by Lillian Lynch
Fall Break is coming up for the students of Volunteer State Community College Oct. 10 and 11, giving them a five-day weekend. A vacation can be taken in this time, but where to go is the question.
One attraction is the local amusement park Dollywood in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There are more than 40 rides and attractions here alone according to dollywood.com.
They include the Lightning Rod, which is the world’s fastest wooden coaster, the Smoky Mountain River Rampage, where a group sits in a circle and rushes down rapids, the Barnstormer, a roller coaster based on 1920’s stunt pilots, the Wild Eagle, the world’s first winged coaster, the Dizzy Disk, where passengers sit facing outward for a ride that glides back and forth while simultaneously spinning in circles, kids’ rides, and much more.
There is currently a fall break promotion going on and three-day tickets are $33 a day, compared to one-day tickets at $65 for adults, $52 for children and $60 for seniors. The park is a little less than a three and a half hour drive away.
A less-known local attraction is the Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater, Tennessee. Visitors explore caves with a guided tour in a round trip of three-fourths of a mile.
At the bottom of the cave, 140 ft. under the surface according to thelostsea.com, is America’s largest underground lake. Here visitors board a glass-bottom boat and take a trip around the body of water.
Tickets are $19.95 per adult and $10.95 per child but children under 4 are free.
Another attraction in Gatlinburg is the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The aquarium is made of two levels, the upper level and the lower level.
The upper level has four different sections. They are the Tropical Rainforest, the Ocean Realm, Shark Lagoon and Touch a Ray Bay.
The Tropical Rainforest features piranhas and poisonous dart frogs. The Ocean Realm features the spotted garden eel and flounder.
Shark Lagoon, as its name suggests, features the sand-tiger shark and the nurse shark. Touch a Ray Bay is a shallow lagoon where guests can reach out and touch rays as they glide by, according to ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg. Educators stand by for safety and to answer questions.
The Coral Reef features clownfish, butterflyfish and regal blue tang. The Discovery Center features pufferfish and horseshoe crabs.
The Gallery of the seas focuses on octopi, cuttlefish, and jellyfish. Stingray Bay consists of multiple species of stingrays.
The Penguin Playhouse includes tunnels that go through the penguins’ habitat where visitors can get nose-to-beak with the penguins.
There is also an opportunity to get an original art piece by a penguin. They are given paper and paint with their feet. It is $30 or $45 depending on the size.
Tickets to the Aquarium are $29.99 at the gate or $25.99 online per adult and $15.99 at the gate or $13.99 online per child.
Ripley’s is just a three and a half hour drive away.
A five-day weekend can go a long way.
by Hope McKinney
The stress of midterms can really get to college students. These top 10 tips to get through midterms might be just what you need.
10.) RELAX. Take some time to yourself. Go for a walk, or drive around for a while and clear your head. Sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods at a time can give you a headache and make it that much harder to finish the task at hand. Some me time is always okay.
9.) Do not get behind. Take the time to space out some you time, but do not take it too far. Sometimes taking it too far can end in a failing grade. It is very easy to get behind when you are overwhelmed and you just want to do everything but school work. You have to push through and stay focused.
8.) Talk to your professors. I cannot push this enough. Keeping an open line of connection with your professors can be the difference between knowing what you need to work on and being completely oblivious to things going on with your grades. Professors are there to help you and especially if you have an online class it is important to at least email them and make sure you are on the right track.
7.) Ask a family member for help. If you have at least one family member that is willing to help do not hesitate to ask them. Especially parents and grandparents may have some great insight from when they were in college and how they got through midterms and other big homework assignments, projects and test.
6.) Organize your notes. Keep your notes well organized and easily accessible. This will reduce stress exponentially if you know where everything is and you can flip back to a page where you left off.
5.) Use the silent study rooms on the campus. You can go into these rooms and you will not have any distractions from the task at hand. You can turn off your phone and other devices and just be consumed in your work. Sounds fun right? It actually works, especially if you have a noisy house.
4.) Study smarter, not harder. When you study smarter you plan out what you need to study and outline your notes. This helps you gather your thoughts on paper so you can see them. This reduces my stress because I have everything together and I know what I need to be studying.
