There is a happy medium between expressing yourself and knowing when to keep your mouth shut

We have all heard the proverbial saying ìsilence is golden.î

Many people struggle, including myself, with watching what they say.

In the heat of an argument or excited crossfire of witty retorts, it is sometimes hard to always filter what one says before it is spewed.

ìIt is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt,î said Mark Twain, American writer.

Very often, one experiences the stomach churning sensation of putting oneís foot in oneís own mouth.

When one is a child with a head full of fantastical and quizzical things, it is charming for oneís peers to hear an unchecked and shameless question or remark.

It is quite different when a young adult speaks unreservedly and carelessly on whatever is on their mind.

One must have a regard for the time or the place and have at least a general sense of tact.

Always saying whatever pops into your head without thinking about it first does not allow the young adult to look particularly mature or impressive.

I used to not be this way.

All through my childhood and teen years, I recall being very reserved and most painfully quiet and shy.

It was not even until last semester I realized that I had really ëlet myself goí in a sense.

ìThere is never an embarrassing silence that canít be turned into a regrettable conversation,î said Robert Brault, an American tenor.

I have a friend who was a new acquaintance last semester.

We did not know each other particularly well, but enough for this person to realize that I was usually a laid back person with a sort of ëonly speak when spoken toí mentality.

Without relaying the exact conversation and having an account of my thoughtless remark spread and known on paper and online, I will mention the incident as vaguely as possible.

ìMan does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them,î said Adlai Stevenson II, an American politician.

In the midst of a casual conversation, I responded to one of my companionís remarks with a completely rude and unfiltered reply.

I was not expecting what I said to come out of my mouth any more than my fellow conversationalist.

We were both taken aback and our acquaintanceship, and later friendship, was forever altered by my thoughtless statement.

Thank goodness this person had a sense of humor and did not take any offense but was merely surprised by my sudden and brash comment.

Now my friend expects me to say something equally tactless and uncivil every time we converse.

ìThe trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you havenít thought of yet,î said Ann Landers.

My friends and family marvel at how Iíve ëëcome out of my shell.íí

But there is a difference in being comfortable with your own voice and allowing your thoughts to discharge unchecked.

Living such a life is very dangerous.

It is important to remember where you are and who you are with.

Being an editor on the paper is much easier than being an editor of my oral articulations.

Even as this editorial is being written, I will pause after a sentence or two and reread the last paragraph in order to check that the grammar and flow are adequate.

When someone is having a conversation, they must be a bit more quick on their feet considering there is not as much time to always plan out and discard unnecessary rebuttals or exchanges.

ìSpeak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret,î said Ambrose Bierce.

I know it is sometimes very difficult to not say the first thing that pops into your head, but having the ability to filter your speech is a noble and sensible practice.

Please start watching what you say.

Too often we stick our feet in our mouths when could have just as easily stayed silent.

You may have a voice, but please think about what you use it for.

Words do not bruise like sticks and stones but they can sometimes sting much longer.

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the temptin moment,” said Dorothy Nevill.

Long Story Short- Valentines Day

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I am reminded of a story that might just benefit a few of you.

When I was in elementary school, my class had a Valentine’s dance.

The boys were allowed to ask out the girls and vice versa.

Being the 10-year-old that I was, I thought that it was only polite that a boy ask a girl. So I did not ask anyone.

As it got closer to the dance, nobody asked me.

My mom told me that I should take my brother who was four years older than me. But, of course, I didnít want to do that because that would be lame.

So, like any other girl would do (I thought), I dressed up my Orangutan stuffed animal – King Louie from The Jungle Book – in a plaid button up shirt and a pair of tan corduroy pants.

When I got to the dance, very proudly carrying my “date” on my hip, I noticed nobody was dancing, and everyone was staring at me.

I immediately regretted bringing a stuffed animal to the dance, but I was not going to let anyone know that.

So King Louie and I got on the dance floor and started slow dancing.

Everyone just stared more, but I acted like I didn’t care.

After the song was over, a boy from my class named Juan asked me if I wanted to dance, and said that my monkey could join, and that made me happy.

Long story short: If you are alone on Valentine’s day, grab a stuffed animal (I know you have one).

Don’t let a few awkward stares keep you from enjoying your night; never EVER take a stuffed animal to an event as a date… no matter what your parents tell you, NO ONE ELSE THERE WILL HAVE ONE.

Taking the initiative can change your life for the better

To be frank, I had no inkling to become the editor-in-chief of this school’s newspaper. I was asked to apply for the position because I became a surprisingly active and constant member in the club under the previous editor’s reign.

I really did not want to be the boss due to all that pressure to perform and keep on top of everything and be the figurehead to the other club members. The thought of myself in that leadership role made me shiver. My heart sank with apprehension when I was hired for the job.

I passed the most basic qualifications, but I had no knowledge about newspapers, how they were run or how I was supposed to run one. I was petrified.

Do you know how many people beside myself applied for the editor’s position? Zero. There was no option B.

There are two possible explanations for why that was. One, nobody knew that the position was available for application or two, they knew but nobody wanted the job.

Do not get me wrong; I do not regret applying and having the position I have. I am so thankful for this opportunity that has caused me to grow, learn and experience things I never imagined would happen in my life.

