America: The Greatest Nation on Earth

Dustin W. Hodges// Contributing Writer

Recently in America, many have begun to demonize this great nation with outlandish and false claims about its history. Many seeking to hide the truth and often their own agenda have used the policy of rewriting history.

America was founded upon an unalienable right to freedom, the ability to choose your own destiny. This freedom also gives Americans something most humans around the globe do not have, the ability to change their government and laws.

Ending slavery in America is the best example of this freedom. America did not create slavery; it had existed for thousands of years and still does in many regions of the globe. Another great example of this freedom is America giving women the right to vote, something that is still a dream in many places.

Not content on creating equality as far as the law was concerned, the American experiment, and economic giant that comes with it, caused the greatest increase in quality of life for human beings in the history of the planet.

In creating equality, the American economic machine invented something most take for granted: the middle class. Before, America was either wealthy or poor; there was no in-between.

Many claim America has strengthened the wealthy classes, and this is true, as our free market has strengthened all classes of society. America has elevated the quality of life, for its poor, to a level higher than anytime or anywhere in history.

Creating a better life for its own citizens is not the only thing that makes America great, we are also the first nation on earth to return conquered lands after wars. Before America, nations would keep lands, resources, and tax or kill its people. America did not keep Iraq, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Italy, etc.

As a conquering power, not only did we return these lands, but we funded the reconstruction, which is a large part of our current national debt.

America is a great nation, always has been and has the ability to stay that way, however many in this country are trying to tear it down from within. We need patriotic Americans to fight to make this country great for the future. If anyone tells you America is not the greatest nation on earth, ask them where they want to live and I will start a fundraiser to buy them a one way ticket.

Advising and Academic Success

By Sara Keen// Editor-in-Chief


Volunteer State Community College students are assigned to a personal advisor as well as receive access to the Advising Center in the Ramer Building. These are put in place to help students receive counseling, advice and ensure that they can graduate on time.

First and foremost, advisors are able to help students decide what they want to major in through tests, such as the Myers Briggs test.  They can also help students in signing up for classes, as well as help them with time management during the school year.

Along with academic needs, advisors are able to help students who are facing personal crisis or whose academic ability is being affected by an outside event.  They can give immediate help and refer students to receive more help if necessary, as well as help them get back on track if they can.  

Terry Bubb, Director of Advising and Testing, said it is urged that students see their advisors at least once a semester and students who do not see their advisors tend to take unnecessary classes and spend more time getting their degrees.  They are also more likely to drop out if they do not seek the help they need.  

“We really want everyone to be successful; we want students to be successful and achieve their dreams, and reach their degree program,” said Bubb.

In a poll conducted by “The Settler” staff, many Vol States students who go to the advising center or make an appointment with their advisors are satisfied with the outcomes.

Courtney Southern, a Vol State student, said she felt that her advisors were extremely beneficial to her success at Vol State.  

“It is a huge benefit for people, and especially if you aren’t sure of what you want to do or where you want to go after this, the people in the Advising Center can help you figure that out,” said Southern.

Bubb said he urges all students to seek help from their advisors and they are here specifically to aid students’ academics in any way they can.  Whether a student needs help signing up for classes, or wants a little advice, it can be found in the Advising Center or through their personal advisor.

The Importance of College Friends

By Sara Keen// Editer-in-Chief

The new school year at Volunteer State Community College marks a time of change and beginnings for many. This fall is the beginning of Tennessee Promise, which has brought a flood of new students ready to tackle the challenges to come. Many of these students will also be experiencing new people they’ve never seen before with different backgrounds and opinions, some of whom will become great friends throughout the year. These friends are far more important than many would believe, as often freshman befriend upperclassman. Their experiences will be passed down to help their inexperienced counterparts. They will find themselves in need of guidance, joining a new realm of clubs, and inevitably having a better experience as a result of the friendships they will develop this year.

Often, new students will befriend Vol State veterans.They will be shown the “tricks of the trade” and shown around buildings. For veterans, this is an excellent opportunity to leave your mark on someone’s college experience in a positive way. For new students, take the opportunity to learn as much as possible about campus life and gain advice regarding classes. One may find that the knowledge gained from others may be helpful in many situations. For example, veterans can help new students learn who to go to for certain types of help, such as where the Writing Center is.

