8 things every VSCC student should know

Picture taken in the new SRB Building Second Floor

By Melissa Farmer

Picture taken in the new SRB Building Second Floor

Picture taken in the new SRB Building Second Floor

1.The Grill has delicious food! Not only will they make you a burger to order, they have options already set out so you can grab something quick and go. The Grill is located in the Wood building across from the Student Life and Diversity Office.

2.If you are reading this, then you have discovered that Vol State has a student newspaper! The Settler is a great way for student to develop their writing skills, and participate in a fun club/class. The Settler is located in room 212 in the new Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities building.

3.Its okay to take naps at school, I know it isn’t every ones style and some would rather power through long days amped up on caffeine, but there are plenty of places to sleep, benches, the library, the café, or even the floor. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

4.Vol State has a basketball team, baseball team and a softball team! Show your Pioneer pride and attend one of these games before the seasons end!

5.The Vol State bookstore has more than just books! The bookstore, located in the Wood building, has yearly planners, backpacks, notebooks, phone chargers, snacks, and even an E.L.F makeup stand (ladies, you know what I’m talking about. ELF stands for eyes, lips and face).

6.The parking situation gets better after the first month, just be patient and get here early for a good spot! Don’t forget to get your parking decals for the 2016 school year!

7.If you can’t get online to entertain yourself, due to the wi-fi, you can grab a copy of The Settler! There is a newsstand in every building.

8.This list already mentioned the Grill, but everyone needs to know that the Grill has coffee. And lots of it. There are a few different types of brews, and cream and sugar are provided!

Be Involved in your Community

By Hope McKinney
Welcome back Vol State students, faculty, and staff. We here at your Settler newspaper hope you had a great summer. We at The Settler would like to be the first to welcome you to our campus whether you are a first time, or returning student.
The staff at The Settler have gathered before the first day of regular classes to ensure you are up to date on all the recent events and changes that have happened while some of you were taking summer classes, and some of you were vacationing and enjoying some time away.
Upon returning to campus you may notice a few things that have changed about the campus. The new humanities building is finished and ready for the 2016-2017 school year. The building not only includes The new home of The Settler, but includes a number of faculty offices and classrooms.
With a large amount of windows covering the entire building, you get a full view of Gallatin all the way to Station Camp. Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building is completely up to date with the newest technology including projectors, computers and furniture.
With the amazing privilege of using the new building, there comes responsibility. It is imperative that we take great care of the carpets, chairs and floors all over the building to ensure it is just as beautiful for the coming upcoming Vol State students as it is for this year’s students.
Keep a special look out around the newsroom to get a special look at the freshest news circulating.
Have a great school year and make sure you follow us online.We hope to become more interactive with you this semester on social media and on our online website.
I know college can be very stressful for many students and even staff, but a few words of wisdom I can provide for you are to always attend your classes, not attending can result in consequences, furthering your frustration with school itself, so just make sure you always attend and are active in the classroom. IF you find yourself with extra time outside of the classroom it is always wise to add some clubs and organizations to your college application, especially if you are planning on attending a four year university.
Some involvement with Student Government, NSLS, or The Settler can be the difference between a college acceptance letter and a rejection. Involvement in your community college or university will not only add to your own success as you further your education, it will enhance your people skills as you network yourself through the campus and meet new, and important people.
Networking makes a huge difference in your college experience as well. My family has always told me that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I have found that to be extremely true in my college experience and through out life in general since I started here at Vol State last year.
Any event that is being hosted at Vol State that you are able to attend, I encourage you to go and get your name out thee to people. There ate so many people, students,a nd staff, here at Vol State that can get you started in life, just by making a simple connection with them.
If you find yourself wanting to network through news media please contact me at rmckinney7@volstate.edu. The Settler is a great opportunity to do so!
Have a great returning, or first year here on campus and remember to commit to graduation. Each day you are getting closer to your diploma, don’t let anything stand in your way!
You can do it!