3.) Go to class. Especially as Editor-in-Chief of The Settler I get behind easily. With someone constantly needing my attention or texting me about not being able to do things or how something is going I have virtually no time to just sit and listen, except when I go to class. Going to class reduces stress because when you are sitting there your full focus has to be on the discussion or the lecture.
2.) Set your work load to the side. Many students work and go to school at the same time and this can lead to more stress than most people can imagine. If it is possible at all let someone take a shift of yours. This gives you extra time without work stress being on top of school stress to get things done.
1.) Be a great test taker. If you can compose some sort of mock test and take it without distraction you get a lot of practice. This is my favorite destressing tool for those of you who aren’t the best test takers. This helps me reduce stress when it is actually time to get down to business.
by Lillian Lynch
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, the Volunteer State Community College Campus Activity Board held a Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl.
On Sept. 28 the ceiling of the Mary Nichols Dining Room had decorations hanging from it in preparation for the Bowl. It started at 12:45 p.m. with the host of the Bowl, Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Associate Professor of Spanish, introducing herself and asking for four contestants to volunteer.
The Quiz Bowl was made up of six rounds, the last one being the final round. Each round had four contestants, aside from the final one that had the winners of each previous round competing against each other.
The very first question of the bowl asked who the first female Hispanic astronaut was. The answer, Ellen Ochoa, was on the same screen as the question and the contestants had to be turned away from the screen so that they would not cheat.
The rest of the round consisted of questions of dance, the Day of the Dead and Hispanic culture.
The questions were on geography, the dance of the Salsa and holidays such as Cinco de Mayo and the Running of the Bulls.
The third round consisted of four more contestants lined in the same chairs faced away from the screen. Some of their questions asked how most people travel in Spain (on foot), what the Volkswagen Beetle was and is still used for in Mexico (taxis) and where El Rastro, a large flea market, is located (Madrid). Other questions had to do with geography, punctuation, and famous Latinos.
For round four another group of four contestants volunteered. Just three questions in, before Vandiver-Lawrence could utter the words “Hips Don’t Lie,” each contestant’s hand was up. The answer was Shakira.
There was another question of dance, this time Tango, and other questions asked about flag colors and when Mexican Independence Day was (Sept. 16, 1810).
The fifth round began with a question on the Spanish language. Other questions were asked about culture, where the term Hispanic came from (the United States Census Bureau created it for the census), national flowers and how many Spanish-speaking countries there are today (20).
In the final round each winner of the five previous rounds took a seat to compete for the grand prize: a Vol State pull-string bag and a Vol State hoodie.
Their questions were cultural for the most part.
They were asked about the Festival Internacional de Poesia (the International Poetry Festival held in Medellin, Puerto Rico), whether or not Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens (they are) and what the first Latin production was to hit broadway (“West Side Story”).
The overall winner of the Bowl was student Brittany Jackson.
“I didn’t even prepare for this, I just new that my class was coming to it,” said Jackson.
Even without preparing, it is possible to win a Quiz Bowl.
by Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College is planning to have spoken word artist Carlos Andres Gomez as a guest speaker this week.
Gomez will be speaking at the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A in the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 12:45-1:45 p.m., after a student, faculty and staff open mic event that will last from 12:15-12:45 p.m. as part of the first Campus Activities Board (CAB) Coffee House of the fall semester.
Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that the Campus Activity Board (CAB) will be looking for faculty, staff and students who are interested in reading poetry or singing a song at the first Coffee House of this semester, and also that they will offer free coffee to students, faculty and staff in this event.
Sherrell also said that Gomez will be looking for a stand-out faculty, staff, or student performance during this event, and the winner of the showcase will win a copy of Gomez’s book called Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.
According to the website, gomezlive.com, Gomez is an award-winning poet, actor, speaker and writer from New York City, and some of his accomplishments that he made in his career was winning the 2016 Best Diversity Award by Campus Activities Magazines, the 2015 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, the 2015 Makeda Bilqis Literary Award and even Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outsiders Writers Awards.
This website also acknowledges him for going viral online in May of 2016 with his poem called “What does Hispanic look like,” that reached over a million views in less than a month, and for co-starring with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen in “Inside Man” directed by Spike Lee, and for appearing in the sixth season of HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” and in the third season of TV One’s “Verses and Poems.”
Gomez has been featured on a wide range of media outlets and platforms like NPR, TEDx, the New York Times, and even most recently as a performer in a special event at the White House, according to gomezlive.com.