Involvement in campus clubs and organizations can also be helpful for new students. These will introduce students to others with similar interests. A student interested in politics may join the Student Government Association, for example. Students involved in organizations will be able to socialize and succeed more across their academics, both inside and outside of class.

The friendships created in college can help you academically. A student may receive help from others in the form of study groups or general guidance. These friendships may be carried throughout the rest of one’s life. Some people are able to use their friendships in future networking for certain careers. The friends you made here can hold a great impact over one’s life and overall will help succeed in college.

It is a great thing to make new friends, get involved, and succeed both academically and personally.

It is your fellow classmates, teachers, and peers that help put on these events and they need your support

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, March 17, there were two events at Volunteer State Community College. One was a Humanities Matters lecture on Transcendentalist communes. Maybe 10 people attended.

There was also on that Tuesday, a Lunch and Learn event.

Nobody showed up for it.
Such low attendance to school events makes me wonder; why aren’t people coming to these things?
Either the students do not know the events are happening, they do not want to go or they have no time to.

“I seriously encourage students to go to as many events, lectures, and opportunities that Vol State hosts as possible. Too much work, effort, and money goes into trying to make the student body unified and happy, and the end result is sometimes disappointing. It is your fellow classmates, teachers, and peers that help put on these events and they need your support,” said Kathleen Long, president of Association of Campus Events (ACE).
“[SLDI] works extremely hard to provide meaningful and significant programming for the entire student body at Vol State.  The activities sponsored, especially by my office, are paid by student fees.  I would encourage students to participate in activities, especially when they are paying for it.  Outside of my office, events are planned to assist in education and furthering exploration of the mind.

“Although attendance is not mandatory, it should be a priority option to attend to see what is available for collegiate growth,” said Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, director of Student Services in SLDI.

I see plenty of people hanging out in the cafeteria everyday at every time. I know they have the time to come to events and lectures.

Do they not know that things are happening? There are flyers up and a calendar on the website and in the school newspaper. There are announcements and flyers on the bulletin boards as well as on the monitors in every building. Do they not see them?

“There is always something happening at Vol State. One thing in particular that I have enjoyed is traveling to other states for conferences and meetings.
“Last year, I went to Washington, D.C. with Dr. Yarbrough for the ASAAC conference, where I met with the United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and spoke with him about Vol State.

“Of course, the trip was wonderful, but I didn’t have to worry about the financial obligation to attend.
“Our student activity fee footed the bill for that once in a lifetime experience for me, and I am eternally grateful.
“I encourage everyone to take part in these events, and look into trips that are available. These trips are available to all students, and are especially fun and meaningful when you travel with Dr. Key,” said Amanda Steele, president of the Student Government Association (SGA).

Vol State has dozens of events scheduled every month of the school semester. Most if not all of them are planned many months in advance. From a wide variety of lectures and presentations to slam poets, musicians and magicians.

“All students pay the student activities fee which therefore means, they are paying for these events that are hosted through [SLDI],” said Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of Student Services in SLDI.

There are also many student leadership positions that need to be filled.

“… the President of SGA, President of ACE, and Editor of The Settler get tuition paid and a book stipend. Also, all SGA Representatives get a book stipend for attending SGA meetings on behalf of their clubs…most students probably don’t realize this incentive, but it is open to any current student to partake in as long as they put in the time and effort to take on these student leader roles.

“And, these positions look great on a resume as students prepare for jobs or further college education,” said Sherrell.

Please look out for upcoming campus events and opportunities. Vol State wants to help you learn and experience so many things as well as enjoy your time here.

We have all these lectures and events for the students.

If nobody cares or comes to the things we work hard to set up for you, then why should we try at all?

Taking pride and responsibility in your work is a wise life choice

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

It is common for students during the school year to give a half-hearted effort at their assignments and projects.

Often times, the task is one in which the student has no interest and thus, does not complete particularly well.

Many homework assignments and projects are not completed and some are not even turned in.

This is not hurting the instructor any.

It is easier to give someone a zero on their grades for not turning in their work than to sift through apathetic content that the student thought was not worth doing well.

This attitude of passivity and negligence is only hurting the student in the end.

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more luck I have,” said Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of America.

The assignments for which the students are responsible are supposed showcase their ability to do what is asked of them.

If they feel that the project is not good enough for them to complete or work on at all, they are only conveying that they are lacking discipline, respect for their supervisor, maturity and tenacity.