Congratulations, spring graduates

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

I feel grateful in my last two weeks at Vol State. To my fellow graduates, I just want to congratulate each of you. If your Vol State career has been anything like mine, you’ve maneuvered around and overcome things you never thought you would encounter.
To my Savior, Jesus Christ, I thank for being with me since my beginning and guiding me in all things, to whom I’d be nothing without.
My parents and family for their support and love always and through all things.
To those students who have suffered personal loss from the death of a father to the death of a beloved pet, thank you.
To those who have struggled with their living situation, thank you.
To those who have a full day of class starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 3:45 p.m. and still go to work that night, and do it all again the next day, thank you.
To those who have stuck with it the 2 ½ years or however long it has taken you, thanks.
To everyone who is moving on to a university or jumping right into their career, best of luck!
To the smiling ladies in the bookstore to the helpful librarian with the TARDIS on her desk, to every professor who gave us a second chance – thank you.
To my peers in the newsroom, I’ll miss our time together meeting deadlines and sharing in the woes of assignments. To Clay Scott, our faculty advisor, thank you for building us up and making the paper bleed red when it needed to.
All of you have impacted society and me, and shown that we can do this, that it is possible. Amidst life and chaos we can achieve something as fantastic and privileged as an education.
After all, we have a laminated piece of paper to show for it.

Editorial: Wishing the graduates good luck

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

As another semester closes at Volunteer State Community College, we will be saying farewell to the graduating class of 2016.

Many of us find ourselves on the verge of a new challenge, whether it is going into the workforce or beginning at a university.

Some will remain here on campus for another semester, at least, while their friends begin a new journey. It is important to remember the people you have met and grown with on this campus.

We would like to thank all of the instructors who have worked hard to help us in our education. Those who have inspired students or even pushed them to do great things deserve our gratitude.

It is also important to remember the others who have helped your during this school year. Those such as the cafeteria staff or the bookstore staff who help us when we need help.

The library staff has helped students immensely over the course of this year, whether it was with studying, research or even creating an environment for both.

I could go on about the many people who work hard for the students of this campus, from Student Life and Diversity Initiatives to Student Services and Advising. The campus has a community that has worked to help its students throughout the year.

The people on this campus deserve to be remembered as you travel on in life, from friends to staff and faculty.

So, to those of you who are moving on after this spring semester, I wish the best of luck to you all.

All of us will continue to work hard and achieve our dreams and hopes for something better, be it a college diploma, our dream job or stability.

Handicap access at Vol State

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

If you are not a handicapped student or do not have a family member or friend that is, you probably would not think twice as to whether a college campus has enough handicapped access.

If you park in parking lot N, adjacent to Caudill Hall and the Wood Campus Center at Volunteer State Community College, you might notice that there is no ramp in that parking lot whatsoever. In fact, there aren’t many ramps at Vol State in general.

Imagine that you are the assistant of someone bound to a wheelchair, and you park in that area. There is literally no way to get into Caudill or Wood from that parking lot because there is no ramp. You would have to walk all the way around to the front entrance.

And even if you had the foresight to try to park in the handicapped spots at the front entrance where a ramp is, you have to hope that they are not already taken by other handicapped students, due to a seemingly constant shortage of handicapped parking, and even just parking in general.

I heard that the parking area behind Thigpen Library is to be converted into a green space, so I contacted Will Newman, Senior Director of Plant Operations for Vol State.

“The Tennessee Board of Regents elected to turn the parking area north of the library into a green space to support a pedestrian friendly ‘walking campus,’” said Newman.

Newman assured me that the handicapped spots will be relocated to the north of the Pickel Field House, but my concern is that handicapped students or handicapped guests will have to walk even farther to enter the library from that side – and actually, so will other, able-bodied students.

A “walking campus” might be fine for an able-bodied student, but for students or guests who have trouble with mobility, getting around is very difficult. Being able to complete daily activities such as walking can quickly become a privilege that is out of reach for some of the physically disabled.

I have been told that Vol State is supposed to be making preparations to improve handicapped access in the future, but not in the way that I had hoped.

“As campus grows we plan to add more automatic doors as well as possibly a front ramp access for Ramer,” said Newman.

