Blake’s Book Bag: Winter Weather Reading

By Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

 

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review, where I sift what you should be reading from what you could be reading.

This week we are going to discuss good books to read for winter when you are stuck at home and can’t go anywhere because of the centimeters and centimeters of snow piled up around your house (we poor Southerners just don’t know any better).

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Now my first recommendation serves two purposes. 1) Alan Rickman, known for a fantastic performance as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, just passed away. 2) Harry Potter is the perfect thing to read for when you are going just a little stir crazy when cooped up in your house.

I chose “Goblet of Fire” because it is almost certain to hold your attention between everything going on in it. Between two Olympic-style wizarding events, a ball, Voldemort’s return, the Forbidden Curses, the mystery of who put Harry’s name in the goblet – there will definitely be something here to engross you and keep you reading for hours on end

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

If you want a cutesy-type comedy to occupy your attention and ensure your cheeks are not rosy just from the frigid wind, then give “Landline” a try.

This book is so delightfully quotable with the one-liners Rowell gives her characters. The book is basically about a screenwriter whose marriage is on the rocks with her husband and hurts it even further when she tells him she will have to work on Christmas rather than go to his parents’ house down south.

With an iciness that has nothing to do with the weather between them, he leaves with the kids while Georgie stays at her mother’s house. There she uses her mom’s landline to call him, but discovers that each call she makes is to her husband of years ago, while he was in college.

Time-travelling phone calling that doesn’t waste time trying to explain itself, interesting characters, a snowy Nebraska setting, and whip-snapping dialogue ensure you might just finish this before the snow melts.

 

61 Hours by Lee Child.

It was between this one and “And Then There Were None,” but I ultimately settled on this one because with Child’s writing you will feel just how cold the main character, Jack Reacher, is.

If you like a little bit of thrill and mystery to your late nights by the fire, look no further than “61 Hours.” Jack Reacher is on a tour bus with several senior citizens when it breaks down near South Dakota.

On the kindness of a stranger, he ends up staying at the house of a star witness in a case against the corruption of the town. But witness is in danger because a hitman for the mafia is coming to town.

Told over the course of (you guessed it) 61 hours, Child’s writing shows he knows how to do what he does when it comes to showing off a kick-butt character and overwhelming odds – all against the backdrop of the frozen South Dakota landscape.

Getting back on track after inclement weather

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

 

Our spring semester at Volunteer State Community College has gotten off to a snowy start.

However, we must not let this distract us from our studies.

We were all prepared to start back and cannot let these snow days slow down that momentum.

According to usnews.com, “when students come back to school, some teachers may find that students are less focused after an extended, unexpected break.”

Freezing temperatures and a snow blanketed ground are an invitation for many to cuddle up and binge watch their favorite series, movies, etc.

Keep a steady pace and do not get behind on your studies, especially before our first full week of classes.

The snow is melting, and you will come out of this haze.

Stay focused on your work with a warm cup of coffee and cozy socks if it helps, but do not keep pushing your homework aside.

Some of us have our own structure that assists us during these sluggish times.

“I personally get all my work done ahead of time,” said Maegan Smith, a student at Vol State.

“That way I can relax and enjoy the snow!

“Usually teachers give you a syllabus or some kind of schedule of assignments, and you can get ahead; that way you don’t fall behind,” Smith said. “It’s much more relaxing that way.”

Jesse Versage, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said, “what I do to stay on track with school work is just get done with what I have early, so I have the rest of the day to go out and play in the snow.”

If you are off to a rough start, do not panic; what’s done is done, but you can right those wrongs.

Now that the snowy interruption is over do not pick up the remote, stay off the couch and silence your phone.

So, here we are, it is week 2. Print off your assignments, get your head in school and back on track.

“One thing I would suggest is just going on a social media ‘fast,’” advised Joshua Brewster, a student at Vol State.

“Then, find a place to sit and keep as many distracting things away as you can, where it will be easy to focus.

“Listening to classical music, or instrumental music is recommended to keep background noise out,” according to Brewster.