“It is not by whining that one carries out the job of a leader,” said Napoleon Boneparte, French military leader.

If this sort of mindset and behavior is a common practice during school, how will these students obtain and sustain steady jobs in the future?

If they are used to doing what they want and not what is best then they will not succeed in a workplace environment.

“We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand,” said Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of America.

When you are working on a group project, every member has a part to do.

If anyone in the party is not willing to do their work, or do it well, that not only reflects badly on that person, but it also pulls the whole group down as well.

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself,” said Paul Bryant, American football coach and player.

Just being present is not going to get the job done.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., American Civil Rights leader.

One must have the ability to see what needs to be done and do it.

Students need to be able to gage what assignments and projects need to be done, and set time apart and make an effort to do them.

What is the point of doing something if you are not even invested in doing it the right way?

“Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self esteem and personal satisfaction,” said Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of England.

One thing that I encourage you to try is, to do your assignment ñ everybody has something ñ and complete it.

The fun part is, not only do you need to make sure to include what specific instructions your instructor or boss has tasked you with, but you also need to make sure that you incorporate a part of yourself into it.

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence,” said Eddie Robinson, American football coach.

You can make something professional and still let it showcase a talent or quirk of yours.

Employers and teachers need to know you can do the minimum amount of acceptable work.

What gets their attention is when you go above and beyond that and can integrate your own style and individuality into your work.

It shows that you can get the job done professionally and in a way that is individualistic. It also shows a sense of pride in your work.

“Remember every job is a self portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence,” said anonymous.

Half hearted attempts to complete something you’re not interested in will not produce a piece that you will be proud to call your own.

It does not help anybody, accomplishes nothing and impresses no one.

“It takes less time to do things right than to explain why you did it wrong,” said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet.

Take the time and effort to actually do what you need to, either for a class or a project at work.

Don’t let your boss, teacher or yourself down by doing less than bare minimum.

A job worth doing is worth doing well.

The importance of fitness and tips on wellness

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

A poor diet and a lack of exercise can lead to physical and mental problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and possibly cancer.

A proper diet and exercise routine is very essential to a daily lifestyle.

It promotes stress relief, reduces anxiety, prevents chronic disease and heart disease, reduces fat, builds strength and endurance and overall makes you happy.

According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN); within the last 20 years there’s been a significant increase in obesity in the United States.

More and more people are becoming obese. It’s also a huge problem with our children.

About 17 percent, or 12.5 million, of children and adolescents (2-19) are obese in The United States.

Also, 33.8 percent, or 78.6 million adults, are obese.

The council also states that the cumulative effect is that children born in the year 2000 may not out live their parents and indicates that 70 percent of youth may never achieve a healthy weight and will become obese adults.

What does that tell you?

Americans are fat.

So how can we change that?

How can we get more people to realize the importance of dieting and exercising?

90 percent of losing weight is just your diet.

Make better food choices and you’ll lose weight. Nutrition and exercise not only complement each other, but they need each other.

According to, even with a perfectly balanced diet, you still need to exercise to burn the calories. states that the biggest complaint today is people not having the time to focus on a healthy diet and going to the gym.

We all feel that 24 hours is not enough time and we all wish we could have more time to do things but if you really step back and look at how people spend their day we can find time to go to the gym.

The average American watches 5 hours of television (TV) per day according to the New York daily.

So that’s 5 hours of Americans being sedentary on the couch, staring at a TV screen. The New York Daily Times reported people spending 3.8 hours a day on social media.

So out of the 24 hours that we all get each day, 8 hours of it is being spent looking at a screen.

That is time we can use to prep healthier meals and get in some exercise.

We have the time to get it done. We can all squeeze in a workout each day. Incorporating physical activity into your daily life.

At least 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children according to PCFSN.

Another complaint that most people have is that they are too tired.

One of the benefits of exercising is that it actually gives you more energy.

A study published in the American Journal of psychology states that people who worked out for 30 minutes a day lost more weight than people who worked out for 60 minutes a day.

You would think that the longer you work out the more calories you will burn.

Although that is true, the study revealed that people who work out 30 minutes a day noticed their workout was easier and they had energy to do other physical activities throughout the day as oppose to those who work out 60 minutes a day, who noticed they ate more and had less energy to do other physical activity. It sounds counterintuitive.

