First Year Experience pushed back to fall semester

By Harley Keene


First Year Experience banner

The First Year Experience two-part classes were set to roll out this semester as a trial for freshmen students. However, after only 10 students total across all the Volunteer State Community College campuses signed up, the courses were postponed until the fall.

The classes this semester were supposed to be a trial, before officially requiring the courses for certain majors in the fall. This semester the classes would have been shortened, and taken place over one semester, rather than two. Several professors were trained and ready to teach the courses this semester, including Len Assante, who said he found out he would not be teaching the courses this Spring “just a couple days before we started the semester,” said Assante.

However, these same professors will still get a chance to teach the courses in the fall when they will become a requirement for 13 majors that are struggling with excelling after graduation. These majors will serve as a trial as well, and if there is improvement, the classes will become required for all freshmen.

The First Year Experience courses are designed to help college students excel not only in the transition from high school to college, but also their career fields afterward. The courses include things like, “teaching students skill articulation, written communication, verbal communication, having cultural competencies, and how to build a resume,” said Krista Mazza Carter, associate professor of psychology and director of the FYEX.

These courses are designed to help students avoid being underemployed after obtaining a college degree. They will help build skill sets that future employers will look for, as well as help students find future employers through advanced job searches and prepare for interviews with a mock-interview portion of the course. The overall goal of these classes is to increase success levels during and after college by helping to provide students with the resources and tools they need to achieve their goals.

Vol State’s snow days policy explained

By Harley Keene 

Most students hope for snow days during the Winter months, but college snow days are different than those of public-school snow days. To start with, college snow days are fairly rare, and have nothing to do with public schools closing or delays.

If Volunteer State Community College closes for a snow day, that decision is made by President Faulkner, and only applies to the Gallatin campus. When making a decision to close campus or delay classes, President Faulkner “Wakes up early in the morning usually around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m.,” states Coordinator of Public Relations and Marketing, Eric Melcher. After getting confirmation from President Faulkner to close campus or delay classes, the Public Relations office works to release the information as quickly as possible so that all students are able to see the announcement.

Once a decision is made, students who are signed up for text updates from the school will get a message. Students can also check the school website at, and an announcement will be posted on the home page, as well as the main Facebook page Local news stations will also report of any closings or delays, but should not be solely relied on, as they may only have an approximation of things like class times.

The biggest snow day difference students that are used to public school snow days should be aware of are class responsibilities. Students coming from a public-school system are used to snow days being a “free day,” but in college, there is still work to do, even if the campus is closed. Students should be aware of their professor’s syllabi snow day policies, as well as check their accounts to see what work their professors have assigned in the event of a delay or closure.

In honor of the 9 victims of the Calabasas crash

By Luis Quintanilla 

On a small scale, most people will go about their lives and battle their own battles in the confines of their own world, much of their struggle not readily apparent to an outside viewer. Very rarely will a tragedy transcend that bubble and reverberate through a culture and its people. On January 26, 2020 the world received a stunning blow with the death of Kobe Bryant, someone revered as a legend, icon, and hero by many.

The world seemingly stopped for a day. One could not go on any media without seeing the tragic news of the death of nine people in a helicopter crash. Sadly, alongside Kobe was his daughter, her teammates along with their parents, the pilot, and other coaches. Accidents happen everyday in every part of the globe, and people, humans we will most likely never know, tragically lose their lives in these accidents. Perhaps you have experienced this close to home once so you understand the devastating blow this can have an a person, or maybe you have been fortunate enough to have been blind to it.

With a death like Kobe, it is difficult to swallow and accept. Many grew up watching him do what he did and loved best.  Even for those who didn’t follow basketball closely, the purple and yellow jersey stamped with the number 24 and 8 were sure to remind one of the name Kobe Bryant. His name could be mentioned in almost any conversation in today’s culture and people would know exactly know the name no matter his or her interest.

This reach, this ability to be renowned is what perhaps made his death much more tragic. We tend to not think of accidents like this at the front door, often presuming we will make it to tomorrow, but in the case of Kobe we were reminded that no one is an exception to life and its unpredictability. A legend and icon was here one day and gone the next.

Celebrity deaths always shock the news for a couple days and subside after a while, but in the case of Kobe the sheer unpredictable nature of the accident stunned everyone who admired him. This should serve as a reminder to keep in mind the unpredictability of life, and to hold on to our worlds and the people in it a little closer in the face of that. To be grateful for everyday you wake up or make it home safely, something we truly take for granted.

One did not have to be a basketball fan to admire Kobe. He was by no means a perfect being worth worshipping on one’s knees, but nonetheless can serve as an inspiration to us all in whatever it is we choose to do. His drive to be the best in what he did can inspire us to never stop pushing until we achieve our goals and whatever dreams we may hold. To become the best at what we do.

Jimmy Kimmel, in a monologue dedicated to Kobe after his passing, said basketball was far from the most important thing on this planet. For Kobe to become so renowned from simply picking up a round brown ball and throwing it into some hoops showcases how significant his impact on today’s culture was. Perhaps his legacy goes beyond that finding its roots in his character and his dedication to his family.

This editorial is not entirely relevant to Vol State’s affairs, but I felt was nonetheless important to mention after the tragedy of the Calabasas helicopter crash. It is important to note that Kobe was not the only one who lost his life that day. His daughter Gianna, her teammate Alyssa Altobeli and her parents John and Keri Altobeli,coach Christina Mauser, Sarah and her daughter Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan all tragically were lost in the crash as well. Their families must now grapple with the fact that their loved ones were alive in the morning, and did not make it home for dinner.

In the same monologue by Kimmel , he stated, “ I know this might not make sense but he was just the last person you could ever imagine something like this happening to.” To this day it is hard to believe how quickly he was here one day and gone the next. Again, these accidents happen everyday both to people whose names we will never personally know and sometimes to those close to home. Kobe’s death does not exalt him or make him more important, but his renown in our culture made his death especially shocking and hard to accept. It is a reminder that all of us, no matter our wealth, fame, or legacy, are ultimately subject to the unpredictability of life. Again, this should slap us awake into holding the world and the people important to us a little bit tighter everyday we get the chance to wake up, because many people did not get to see today, and no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Spring Campus Kick Off starts semester

By Madison West


Students and representatives engaging at a few of the booths offered at Spring Campus Kick Off

The Spring Campus Kick Off on Wednesday, Jan. 29, was an event organized by Tabitha Sherrell designed to allow students to engage with all that Volunteer State has to offer. The event hosted over twenty different booths including booths from several student led clubs and organizations such as CAB, a student led organization that organizes events designed to boost student engagement on campus, such as setting up events like “Movies on the Lawn.” Booths from Academic Support and Learning, the library, as well as Distributed Education, formerly known as Disability Services, were also be available with more information for students to better understand just what options they have on campus as well as many other organizations intended to benefit students at Volunteer State .

The League of  Women’s voters also had a booth set up to try and engage young voters and encourage registration, and even offered the ability to register to vote directly from their table.

This was the 8th year that Volunteer State has run the Spring Campus Kick Off, though it may have been known under a different name in years past. The Kick Off brings in around 200 students and has steadily increased in attendance since it’s start in 2012.

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Christina Arellano signing in


Jesse Baker explaining what CAB is to a student


Jesse Baker with CAB


Penny Starr and Judy Schuelke for the ALVA (Adult Learners & Veteran Affairs) booth


Students enjoying the free lunch provided by the Fair