“Also, as the Master Planning Project takes shape, Plant Operations intends on ensuring accessible sidewalks and parking is addressed.”

“Our office typically gets about two or three accessibility complaints or concerns each year,” said Star Boe, Accommodation and Adaptive Technology Specialist at Vol State.

“We work to address the concern and remediate the issues. Additionally, the Disability Services staff works to proactively identify and address accessibility issues on campus.”

My question is, how would more automated doors and a ramp to the Ramer building remedy the issue with Thigpen parking? What does it do for students who need to park in parking lot N? Or near the library?

At this point, only time will tell if Vol State will become more handicapped-accessible.

Editorial: How distractions affect your life

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Everyone has faced a distraction, most likely several distractions, throughout his or her life. Whether it is as simple as a pleasant looking object or a troubling thought in the back of your mind, distractions are everywhere.

They can make college difficult as well.

Distractions cost us our ability to put 100 percent into everything we work on. When writing papers, we have a lingering want to check social media or watch YouTube videos of cats. When we try to study, the subtle “buzz!” of our cell phones is enough to ruin our focus.

Distractions are literally everywhere, often finding a way to pry us from our focus and ruin our ability to perform the task at hand.

Even now, I am struggling to write this editorial because of my buzzing phone and the sounds of television from the next room.

This leads us to wonder how we can possibly avoid a foe as formidable as the dreaded distraction. Something that seems so innocent at first, but has the destructive power to ruin our thought process entirely.

The key to fighting distractions is as simple as it is complicated. You fight a distraction by refusing to be distracted.

When you are writing that paper, remind yourself that the rest of the internet will be there later, but that deadline will hit fast. If you are studying for a huge test, remember that you can (and should) silence your phone so that it is not tempting you.

If you lack self-restraint, as I sometimes do, have a space away from your worst distractions. Leave the phone in another room, download an app to lock your computer down—save for that word document—and remind yourself to focus on the task at hand.

Sometimes our own minds work against us. We find ourselves stuck on some troubling or exciting thought in the back of our minds that keep us from giving full attention to our work.

We naturally wander from the tasks we need to finish, especially when we are bored or uninterested. However, once you focus and finish what you are doing, you will find that your stress is significantly lessened.

Do whatever works for you, whether it is simply ignoring your phone, finding a quiet place to work or even pushing yourself through to get finished.

Once you are able to finish your homework, projects, papers, and other assignments without the constant hassle of going between one thing and another, you will find that not only will your grades improve, but so will your overall attitude.

The next time you need to finish something, put the phone down and ignore social media because your future is a lot more important that texting or Twitter.

Editorial: Always remember to try your best

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Many of us have had a class that has caused more stress than every other class combined. The class could be a subject we are not good at, a subject that is totally new or even one that sounded considerably easier than it really is.

It has happened or will happen at least once, and there may come a time when you study for 12 hours and still do not manage to do well in it.

Everyone becomes discouraged in one way or another. We start to lose hope and it begins to reflect in our efforts and determination. It does happen.

It leaves one to wonder exactly what can be done to improve and where to start.

First and foremost, ask for help. Most of the faculty is willing to help you, especially if you are putting forth the effort to pass.

It cannot do harm to simply ask for help, whether it is extra credit, studying or even a simple “can you condense this for me?” The faculty is willing to help you learn.

The school also offers a variety of helpful resources. There is the Language Center, Learning Commons, Library, as well as online sources. If all else fails, YouTube and Ted Talks have videos that explain some topics very well.

Unless you have totally ignored a class for the entire semester, which is a big no-no, you should be able to find a way to pass. If you do not pass and you tried your best, then do not beat yourself up.

It is important to remember that we are all human, and that as humans we are imperfect. In being imperfect, we cannot do everything well.

However, we can always do our best and give everything we do our best shot. As long as you put your all into something and refuse to give up, then you have not entirely failed. Failure only occurs when we stop trying.

We all have potential to be great in different ways and we should strive to do so. Every person can do something to change the world for at least one other person, even if that person is his or herself.