What about moms who cannot seem to get in a workout because they have to take care of the kids?

One tip is you can find a gym that has a daycare that can watch your kids while you get in a workout.

You can also find workouts you can do at home.

There are a lot of home workouts you can do to help you meet your fitness goals.

Try waking up 30 minutes to an hour before the kids have to get up and get in a workout or do 30 minutes after you send them to bed.

Remember there’s always time to get in a workout, it is just a matter of how bad do you want it.

One of the cool things about exercising is that it releases a chemical in your brain called endorphins (the feel good medicine).

It gives you a positive feeling that will make you happy.

It is a feeling of accomplishment and it is the best drug out there.

Practice living in the moment for a more peaceful mind and life

by Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

I often find myself thinking about two main things; my past and my future.

Being a college student and working towards my planned life goals, I tend to spend the majority of my time thinking about what I will do when those goals are met and I do not fully appreciate the journey I am taking in order to get there.

I often dwell on what I will be doing a year, five years, even ten years from that moment. As a result, I don’t fully enjoy the time in my life that I currently reside in.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” said John Lennon. This is something I have been attempting to change in my life.

Yes, it is important to have goals and yes, it is important to plan the steps in order to achieve them, but one should not deem any part of their life unnecessary or less important than another.

If you find yourself in the same issue, take a deep breath and relax.

Quiet your mind of life planning and fully embrace the uncertainty that life brings.

“Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation of the future is to live as if there were none,” said Albert Einstein.

Both you and your plans will change, but there will only ever be one present.

The same way of thinking goes for ones’ past.

Do not become stuck on the “what ifs” of your existence.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

You may feel like you are not on the right path, that you made too many mistakes, or that you want to go back to the past where you believe you once thrived.

I too, often have these thoughts.

Recently new to adulthood, I still catch myself wishing I was back in my childhood, a victimless child with no worries or adult responsibilities.

I remind myself to not waste any more precious time thinking about regrets or how things could have been different.

I choose instead, as should you, to focus on the person in the present.

Are you a better person as a result of your past?

Are you living your life, each day, to its full potential?

Are you taking one step at a time, to achieve this?

Do not use your incredible mind to overthink where you came from or where on this earth you will end up.

Personally, I would rather live a life of chaos that gave me unexpected pleasures, than strictly scheduled plans that I am uncertain I even want.

I constantly have to remind myself that I have the honor of living in a great country, I have the option of a great education, I have a vast amount of resources to make my life the best that it can possibly be and that I should celebrate every single day just the way it is.

I have never been much of a swimmer, but I have found bliss in the choice to go along with the waves of life instead of fighting against the current.

So whether you believe that detailed planning, fate, karma or some other higher power is the key to a happy life, I advise you to take chances.

I encourage you to try things from a new perspective and don’t hold yourself back from experiences that seem uncertain.

If all else fails; when the worry starts to set in, just remember that you are okay.

You have time.

And you are right where you are meant to be.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly,” said Buddha.

What color is this dress?

by Jim Busha// Staff Writer

Social media, news media and a lot of students here at Volunteer State Community College were all buzzing with the question, ìWhat color is the dress?

The photo was originally posted to social media by Caitlin McNeill, a 21 year old singer, who lives on a Scottish island named Colonsay.

The photo of the dress was sent to McNeill by a friend who was getting married, whose mother sent it as a color idea for the wedding.

However, the bride and groom couldn’t agree on what color the dress was.

When McNeill saw how popular the photo was on her Facebook, she then added it to her Tumblr account and from there it spread throughout the Internet. did a poll on Thursday night asking, ìWhat color is the dress?

Tens of thousands of people voted.

The results of their poll were 53 percent said it is black and blue and 47 percent said it is white and gold.

The truth is that that there are different factors that affect each of us differently when it comes to our perception of colors.

Your eyes try to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis. People either discount the blue side, and see white and gold or they discount the gold side in which they see blue and black, said Bevel Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College.

What color is the dress to you? We may never agree on what color the dress is, but there is one thing we may be able to agree on; that is one ugly dress!

Thrift Tips

by Gabrielle Staton// Staff Writer

Ever wondered how some people bag great finds at thrift shops?

Here’s a guide that will equip you with the skills you need to succeed!

Step 1 is to be prepared. Before heading out to thrift, be sure to plan.

Evaluate what items would count as a total score before leaving the store.