This website also said that Gomez has also headlined festivals all over the world including the U.K, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Indonesia, and as Guest of Honor at the Berlin International Literature Festival in Germany, and also has lectured and performed at more than 400 colleges and universities, and even has delivered many keynotes and commencement addresses.
“I saw him perform at the APCA conference and he did an outstanding job with his performance there, and he was also really personable,” said Sherrell. “I think he is willing to give away a copy of his book to anyone who wins the showcase at the Coffee House this week.”
“I think that any chance that students would have to see a poet like Carlos Andres Gomez has the potential to be very inspiring,” said Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English.
by Kailyn Fournier
As many have noticed over the past few weeks, the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building has some artwork scattered all throughout the building. All of the artwork has been done by present or past students. Some of the work dates back as far as 1987.
The bulletin board in the hallway on the second floor is decorated with artwork from the various art classes. The most recent art ranges from observation drawings to oil paintings.
Two of these older works are drawings and can be found in display cases in the same hallway as the bulletin board.
These display cases also hold sculptures as well. There is also an entire section of one of the display cases dedicated to a masking tape shoe project for a 3D design class.
One of these shoes is on the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building, where there is an art gallery with various projects student have created using various types of media. It was Susan Dewey’s first assignment for the class.
It is a Dickies brand work boot made only from masking tape and paint. Her instructor, Nathaniel Smyth, gave the assignment on the first day of school and took approximately three weeks to complete. It paid off, because at the end of the project when it was compared to the original shoe, some could barely tell the project from the real thing.
The work boot may seem an odd choice to some, especially considering the type of shoe they modeled their masking tape after was each student’s choice; however, because it was on odd choice was part of the reason Dewey decided to do it.
“I picked a work boot because I thought no one else would pick it,” said Dewey, but that wasn’t the only reason.
Dewey says the shoe is particularly tied to the outdoors, and since she likes the outdoors she said, “I kind of thought it reflected my personality.”
Dewey also has some other pieces up in the still unnamed gallery. One depicts a gumball machine, the other shows a bird in its nest.
Both pieces were projects from her printmaking class last semester.
The Gumball machine is an example of a relief print, and the bird an example of a mono print.
She also has some ceramic mugs up on display in the gallery that she made using a slab technique.
The other pieces in the gallery are in a variety of mediums. One of the displays is a series of photographs of a worn baseball.
The previously mentioned art instructor, Nathaniel Smyth, said that these were done by John Ausbrooks for a photography class.
Another piece that Smyth pointed out was that of an octopus done by a now graduated student, Rio McKaskle, for an old 3D design class.
Aside from those, there were various prints, drawings, carvings, ceramics and paintings up on the walls or in display cases.
However, doors were being added to the entrance of the gallery, and “the construction might cause them to take everything down for a while,” said Smyth.
Sure enough, the gallery was closed off on Thursday as the preparations are being done for the construction.
“It will probably take a week or two,” said Abby Felber, who was the one taking down the artwork so it wouldn’t get damaged in the process.
Based on the equipment left in the gallery, Felber says she thinks the doors will be made of glass and be able to slide open or closed.
The artwork should be put back up when the construction is complete.
By Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College hosted an open-mic reading to celebrate Banned Books Week at the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Amphitheater on Sept. 27.
The open-mic reading lasted from 12:45-2:15 p.m. and was hosted by the Thigpen Library and Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD), and light refreshments and snacks were provided by the Office of Student Life and Diversity.
Many students, faculty and staff were offered to participate in this event by reading through a paragraph from books that have been banned in schools like “Maus,” “Catch-22,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” in this open-mic reading.
This open-mic reading on Banned Books Week started off with Gaynell Payne, President of Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD), who read excerpts from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English, who read through the opening passage of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”
Laura McClister, Instructor of English, read through excerpts from Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and April Young, Associate Professor of English, read through the first two sections of Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead.”
Also during this open-mic reading, Sarah Crotzer, Instructor of English, read through passages from L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” freshman Kaitlyn Lee read through excerpts from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and Cindy Chanin, Associate Professor of English, read through excerpts from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”
And also during this open-mic reading, freshman Jasmine Washington read through passages of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games,” and sophomore Rhonda Williams-Meneese read from excerpts of Walter Dean Meyers’ “Fallen Angels.”