You can do this!

Everybody has been there, but we have your back.

Now get busy!

Forming good study habits

Forming Good Habits

By Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

 

At Volunteer State Community College, it can almost universally be agreed that our biggest enemy is “inclement weather.”

This has never been more illustrated than in the very first week of school this semester (no elaboration needed).

More than ever it is imperative to form good study habits now so that your schedule is not completely thrown off gear by things like the weather, car trouble, relationship trouble – just trouble, okay?

Student life in college is almost invariably 90 percent damage control and 10 percent waiting for the next crisis of the week.

Now is the time to set some safeties in place. I like to call it “preemptive damage control.” Form good habits now, so that when you pick up our end-of-the-semester edition of the paper and see the inevitable “Save Your Grades” article, you can throw your head back and cackle.

With some advice on this, I turned to the Internet and students at Vol State.

Editor-in-Chief Sara Keen had a wonderful editorial last week about procrastination (check it out on our website, seriously). In it she talked about a solid strategy she employs, setting aside a half hour to an hour each day and devote that time to one subject.

Daily reviews of notes that you have taken can be tedious. Instead, the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association website writes that we should consider weekly note reviews.

Since we mostly have Fridays free of school activity now, try and use this time for a weekly review. Be it early in the morning or during lunch, the OKNSA website writes that students should study when they are at their peak, that is, when students are most alert and awake.

I find it imperative to mention that I’ve already checked my phone three different times while writing this article. Silence the phone and put it out of reach. You’ll keep your concentration about you, I promise.

Psychcentral.com writes “how you approach something matters almost as much as what you do. Aim to think positively when you study.”

The website goes on to write that students should avoid catastrophic thinking. “Instead of, ‘I’m a mess, I’ll never have enough time to study for this exam,’ look at it like, ‘I may be a little late to study as much as I’d like, but since I’m doing it now, I’ll get most of it done.’”

We should take an objective view of our grades and ask ourselves what we can do to improve, notes Psychcentral, rather than think “I always mess things up.”

Make a schedule you can stick to. You know what you’ve got to do in a week. Make a study schedule that fits your work and home life. According to the OKSNA website, transferring notes to 3×5 cards would be an effective way to study during spare moments, or recording a lecture for later listening if your professor is particularly fast-speaking.

Holdon Guy, student at Vol State, said that he bases his studying method around the principles of prioritization, time management, breaks, and working hours.

Guy said that he makes out a list of tasks based on due dates, then allocates as much time as needed for each task.

“Doing this allows me to visualize where I need to concentrate my efforts when I study. During study time I incorporate fifteen minutes of break time into every hour,” said Guy.

Guy said that taking fifteen minutes to walk around, eat a snack, or take a bike ride keeps his mind alert and helps him to remember all the material he is studying.

“I try to only study when I feel fresh and productive,” Guy said.

While students cannot predict such things as inclement weather, we can indeed set up safeties for ourselves to ensure that our academic careers are on track by consciously making the effort to, in spite of how much snow is on the ground.

Editorial on appreciating what you have

Sara Keen//Editor-in-Chief

 

We live in a time where it is easy to forget about the luxuries we live with.  We often take for granted our homes, clothes, electricity, and everything that we’ve received as a result of technology.

We forget that we live in a country where most can afford what other countries dream.  There are places where people cannot easily receive clothes, housing, food, or medical treatments.

In our society, we have gotten to a point where people fear the wrong things, such as vaccinations, because we have forgotten how bad the world was before.  There are children who are angry when they do not get a certain color of iPhone or iPad when kids in other places are overjoyed to receive a pair of socks.

Even worse, there are fits thrown to parents because they look out for their children.  Parents have a reason for everything they do, even if you do not quite understand it at the time.  They are your guardians until they are gone.

We never know how long we have left with someone.  It is vital that we enjoy every second that we are able to with them.  It could be as simple a task as getting ice cream with a grandparent, or going shopping with your mother.

