Advice for the Student-Parent

By: Barbara Harmon, Staff Writer

While many students find college to be a challenge, students with children of their own have to keep an even tighter schedule.

“Balancing family life, parenthood and college coursework can be difficult at best, and challenging at worst, especially for those without the support of a spouse or partner,” according to AC Online.

“Keeping life in check when returning to college is a major concern for most student-parents.

“Returning students should understand there is an adjustment period, and that it’s going to take some time to establish a comfortable routine,” according to the website.

Sometimes you have to follow the advice you would give to your own children.

If they have homework they need to finish, what would you say to them? “Get it done, before you do anything else.”

Well, you may have to remind yourself of this at times. Especially with the distractions that come with electronic technology these days—link after link and episode after episode.

There are simple ways to stay on top of your task. If your children take naps, make the most of that time.

That can be a wonderful opportunity to work on your studies. This is not the time to scroll through Facebook profiles or viral videos.

You determine what is most important to you.

If your children are older, work on your homework together.

It is possible and fulfilling to multitask, as well. There are many nicely measured time slots throughout your day.

If you need to read a chapter, sit at the kitchen table and finish it while super is in the oven.

Have some discussion posts to make or an instrument to practice? Do it while the clothes are in the dryer.

You will accomplish more in your day this way and your to-do list will not become a challenge of its own.

It is also essential to get enough sleep.

“Burning the candle on both ends, as a parent and a student, can quickly lead to burnout,” according to AC Online.

“While it’s tempting to stay up late to get in some quality time with Netflix after work and studies are completed for the day, it’s only going to hurt in the long run when energy has been totally depleted.

“Get some rest instead,” advised the website.

There are student-parents at Volunteer State Community College that have learned to adapt to these circumstances.

“This is only for a season (sometimes a season that will never end) and soon the work put into school will lead way for more quality time again,” according to Jennifer Giese, a student at Vol State.

“So some of my advice is to try not to feel guilty when you can’t be completely involved with the family and have to count on a spouse or other family members to help with dinner, housekeeping, activities, etc,” according to Giese.

Responsibilities can be divided out so that task are shared, and it does not take all of one person’s time to do it.

“Also, ensure that you carve out specific time for homework and studying,” according to Giese.

“If the family is aware that you have set aside specific time for this, then they will fall into a schedule of knowing that unless it is an emergency that you can’t be disturbed.

“At first it is hard to strike a balance, but all parties need to be flexible for changes,” Giese added.

Once a schedule is established, it will become a valuable asset to aid you in the completion of your degree.

Living life to its full potential

By Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

 

With the advancement on technology, it seems to be much easier to stay indoors and spend all of one’s free time on social media or Netflix. While, in moderation, this can be really nice, one can miss several of life’s opportunities as a result.

Life is short, and no one gets out of it alive. That is simple enough. It should not be wasted on social media and T.V. binges. There is an entire world waiting for you.

There is a lot of temptation that comes with living in the modern world. With the Internet at our fingertips, it is almost natural to want to scroll Facebook while you are in public.

I cannot begin to count the number of people I have seen sit in classrooms and scroll social media before class begins. Some rooms are silent because no one is trying to communicate with the people around them.

It is astonishing how much can happen when we put our phones away for a while. You can meet new people or even see a fantastic moment occur right before your eyes. Neither of these can be experienced when your nose is buried into your phone all day.

Even at home, when you are around your family, it is hard to stay off the various websites we have grown accustomed to.

I have heard several discussions lately about mothers who are on their phones instead of playing with their children. On the other hand, people do not seem to be nearly upset about the young adults who are too busy with social media to give their parents attention.

On the other side, we have the beautiful web-service known as Netflix. When in combination with the forces of Hulu and Amazon Prime, these websites can destroy all possibility of leaving the house for days on end.

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to binging a show on Netflix, I will admit. However, I know that it is awful to spend all of my time streaming movies and shows.

There is a world of opportunity and adventure when you leave the comfortable confines of your “nest,” as some may call it. We are given a very short time on this world, and we should do with it all that we can.

So, the next time you find yourself doubting that outing with your friends, as Netflix calls your name, remember the short time you have. Then, pull your shoes on and run out to meet your friends.

Oh, and do not forget to put your phone in a hard-to-get-to spot, so you will not be looking at it all day.

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.