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.