Be thankful when someone is sick that they have the medicine to treat him or her.  If they cannot be cured, be thankful that there is medicine to lessen the pain.

We no longer suffer from a variety of diseases thanks to vaccines.  The number one fear for pregnancy is no longer death.  We live in a time where we can be comfortable in raising our families.  

We have a day to give thanks for everything we have each year, but with so much to be thankful for, it is not the only day that we can say thank you for what we have.

Any time you feel down, think about how great things are now in comparison to what they would be 100 years ago.  We have so much that we can say thank you for.

We have full families, a chance for education, a place for food and sleep.  We are able to come home in the winter without fearing the flu.    

When you sit around the table on Nov. 26, remember how lucky you are to live in a time with so many advancements.  Enjoy your time with your family.


Happy Thanksgiving.

stigmatizing life

Sara Keen// Editor-in-Chief

 

People always make statements about embracing who you are.  You have heard things such as “be who you are,” or “don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t be.”

But it seems that when one tries to do just that, they are only struck down by the very society that encouraged it.  It is as if you can only be who you are if that matches society perfectly.

Even worse, you can only embrace the positive, “socially-acceptable” life experiences you have had.  While we happily share grades, acceptance letters, and the happy sides of our past, we often hide the negative parts of our lives.

Why is it that society has forced us to feel so negatively about our own complex being, that we have to hide some of the most important events in our lives?

There is no shame in any incident that changed who you are or made you stronger.  Whether it was surviving an illness or struggling with a mental illness, no person should have to feel ashamed that they have that hardship in their life.  There is no shame in feeling at peace with your past because your past made you into who you are now.

It may be difficult to do, to say that you struggled with something awful or that you’re still struggling.  I have struggled, and more than likely so have most of the people you would encounter every day.

Sure, it probably is not the brightest idea to proudly announce or display some hardships, but there is no need for shame.

There seems to be a stigma on fairly common events that impact lives.  Mental illnesses, miscarriages, abuse, racism, and even sexism have been stigmatized as things we should not discuss.  That is not at all the case.

For a society to grow, that society must understand the problems it faces.  People cannot continue their lives hiding the awful things in life.  If a person keeps too much to himself or herself, then that person is likely to crack under the pressure.

We are not immune to pain, disgust, tragedy, or illness.  We are humans, considered the most intelligent species on Earth.

That intelligence allows us to push ourselves further into advancement.  That intelligence also causes us to think more about the world and the events that take place.

We are also compassionate and empathetic.  We can understand the feelings and emotions of others.  There should be no shame in embracing our experiences.

The human experience may be the only one we get, so do not feel ashamed of yours.

Taking Measures to Prevent Suicide

Sara Keen// Editor-in-Chief

 

Last week, Volunteer State Community College lost one of its students to suicide. In the hopes of avoiding another tragedy such as this, The Settler would like to provide some helpful advice to anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide or concerned that a friend may be.

College can be a stressful environment, between exams, essays, and managing time between school, work, and a social life. It may be overwhelming for some students, and it is important to remember that asking for help is okay.

Let someone know if you are experiencing these thoughts or if you are concerned about a friend. It could make a difference on a person’s life. Helping someone could be as simple as showing him or her that you care or that the person is important to you or others.

It can also help to find better ways to cope with feelings, stress or improve mental health. Sometimes it can help to write feelings out, or express what is causing them. You can learn more about yourself through this, and how you can cope with life and the world around you.

Others may choose art, such as painting or drawing. Therapists help their clients express emotions or calm their nerves using art. They are able to create a visual representation of how they feel.

For students who may not be inclined toward art or writing, physical activity can be helpful. Sunlight and exercise can often improve moods and can be helpful for people who want to take their focus away from what is bothering them.

The biggest thing that can help someone who might be considering suicide or even harming himself or herself, is to speak to someone.   It does not help you to isolate yourself from everyone.

Speak to your family, and if that is not possible, go to a close friend.   There are people who care, for everyone, and someone will help you.