So, the next time you are stressing over a class when you are trying your best, take a deep breath and remember that you have not failed entirely until you give up. Then, talk to your instructor, seek help and do everything you can to pass.

Vol State remembers tornado event

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(Pictured, top: One of the buildings after the destruction of the tornado.  Pictured, second: The trees torn apart by the tornado as Caudill Hall rests in the background.  Photos courtesy of Jennifer Easton and Holly Brown.)

By: The Editorial Staff

“I was finishing up a physics test when the storm hit.

“I printed the thing out and I was listening to the radio and they issued the tornado warning…there were a couple of guys weed eating in the courtyard and I went into the courtyard and told them about the warning and that they needed to find a building.

“A student of mine was walking down the library towards Warf so I told him he needed to get in the building.”

“There were only a dozen or so people in the building.”

“We looked out at one point and it was dead calm… so we opened the doors up one more time and the wind was just starting to pick up and within 45 seconds it was over.

“When it started hitting it sounded like a cross between a rush of wind and a train.”

“We were trying to hold the fire doors shut and it was like riding a bronco bull… we were pulling with all of our weight and it was still jerking us around.”

“Then we heard the metal latch break—it was a big pop—and we got under some tables and as soon as the door blew open the ceiling panels came crashing down.

“Then it was over, maybe 30 seconds or so.”

“When it stopped, I went outside, I’m not really sure why I went outside, maybe I was thinking about the two guys who were weed eating or whatever, and I saw what happened to Caudill and Ramer and I turned and saw the tornado heading down toward Gallatin.”

– Dr. Timothy Farris, Associate Professor of Physics

 

“First off, I was in my office watching the weather on the television and saw the weather reports that the tornado had just touched down in the Rivergate area.”

“Mr. Danny Gibbs was in my office watching all of this. We got on the phone with our building monitors and our vice presidents and told them to be prepared.”

“We watched a couple more minutes and as soon as they came across the television and said Sumner County is under a tornado warning we told all of our building monitors and went over the PA system.

“Everyone got to shelter.  Personally, Miss Gibson and I went to the vault in the business office.

“Dr. Charles Lea, Beth Cooksey- all of us were huddled in that vault. We were probably not in there more than a couple of minutes when we heard the wind and everything start picking up.

“The vault door actually broke up, so we manhandled the vault door back closed and it wasn’t but a minute later that I guess it hit.

“Other than ear popping and things like that I really didn’t feel or hear that much.

“It probably was louder than what I remember because when we opened the vault door there was just utter destruction in the business office.

“Miss Cooksey’s wall had disappeared, debris everywhere, rubble and all of that. We looked out and one of the plate glass windows was completely shattered.

“So I told everyone else to stay in the vault because I did not know where we were with other storms or whatever.

“So I headed out that shattered window towards the campus center and saw all of the devastation and saw the Caudill building.

“My first thoughts were for people’s safety. We talked to building monitors and found out everyone was safe. So then I started making the rounds.

“I did not [feel the building rumble]. I was sitting on the floor of the vault and the vault must be so well protected.

“Power had immediately gone off, so power to our little television that we had in the vault had gone off, so we had no way of knowing [what was happening].

“That’s one of the things we’re going to have to—when we do a critique of this later, and we will—we have to look at how procedures could be bettered. We had no weather radio.

– Dr. Warren Nichols, Former President at Volunteer State

Editorial: Its okay to not finish something

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

“It’s Okay to not finish reading a book, or anything else.”

This is something serious readers need to realize – if a book is not floating your boat by the 25 percent mark, give it up.

Like I did with The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Nothing against the writing style – the story just did not draw me in. It takes place in what I understand to be an alternate, fantasy reality – which I did not gather to be necessary.

I probably would have given it up before even the quarter-way mark if not for Lu’s words about making her main character a female Darth Vader pushing me forward. There was, unfortunately, just not enough meat here to keep me satisfied with the story.

So, I’ve moved on to an impulse buy, Stephen King’s “The Shining,” and so far I have been immediately drawn in by the stream-of-consciousness style of story telling and the fully-realized characters – and I am only 50 pages in. I am about a quarter of the way through Moby Dick and I’ve started Writing Down the Bones.