Three tools you need before you leave are a limit list, a budget, and a bonus buy.

A limit list is the same as a shopping list, but is limited to the thrift trip necessities.

A great cap for beginner thrift shoppers is between $20-$50, and if you receive every item on your limit list, and haven’t reached your budget, you can have a bonus buy. This would be something that doesn’t take you over budget once the limit list is secured.

Without going into any store with some sort of plan, it’s easy to leave with more than what you came for, and none of what you need!

The goal is to gain valuable items at an affordable price.

Step 2 is to stay informed. Even thrift stores have sales! Thrift stores, like Goodwill, host sales often.

Sometimes there are even top name brand items for less than $1.

Step 3 is to stay ahead. Upon entering the store, head to department with the items that lead the limit list.

Bring headphones to help stay in the zone.

Thrift shopping is a task. A little entertainment wouldn’t hurt.

Make a playlist that helps with focus. Remember you are in a store. Be careful not to get carried away when your favorite tune plays, wouldn’t want you having a free concert in Goodwill.

Step 4 is to stick to the list. In a store with such variety, it is easy to get sidetracked.

Stores such as Goodwill and Plato’s Closet receive clothing on a daily basis.

Don’t beat yourself up if you bypass a top find. There will be better items in the thrifting future!

If done properly, thrift shopping can be very rewarding and therapeutic.

Be sure to check future issues for the key to the 99 cents item and a few different looks for under $5.

Remember to shop responsibly. If you or someone you know has a hoarding problem, get help by calling 1-800-HOARDERS or 1-800-462-7337.

Net Netruality and the end of creative freedom

by Adam Parks// Online Editor

When the Internet was first established, it was a tool for a variety of uses, whether it be chatting with old friends, taking part in text-based computer games, or finding useful information.

Over time, however, the Internet has grown into an entertainment medium as well as a place to connect and socialize with people throughout the world.

Many people have come to make careers out of creating entertainment on the Internet.

Youtubers like PewDiePie and Rooster Teeth are able to support their families and their lifestyles because of the content that they create on the Internet.

The great part about their jobs is that they do not have anyone telling them what content they can and cannot create.

That is one of the great things about YouTube. There is always something for everyone because the content creators get to show their individuality in their work.

If you take a look at the most popular web series on the Internet, you will see that they are so many different shows, because there are so many people who make a living from making content that they love.

That being said, the Internet is beginning to face a problem that it never faced in the past.

Bigwig politicians are attempting to join major cable companies to police the Internet.

This policing is not just policing your privacy, but policing the content that these content creators make.

The policies they are attempting to put into place would allow these cable companies to not only charge these Youtubers for the content they create, but also charge you for simply watching it.

If you have an Internet service provider such as Comcast, for example, and these policing policies go into place, Comcast could charge a set fee per month to be able to access YouTube, and another fee for websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Over time, you could see your Internet bills double or even triple if you simply want to access all the Internet has to offer.

The Internet will no longer be able to flourish as the place for creative freedom.

It could become a barren wasteland where you would see the same content as what you see on television.

This is a scary thought. As someone who hopes to eventually have a career on websites such as Youtube, it is terrifying to thing that this job option may not exist for me in a few months.

Instead of allowing our Congress to decide the outcome of this, these cable companies are going straight to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and although President Barack Obama has spoken against this policy, he may not be able to stop what is coming.

If we let them start charging us for the websites we use everyday, it could lead into terrible outcomes where they charge us for other things.

It is scary to think that just because these cable companies want more money in their pockets, that they would allow all of these jobs to be lost.


If these content creators are no longer allowed to see their vision come to light, then they will lose interest in what they are doing, give up on their jobs and move to something else.

However, this problem goes farther than just the promise of Youtube. These companies could also set fees for using services such as Google or Bing and charge you every time you send a Tweet.

It seems outrageous to think that this could actually happen, but there is a very good possibility that it can and will.

There are so many ways that we can put a stop to this.

The simplest way is to sign one of the petitions floating around on the Internet. Internet websites such as is a great place to go and get all the information that is needed, regarding the topic and what it means for your everyday life.

These Internet service providers should allow us to access all of the great things the Internet has to offer, without fear of having to pay an arm and a leg.

The Internet was established as a free world for people to come in and do what they love, and it needs to stay that way.

Please help keep the Internet free and accessible by everyone.