Even if you do not feel comfortable going to someone you know for help, there is a multitude of resources now. There are suicide prevention lines, forums and even blogs.

For those who have difficult lives, or maybe have some awful experiences, there are resources for everything from abuse to rape.

We are fortunate enough to live in a time where people care, and do not want others to give up their lives or lose hope. Every person in the world is facing something, handling it differently, and will need to ask for help at some point or another.

Do not be ashamed of getting help for yourself.

 

Quote:
“We all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in us… I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.”

 

Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Phone Number:

(615) 297 – 1077

How to Find 100 Trillion Dollars

Dustin Hodges/ Contrinuting Writer 

 

Over the previous few years there has been a growing sentiment about the evils of the “one-percent.”  Yet many have no real concept of whom they are demonizing.  From this growing and often loud group of miss-informed and ill-advised individuals has caused a recent rise in the support for socialism in the United States.   These people have been raised in the safety and comfort of the life capitalism has provided. Yet they desire to turn back the clock and live under the dangerous and unrelenting horror that is socialism.  

Looking back at the past century, many nations and governments have implemented Marxist and socialist ideologies, only to create mass-starvations, extreme poverty, and eventually destruction of the rule of law.  This is the future currently being promised by presidential candidates who are promising government supplied healthcare for everyone, government supplied college for everyone, and government supplied food and housing for everyone.  The promises being made are that these things will be “free,” yet anyone who believes anything is free is highly uninformed.  

Government income comes from taxes, which are paid by every adult American.  Therefore anything the government promises to pay for is actually being paid for by every Americans hard work.  The common theme among people pushing for socialism is to “tax the one percent.”  This plan is highly flawed, as the entire assets, not just income, of even the top 10% would not cover the 100 Trillion dollar price tag that would come with all of Bernie’s promises.   

The so called evil one percent is a much misunderstood group of Americans, as most people believe these are the billionaires, sitting in high rise offices on Wall Street.  There are a few issues with this theory, as the real one percent are not all billionaires, many are working right here in Sumner County. Many of you may know someone who still operates a family farm, with equipment and land amounting to much more value than you may realize.  Trying to increase quality of life of one group by utilizing other groups hard work has never been feasible, as Margaret Thatcher put it best, “The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

“10 Questions For the Dalai Lama ” Review

Melissa Farmer

Who is the Dalai Lama? The Dalai Lama is a monk who grew up in Tibet. He is known around the world as a great leader and a peacemaker.

In the movie “10 Questions For The Dalai Lama” a man named Rick Ray goes on a journey through India to meet the Dalai Lama. He journeys through the same areas that the Dalai Lama grew up so he can truly try to relate to him once they get to meet.

The Dalai Lama has monks that help him set up meetings and appointments with him. Each appointment is 40 minutes long and the interviewer may ask 10 questions.

Coming up with the questions was a tough decision. When faced with the option to speak to one of the most influential people in the world and you are limited to only 10 questions what is important and what is not?

Do you ask ethical questions or personal? Can the questions be two parts? What if he doesn’t want to answer one, can you pick a different one? Rick Ray spends a lot of time thinking up good questions.

The most popular one was  “Why do the poor seem happier than the rich?” That is often times the case. Now, I won’t tell you the answers because you should watch the movie yourself. Take a break from American Horror Story or The Walking Dead to watch something that is rich in culture and gives you good questions to think on.

As I watched the movie I started thinking to myself about the way I would answer these questions. I also thought of the questions that I would ask.

One of the questions that struck me the most was this one “Should countries be dedicated to preserving their traditions or embrace modern culture?”

I think that there should be some kind of middle ground. While preserving traditions can help to keep a spirit of community and nostalgia, there can also be a stunt in growth if the area doesn’t learn to embrace new things that come along with time.

To hear the Dalai Lama answer this question I would highly suggest looking up the movie and watching it. This is an awesome way to learn about the Dalai Lama’s background, and what a Dalai Lama is historically without reading books or articles for hours.

At the Grand Festival Award it won “Best documentary”. It is a great film and worth the time.

