Usefulness, a disease? (Part 2)

 

Read Part 1 HERE

By Blake Bouza

Over winter break, I had a full time job as an in-home healthcare provider.

It was in doing this job that the seeds of ideas that had been planted in that psychology class began to grow and I realized the overarching problem: society teaches us, almost from day one, that someone is only valuable when you are useful.

A common issue I found with the elderly and disabled people I provided care for was depression. When we talked it out and got to the root of the problem, I found, almost every time, that the problem was that they felt they could not be as useful in a way that they once were.

I watched a video in that same psychology class that had a psychologist going into a bed-bound, elderly lady’s home. The woman wanted to die and the psychologist wanted to find out why. When the psychologist spoke with the woman, she got down to the common denominator I stated above. Then the psychologist put forth this question: “Would picking up a broom and sweeping really be impactful?”

They shared a laugh at the absurdity of it.

The psychologist said that seniors have to learn that their contribution is no longer to give, but to receive. Receive help from those that love them and accept that their contribution is psychological rather than physical.

Obviously there are senior people that do not have the support system or help that particular woman did, but the principle remains.

I put forth that American society does not equip people to do that getting older and it does not equip younger generations to view an immaterial output in a positive light. Look at the amount of people in a nursing home, rather than at home with their families.

I am Latino, and a multi-generational home is not a foreign idea to me. Because of that it is perhaps biased of me to think that Spanish culture, (and many Eastern cultures), view their elderly in a much more positive light than American culture does.

Could it have to do with the fact that American culture is very individualistic, rather than community, and perhaps, character-driven?

The answer is not simple and there is not an easy solution. Perhaps if people placed less emphasis on things and output and instead the value of their relationships, would things change? But our society is geared toward buying The Latest Thing and upgrading to The Newest Thing and buying our loved ones The Best Thing to show them how much we love them.

It is a very accepted practice, and while not inherently bad, does require moderation and thoughtfulness.

I believe I have seen the issue from both sides: how young people view the act of instilling character values and ethics that go into staying home and raising a child, and the light that the elderly view themselves in when they are no longer viewed as “useful.”

 

Vol State hosts first art exhibit of 2018

 

By Katie Doll

Volunteer State Community College is hosting an art exhibit of graphic designer Lisa Lorek Quine until Feb. 19, in the SRB Humanities Building.

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Courtesy of Lisa Lorek Quine

The display includes lettering design featuring quotes and song lyrics designed to create a nostalgic aesthetic. The quotes come from a variety of sources such as Mark Twain and the musicians Geto Boys.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Quine will visit Vol State Feb. 19, from 11:30-12:30 to answer questions about her artwork.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Quine graduated from the University of Dayton with a BFA in Visual Communication Design.

Although she originally started her career in advertising, Quine turned a new leaf and began to focus on her passion in lettering, according to Quine’s description of her exhibit.

“Lettering has opened the door to a variety of visual styles and unique projects,” said Quine.

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Courtesy of Lisa Lorek Quine

Art nouveau, an international style of art taking influence from the natural world, is one of Quine’s inspirations for her style to create detailed illustrations.

A notebook is set out in the gallery for students and faculty to express their opinions of the artist’s display of hand-lettering and illustrations. One visitor acknowledged the use of the color and its impact on the quotes.

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Courtesy of Lisa Lorek Quine

“Love the use of gold,” wrote the visitor, who signed with the initials “HH”. “Very subtle, but brings a bit of youth and vibrancy to something that people believe to be lived out or not relevant.”

Quine was a student of Nathaniel Smyth, assistant professor of art at Vol State, about a decade ago. Smyth helped in bringing in Quine’s artwork to give students an opportunity to see art that they can possibly feel more of a connection too.

“We have a whole lot of students here that are interested in graphic design,” said Smyth. “I think this is good for them to be able to see like ‘Oh hey, look the design and the art, they can kind of mix.”

SGA hosts open house

By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College’s Student Government Association hosted an open house Wednesday, Jan. 24, outside the Wood Campus Center Club Room 213.

“SGA really wants to get their name out there on campus so that students know what SGA stands for and hopefully they want to get involved,” wrote Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of student activities.

SGA President Caitlyn Ellis acknowledged the tendency for students to shy away from joining organizations that are heavily-involved on campus.

We have learned that a lot of students say they are intimidated by the meetings because they are so formal. We wanted the open house to be very informal, but still informative about what SGA has to offer,” wrote Ellis.

Matt Gillette, SGA attorney general, and Hayley Brazel, SGA secretary, gave out free popcorn and soda while taking questions from prospective members passing by.

“SGA is an organization that helps with student involvement, and it looks really good on a college application,” said Brazel.

She admitted that this was her initial reason for joining SGA but explained that over time she found a passion for getting others involved on campus.