And finally Kelly Ormsby, Assistant Professor of English, read through passages from Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle,” and sophomore Maggie Colvin read from excerpts of Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” to close this open-mic reading celebrating Banned Books Week.
“I think that the open-mic reading on Banned Books Week was a huge success for us with over 70 people attending this event including students, faculty and staff,” said Sarah Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources. “And I was really happy to see both the students and faculty to read their chosen titles at this open-mic reading.”
“I was definitely pleased to see so many students come out to listen in this open-mic event on Banned Books Week, and I am also glad to see them participate as readers in this event,” said LaChance.
“I think that the open-mic reading on Banned Books Week was a great opportunity for students, faculty and staff to promote awareness for them to celebrate free speech and also celebrate the power of the written word,” said Young.
“I believe that the First Amendment is something that we all take for granted, and I also believe that events like the open-mic event on Banned Books Week helps raise awareness that we have to protect on free speech and also on the freedom to publish books,” said LaChance.
by Hope McKinney
This is something I struggle with constantly. With most students attending Volunteer State Community College at very little to no expense they can grow accustom to staying out of debt.
I know when I started looking to further my education at a four-year university I was amazed at how much money I would be putting into just tuition.
At Vol State they have an incredible program by the name of Tennessee Transfer Pathway.
This ensures students who are transferring to in state public, and most private universities that their credit hours earned at Vol State will transfer “seamlessly”.
The program has 50 different majors to choose from, and helps you pick the best university for you. This pathway will qualify you as a junior at the school of your choice which to me is a great deal.
You get to attend your first two years at Vol State with little to no expense, and transfer to a four-year university right on time.
For Vol State students who wish to transfer to an in state school such as the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, or Austin Peay this program makes it more than worth it to take on a small student loan.
With many students and parents taking on debt from freshmen year until graduation, this is so helpful.
Keep in mind that if you want to transfer to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville the pathway does not insure admission.
You still have to be accepted and due to the very competitive program you must meet the grading and ACT requirements.
If you find yourself ready to transfer, but you haven’t yet completed your Associates degree, you may qualify for the Tennessee Reverse Transfer Pathway.
This makes it possible for you to transfer with only 25% of your degree completed. You obviously will not transfer as a Junior, but you will transfer at the level you have completed which is still a great deal.
When you are searching for the University that is right for you after Vol State you should always look at the requirements and make sure your grades are staying on track to help you be able to achieve your goal.
Your advisor is there to help you make these hard decisions in furthering your education. They know which plan is going to help you the most and what would be best for your personal nancial situation.
Vol State also looks great on any college application. While Vol State may be a community college it has incredible credentials as an institution of learning.
Just recently U.S. Representative Dianne Black donated 1 million dollars to build and design the new Steinhauer- Rogan-Black Humanities building.
With the new building and the ever expanding student body we are able to educate so many students.
In-state Universities look for Vol State students because the programs here are competitive and I think all in all if you are using the pathway it is definitely worth the two years of debt to go and get your Bachelor’s degree.
However, if you aren’t using the pathway and aren’t planning to further your education after Vol State you can potentially graduate with your associates degree with little to no debt.I think any degree is great, but a free one is even better. Vol State is very willing to help any of its students achieve their goals.
Be sure to take advantage of all the scholarships Vol State has to offer and do not forget about the pathways that could help you further your education.
Choose your school wisely and always do what is best for you
by Lillian Lynch
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, Volunteer State Community College has put together a few activities.
One of them is the Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl, which will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 12:45 p.m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A.
Anyone can compete in the Bowl for the chance to win prizes and everyone is encouraged to try.
“We have Vol State t-shirts and a hoodie to give away as prizes,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities.
The questions themselves are designed to help one learn more about Hispanic culture.
“All questions in some way tie back to Spanish language, Hispanic culture, pop culture, geography, famous Latinos, world events, etc.,” said Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, the host of the event.
“That sounds fun. I actually really like learning about other cultures, especially Hispanic culture,” said student Alexis Long.
“At the very least it is an entertaining and informative event.
This year many Spanish students will attend and participate. I’m excited to see how much they know about Hispanic topics,” said Vandiver- Lawrence.
Anyone and everyone is invited to learn and participate in this event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
by Rachel Yates
Statics show that each year 34,598 people die by suicide. The rate of suicides on campus alone are between .5 and 7.5 per 100,000 students.