Blake’s Book Bag

Blake Bouza// COntributing Writer 

 

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review. I am going to besorting what you should be reading from what you could be reading – because I care.

 

The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson

 

In early 21st century Thailand, Scott is an ex-patriate slacker. Then, one day, he inadvertently witnesses an impossible event: the violent appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar in the forested interior. And the inscription chiseled into it commemorates a military victory–sixteen years in the future.

Shortly afterward, another, larger pillar arrives in the center of Bangkok-obliterating the city and killing thousands. Over the next several years, human society is transformed by these mysterious arrivals from, seemingly, our own near future. Who is the warlord “Kuin” whose victories they note?

(from goodreads.com)

 

The Review:

I wanted to love this book so much. The premise has one of the most interesting science fiction ideas I have ever heard of. An egotistical warlord sending monuments of himself back through time to commemorate his victories? Sign me up.

Unfortunately, the execution of this premise left a lot to be desired.

Seemingly more by random circumstance than by fate, Scott runs into his old college professor, Sue Chopra, after the first Chronolith touches down. Sue Chopra gets put in charge of finding a way to avoid this future fate, and Scott, a coder, gets invited to be on the team. The logic to having a cause-and-effect coder on the team seems reasonable, but Scott never really does anything.

Sue is probably my favorite character in the whole book, a gay scientist who basically believes she is the time period’s savior and may or may not be a megalomaniac because of it.

I wish we had seen the story told from her point-of-view.

What could have been a very interesting military/science novel was instead turned into an unrealistic family drama. Which can be a very effective vessel with which to tell a larger story – but none of it was believable.

Now that is not to say I did not enjoy some elements of the story. It was more the peripheral things about it I enjoyed, the social aspects the Chronoliths bring with it, specifically the generational psychology and the effect the Chronoliths have on the average person.

The book also depicts a believable future despite the speculative premise. Water shortages, new bills that are passed to combat the economic collapse in America after Asia is thrown into turmoil. Little things that are mentioned in passing that lend to the greater story.

So on the grander scale, it is an interesting story if a bit dry. It is not the best character story I have ever read, and it did not need to be – but it left a lot to be desired.

2 out of 5 stars.

Not voting insults those who fought for the right

 Dustin W. Hodges

The ability for Americans to have a voice in our government was created by centuries of men putting their lives on the line, however in modern day America the average citizen has no interest in politics, resulting in an abysmally low fifty percent voting rates, and this is the high percentages during presidential elections.

Having no desire to vote, and exercise the right of consent of the governed is a direct slap in the face to not only our founding fathers, but also all political theorists.

Living in a world of ruling elites, and a vast separation of classes, Plato and Aristotle could not envision a world of true equality, yet still developed the concept that the state and the citizens are not separate.  They set the building blocks for majority consensus, and thus consent of the governed.  

This belief would be expounded upon by Martin Luther King Junior to include all peoples, not just one race, gender or class.

Living under a sovereign ruler, Thomas Hobbes developed the belief that the sovereign is bound by consent, and could be removed if that contract is broken.

Not be left out, Thomas Aquinas believed rulers should be part of the aristocracy, while being chosen by the people; thus continuing the long developed theory eventually put into practice by the Declaration and Constitution of the United States, consent of the governed.

The aforementioned political and religious thinkers all developed slightly different ideas for how their respective countries should operate, yet all had a major concept in common.  It took thousands of years for the concept of consent of the governed to come into practice, and thankfully it was practiced here, in the good ole’ USA.

John Adams and his fellow patriots risked their lives so future generations could have the freedoms and liberties outlined by theorists over time.  In creation of the United States, these men created the ability for everyday citizens, and over time this would evolve into every adult, the ability to have a say in who governs their lives.  

Every adult American should embrace their ability to practice consent of the governed, being ignorant on issues is not an excuse; not voting is like slapping Plato, Aquinas, Adams and Martin Luther King Jr.  in the face and saying, “your efforts were pointless.”