Ellis, like Brazel, believes that being involved in college can set students apart and present greater opportunities when applying to future schools and jobs.

“It has been a huge factor in my college success because I always have someone to turn to to ask questions or a shoulder to lean on when I’m having a bad day. SGA fosters amazing relationships. If I were thinking of joining, my deciding factors would be the friendships I could build and the experiences I would have to put on my resume,” wrote Ellis.

The next SGA meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5, at 12:45 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library.

Deadline to apply for graduation approaches

 

By Lauren Whitaker

The graduation application deadline for students completing their degrees at Volunteer State Community College this semester is Feb. 1, by 4:30 p.m.

Students must follow certain steps in order to apply for graduation.

Students must call their assigned advisor to schedule an appointment to apply for graduation.

A graduation packet can be found on the Vol State website or emailed to the student by their advisor, said Becky Adair, a completion advisor at Vol State.

Students who intend on graduating must meet with an advisor.

“An advisor’s signature is required on graduation applications,” Adair said.

Together, the advisor and student fill out Section A of the graduation plan, according to the Vol State website.

There is a Section B to the application the student’s advisor will fill out.

Advisors help coach students on which courses need to be completed before graduation.

“Overall, it was easy to apply for graduation. I simply met with an advisor and filled out the needed information,” said Gareth Laffely, a Vol State student graduating this semester.

Laffely found Vol State to be helpful in applying for graduation, and he was assigned an advisor he could easily schedule a time with.

“Vol State is very good about sending updates,” Laffely said.

A prospective graduation checklist is located on the Vol State website for to help potential graduates to begin the graduation process.

Before a graduation application is filled out, it is important to make sure a student’s required courses will be fulfilled in the current semester. Advisors can help potential graduates confirm the graduation checklist.

In order to graduate, students must apply for graduation by the graduation deadline. Applications received after the final deadline will be filed for the following term, according to the Vol State website.

Vol State’s new debate team will compete at Murray State

 

By Tayla Courage

An informational meeting was held Thursday, Jan. 18, for students interested in joining Volunteer State Community College’s Speech and Debate Team.

Vol State has had successful speech and debate teams in the past, but this will be the first organized intercollegiate team in quite some time, according to Dr. Karen Hill Johnson, a communication faculty member and director of speech and debate.

“We travel to other colleges across the United States in the fall and in the spring, and we compete in both IE events and parliamentary style debating,” said Johnson.

IE, which stands for individual events, is typically more performance-based; whereas parliamentary style debating, or partnered events, often involve limited preparation or extemporaneous speaking.

The number of events a student is interested in will determine the number of hours a student will need to devote to practicing.

Experience is not necessary to participate with the team, but students who have past experience with programs like DECA, FBLA and FFA or activities like theater are highly encouraged to get involved.

Michael Ketzner, a sophomore at Vol State, acknowledged the fear that many people associate with public speaking but urges anyone who is interested to consider joining the team.

Although the experience may be scary at first, communication skills will improve drastically students will get to be a part of an amazing community, said Ketzner.

Vol State is currently offering a three-hour course for students interested in competing collegiately.

Joey Matherley, a freshman at Vol State, expressed his excitement to have the opportunity to work with Johnson again.

“I took Dr. Johnson’s class in the fall and I loved it. So when she recommended this, I couldn’t say no,” said Matherley.

The speech and debate team’s first tournament is scheduled for Feb. 2-3 at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

Study shows economic impact Vol State has on graduates

 

By Ashley Perham

Graduates from Volunteer State Community College’s class of 2016 could potentially earn $470,000 more than workers with only a high school diploma, according to a recent study.

As a whole, the 991 students from the 2016 graduating class have an earning potential of $465.8 million more than workers with only a high school diploma in their working lifetime, according to the study.

This study, “An Analysis of the College’s Economic and Social Impact,” was conducted for Vol State by Knoxville educational consultant Fred H. Martin, according to Vol State’s website.

The study also discussed the social impacts getting a degree from Vol State could have on graduates’ lives, including a greater likelihood of attending a four-year college, improved health habits, increased civic involvement, reduced poverty rates, and increased home ownership levels.

While similar studies have been done about Vol State, this study was the first to look into how a college education could impact a specific graduating class, said Eric Melcher, coordinator of public relations and marketing at Vol State. Continue reading

Snow and ice can delay or close campuses

 

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Photo by Vol State PR

By Presley Green

Snow and ice can delay classes or close campuses of Volunteer State Community College.

A delay means that classes meeting before the time given in the delay will not be held, according to the Vol State student handbook. Labs may still be held during a delay. The instructor will notify the class through the eLearn system.

If a campus is closed, no labs or classes will meet. The closing of public high schools does not affect the closing of Vol State, according to the handbook.