One in ten colleges have made a plan for suicides if they happen on campus. Studies by Emory University don’t just stop with these numbers, they continue to show that an average of 94 people complete suicides every day.
But why do students fall into such a dark hole that they think they cannot get out of? The American Institute of Stress said that in a mental health study in 2008 college students say they have sometimes or frequently experienced stress in their daily lives over the past three months.
This is an increase of 20% from a survey they did ve years ago “Stress is a well-known contributor to mood, mental disorders, and suicide risk,” said Charles E. Kubly Foundation.
Stress is something the average person faces constantly and throughout the college years stress can become much more pronounced in ones life.
With exams, term papers, quizzes, and homework all due at the same time on the same day, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
Healthy ways to release stress are going for a walk, talking to friends, writing, lighting scented candles, reading, petting animals, or even just curling up and reading a good book, according to www.helpguide.org .
Depression is another symptom of suicide. 44% of American college students report of having symptoms of depression. 75% of college students do not reach out for help when facing with depression.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among college students. Younger people diagnosed with depression are five times more likely to attempt suicide than adults.
Helpful tools when facing depression are simply talking to someone, fighting through the hard times, and thinking more positive thoughts. These steps may seem difficult but depression is a mental illness that anyone can get over if one just seeks for help.
Bullying is also a major cause of suicide. By being hateful and abusive to one another, either verbally or physically, can end up taking effect on people.
“Students who report any involvement with bullying behavior are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than youth who do not report any involvement with bullying behavior,” said The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools.
Thinking about harming oneself or others, feeling hopeless, rage or uncontrolled anger towards oneself or others, feeling trapped, increasing alcohol or drug use, and acting reckless or engaging in risky activities are just a few examples of signs students may face when leaning towards suicide actions. In 2014, the highest suicide rate was 19.3 among people 85 years or older. The second highest rate was 19.2 people between the ages of 45-64. Young adults between 15-24 years old suicide rate was 11.6.
The numbers continue to increase every single day.
Suicide is such a leading death in America that during Sept. 5-11 Americans hold a National Suicide Prevention Week. This week is filled with encouraging post on social media about how it gets better.
Although many cannot see the end of a dark tunnel, encouragement may be all one needs to steer away from suicide. The American Association of Suicidology encourages friends to talk to one another when someone is feeling down. So if one is having suicidal thoughts, reach out, people on campus, professors, and friends will be willing to help anyone through tough times.
by Cole Miller
On September 14, 2016, Romeo Marquez, Jr. came to speak at Volunteer State Community College. Marquez is a motivational speaker who has appeared on Ted Talks and graduated from UCLA.
He began his speech by introducing himself, and by making the audience play a game similar to “rock, paper, scissors” called “bear, sh, mosquito,” with the person sitting next to them.
I personally found the game amusing and made the awkwardness of being next to somebody you may not know somewhat disappear.
After the warm-up game was nished, we were handed a sheet of paper and a pen, but did not receive instructions on what to do with these items yet.
Marquez had us do another warm-
up activity in which we were told to think of what we could better about ourselves if we did 5% more every day.
Marquez shared a bit from his personal life. He played football in high school, but always wanted to be a speaker, or something similar to such, but was afraid of what his peers would say if he took theatre classes or tried out for his high school plays.
After he graduating and starting community college, he took theatre classes and auditioned for the play they were performing. For his audition, he did a back ip on stage and read his lines.
After Marquez shared information about his past, he had us write a “Be, Do, Have list”. In this list, you write down things you want to be, things you want to do, and things you want to have, and set them as a goal.
After everyone wrote down our lists, he shared a story he read about
comedian Jim Carrey, and how when he rst moved to Los Angeles, he would shout from a cliff, “I will become an actor,” and eventually, Carrey did just that.
Marquez then gave out a free download code for his book and cd. The codes are “VOLSTATEBOOK” and “VOLSTATECD”, respectively.
To get these free downloads, simply text the code or codes to 44-
“Romeo was very inspiring. This
speaker helped me realize I need to wake up and start focusing on my life more.” said Wesam Saleh, a student at Vol State.
I have to agree with Wesam, Romeo was very helpful in the words that he shared, and I hope he comes back to our campus again very soon. Please make sure you take advantage of these free download codes that we were so generously given.