Nibble at the problem.