Closures and delays will vary from campus to campus. Alerts will be posted on Vol State’s website and social media. Students can also be alerted through email or Vol State Text Alerts. Continue reading

CAB to host “Wanna Make S’more Friends?”

 

By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College’s Campus Activities Board will be hosting a social café event in the Mary Nichols Dining Room A Jan. 23 at 12:45 p.m.

The event titled “Wanna Make S’more Friends?” will be open to any students interested in becoming more involved in student life on campus.

“The idea is to spark a conversation about this event and if they would like to see more events of its kind,” according to an email from Crystal Sloss, chairperson of the Campus Activities Board. Continue reading

Usefulness, a disease? Part 1

 

By Blake Bouza

Hi there, my name is Blake Bouza and I’m the Settler’s editor-in-chief this semester. I look forward to overseeing the paper working with our writers to deliver to you, the reader, the best content we can put out there.

I was sitting in a lifespan psychology class last semester when the question was posed to the male students: would you be comfortable letting your wife go to work while you stayed home with the kids?

The overwhelming majority of guys said no. Save for me.

The professor called on me and I made the argument that we live in a time where a woman is no more capable of providing childcare than a man is, and a man is no more capable of going out and working to provide for a family.

It does not impact my self worth, I said, to not be working and providing the bread. Raising children and impacting the next generation is just as noble a cause.

Though I grew up in a very traditional home where my father went to work and my mother raised the children, this could not have seemed more obvious to me, but I got labeled a “progressive.”

When she asked other guys their thoughts on it, they said that “staying home and taking care of the kids is not enough.”

After just making the argument that raising children is a noble cause that either gender can do, this flabbergasted me.

One guy said that he was extremely unqualified for the job of child rearing.

“I’d probably forget the kid in the other room,” he said.

A couple of the girls in the classroom said they would not be comfortable letting their husbands stay home “and sit around” while they were making money and providing.

Is this how both genders view the act of being a homemaker? I thought to myself.

Now obviously my thoughts that stem from this came from the situation where one spouse stays home while the other goes and works, and not both working, so my ideas on this take place within the bounds of the scenario presented.

I had the sneaking suspicion that men would not want to raise children because it may be an overtly feminine act, but I thought there was a lot more to it than that.

The answer came to me later that night: the only difference between going out and making money, and child rearing, which are both very necessary things to do in the 21st Century, is material difference.

See, the act of going out and working and providing money is a very material thing. It is “useful.” It has output. In a farming style of the act, you can literally see the fruits of your labor. Bills get paid. New clothes are bought. Loans are paid off.

Yet the act of child rearing is a very immaterial practice, one whose fruits may reveal itself in tiny ways when your child spells a difficult word correctly, or handles a situation in a manner you taught her to handle it.

Unfortunately, there is no way to measure the quiet, warm satisfaction of seeing a child raised the way you taught them to be raised.

This important act, viewed as “just staying home and sitting around,” is instead a very real, full-time, lifetime job. Someone coming home from work gets to clock out; a parent does not.

That does it for this week, but please come back next week as we explore society’s definition of usefulness with Part 2!

In the meantime, please email us at bbouza@volstate.edu. Make sure you put “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line!

 

 

Back to school tips for students

 

By Jerushah Blackburn

After the holidays wind down, Volunteer State Community College students hoist heavy backpacks and head back to classes. However, the fog of marshmallows and hot chocolate may make it difficult for students to get back into the groove of college life.

Many students get into erratic sleep patterns over school breaks. According to the University Health Center, a division at the University of Georgia, most college students get six to almost seven hours of sleep. To be well rested, adults need 6-10 hours of sleep. The recommended amount of sleep is eight hours.

Lack of sleep can cause poor health, unhealthy weight loss or gain, increased stress, anxiety, depression, and a drop in academic performance. For these reasons, college students should develop consistent sleep patterns. These patterns include going to bed every night at a consistent time, even on weekends. Good sleep helps with the processing and retaining of information.

For new Vol State students, familiarizing themselves with their new environment, instructors, and schedules is important.

“They should also get familiar with the campus and the tremendous amount of resources available to them,” said Rebecca Adair, completion advisor of business and technology.

For returning students, a good thing to do to improve is to identify what did, and didn’t, work last semester, and think of ways to correct it.

The biggest struggle for both new and returning students can be time management, especially for students who work, either full- or part-time. Students can use a weekly schedule, writing down dates for work and school assignments.

Another method to keep in mind is “time blocking.” It is important to make breathing room within one’s schedule, in case of the unexpected, according to Livy Simpson, librarian at Thigpen Library.

Another essential part of academic success is studying. Vol State offers a large array of resources to its students. Thigpen Library offers quiet space for students to study, either alone or in groups. They also offer research guides, sorted by subject, and a website available 24/7 with chat rooms for academic help. Tutoring and the Language Center are also accessible. It is important that students do not wait until the last minute for help, according to Simpson.