Life is too short to spend time reading things that just do not hold our interest. Which can, of course, be applied to other aspects of life. If something is causing you distress or you are not getting what you need from a friend, class, relationship, or novel – cleave yourself from it.

I am not saying be self-centered and to only look for ways you can benefit from something you are involved with. We all have our obligations and our responsibilities and oftentimes there are things we would rather be doing than standing around at work or sitting in a monotonous classroom or sitting at a relative’s graduation.

No, all I am saying is that when it comes to your personal life and what makes you happy – if something is on your own time, be it hobby, interest, friendship – cleave yourself from it if it brings you down. Life is just too full of other opportunities to bring you happiness.

Now do not use this as an excuse to not challenge yourself, not read that classic, or complete that class and to just give up. Instead of festering in your own unhappiness and pitying yourself, often the best remedy is to put yourself among other human being and having an open mind. Have curiosity about life.

Epiphanies strike us at the oddest times, don’t you think? I can be at work and chewing on a personal problem and in the middle of a sentence with someone else, and realization will wash over me like a waterfall. Most of the time, it is because I see myself or what I am going through reflected in someone or something else.

You are more likely to come to one of these epiphanies when you are among natural creation – humans, nature and the air – as opposed to your dark bedroom.

Go see that one well-dressed woman who sits in a restaurant by herself. Go watch yourself connect with a complete stranger in a myriad of strange, amazing ways. Anything from observing someone using a paper towel to open the public restroom door, catching it with your foot, and toss the now-soiled piece of paper into the wastebasket behind them – exactly as you do, to sharing woes about the weather and discovering you are from the same state, to seeing someone reading a book you absolutely loved last year.

You find yourself in other people just as much as you do with many hours of introspection. When you see that none of us are as different as we like to think we are, we make connections in our own minds and with each other. Life was not meant to be lived in solitude – God saw as much when he created Eve for Adam.

Again, I say cleave yourself from what makes you unhappy – it will do well not just for yourself, but also for everyone.

“Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” Review

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(Pictured: Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman, in promotional art for the new film.  Photo courtesy of The Telegraph.)

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

In a way, it feels like “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a teaser film for more to come. The substance of the film was duller than it was gripping, but it manages to keep our attention, nonetheless.

As someone who was never deep into the comics, seeing the film was a bittersweet experience indeed.

Henry Cavill returns as Clark Kent/Superman with a truly heroic flair. Cavill is excellent and impressive as the red-caped crusader.

Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne was not too boring. We can give him credit for a solid performance. We can only hope that Affleck’s Batman settles well into his character for the next Justice League films to come.

The introduction of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was definitely a moment to cheer for. Her presence in the next Justice League films will be an overdue performance.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther was rather child-like and confusing. Is it just me or would an actor of Bryan Cranston’s capacity have been better for the role?

As decent as the performances were, that alone does not make the film. To say that BVS was a cinematic masterpiece would be a far reach. Director Zack Snyder takes on the film with a more Batman centric theme and tries to deliver a solid Superman intertwined story.

As the world questions whether or not a god-hero should operate with such unchecked power, Batman and Superman brawl in the streets of Gotham and Metropolis.

Terrorism, paranoia and torture are woven into more standard superhero tenets. This is a battle between God and man, and the film also has plenty of moments worthy of a classic Greek tragedy.

Ideas are plentiful and often repeated, as are dream sequences and Snyder’s patented wide-angle slow-motion set pieces. And really, do we need another ‘young Bruce Wayne watches his parents get shot’ sequence?

BVS is filled to the brim with comic book references and it begs the question, “Did Zack Snyder make this film for everyone?” It is easy to understand how these films would reconnect to the comics, but it does leave a good chunk of its audience confused.

If you are a comic fan, give this film a go and you will probably enjoy the heck out of it, even just for the references, but if you are not all up to your knowledge, as I am, then give it a go with a clear head.

There is a bunch to wrap your head around, and it turns out to be more ‘Dawn of Justice’ than ‘Batman vs Superman.’