However when I began to wrap my mind around the concept of little ole’ me becoming the confident, organized and decisive editor The Settler needed, I was reeling from the unreality of it.

“Never be afraid to fail. Failure is only a stepping-stone to improvement. Never be overconfident because that will block your improvement,” said Tony Jaa.

My job keeps me busy and is often stressful, but I would not trade it for the simpler life I had before. Now I’ve gotten a taste of the business and it’s given me a new perspective on how I can make a difference.

This experience has helped me develop useful skills and allowed me to meet and connect with more people. It was a scary transition for a wallflower like me, but it was unmistakably worth it.

I was afraid to take this job and adjusting to my position and responsibilities was a bit rocky, but if I had to do it all again, knowing what I know now, I would still take the job.

“I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not,” said Lucille Ball.

Last spring semester there was also an opportunity for students to apply for positions for the Student Government Association (SGA). There was only one candidate for each of the positions. The cabinet ran unopposed and inevitably was given the positions.

The president we have now was the only one who applied, and it may look to some, that she was the only one who cared about doing something through the SGA.

There are plenty of students at Vol State, but apparently only an extremely small percentage is interested in participating and leading student clubs and organizations.

“If you’re not actively involved in getting what you want, you don’t really want it,” said Peter McWilliam.

There are avenues for excellence in every corner of this campus.

The Honors Program, Service Learning club, Squatter’s Rites publication, SGA and so many more are available and always looking for more members.

Supplemental Instruction, Leanring Commons and Language Center have hiring  opportunities.

I encourage you to take the initiative. You’re not selling your soul to do so. Just try it.

Let our student body not be comprised of individuals suffering from the bystander effect. If nobody ever steps up to the plate, then nothing extraordinary and noteworthy will be talked about or appreciated.

“I’ve always had confidence. It came because I have lots of initiative. I wanted to make something of myself,” said Eddie Murphy.

There are opportunities all over this campus to go the extra mile and accomplish something that needs to be done, though few wish for the responsibility.

Take the initiative, you don’t know what can be discovered, invented or enhanced. Who knows how many people you could affect by stepping up and doing what needs to be done?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover,” said Mark Twain.

 

 

 

Long Story Short #1

Kathleen Long// Contributing Writer

Hi! My name is Kathleen Long and this is my new column called Long Story Short. For those of you who know me (which is pretty much everybody) this is hilarious. For everyone else, you are confused. Let me clear it up for you. In this column I will tell a story of some kind, and will try to have a take-away point, or lesson in the end.

I am the President of the Association of Campus Events (ACE) Club. I enjoy being in a club, and I also enjoy holding the title of “president.” But, even more than that, I enjoy being involved with my school. I think it is important to network and get to know people. Most students come to school, go to their classes, and then leave. They think this is the right way to do it. WRONG! That is the dumb way to do it. Volunteer State Community College has clubs, planned events and tries to do as much as possible to make the stress of college as great of an experience as they possibly can. I would say they are doing a good job for only being a community college and not having the budget and resources of universities.

I suggest that you find someone who is in a club and ask them how they like it. Almost all of them will encourage you to join a club and get involved as well. Being a club member also has perks: You have the chance to get to know the staff and teachers; if you get a board position you can get paid; and you are always in the know.

Long story short: My last name is Long, I am short, this is my new column where I tell it like it is and you should join a club.

“There are countless opportunities to make a significant change”

Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

Around the New Year, there are many people who make resolutions to make a change or take an action within the next coming months.

According to statisticbrain.com, 47 percent of the resolutions that people make are focused on self-improvement or are education related. 38 percent is weight related and 34 percent is money related. The website also lists that 31 percent of New Year’s Resolutions are relationship related.

In the top ten list of resolutions for 2014, to “lose weight” is in first place followed by “getting organized.” Third and fifth are “spend less, save more” and “staying fit and healthy.”

All of these things are admirable goals, but there seems to be something missing. These aims carry an air of being self-oriented.

There is nothing wrong with trying to stay healthy or being more frugal with one’s possessions and planning abilities. However, consideration for your fellow creatures is hardly thought of with these ambitions.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile,” said Albert Einstein.

Recently there has popularly been a movement to perform “random acts of kindness.”

“Carry out random acts of kindness, with no expectation of reward. Safe in the knowledge that one day, someone may do the same for you,” said an unattributed quote on searchquotes.com.

Random acts of kindness sound like you did the act without a second thought. Doing something small that was not planned makes it somewhat impersonal. I am not against them but I would like to suggest that we take more interest in our fellow man.

What about a slightly alternate resolve? I propose that more people begin executing “intentional” acts of kindness.

A random act of kindness sounds so thoughtless. In some ways they are nice, it can show that a person’s default reaction is well meaning.

Why can’t one go out of their way to help another person with that specific intention in mind beforehand? Just because an action is premeditated does not mean that the do-gooder should or thinks they should receive recompense for their efforts.

Why don’t we try to go out of our way to make someone else’s day better? The world can be a hard place to live. We can help and love each other instead of always thinking about ourselves.

Children often hear from their parents and babysitters to be kind to each other. My request for us adults to do the same sounds a bit ridiculous.

“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people,” said Abraham Joshua Heschel.

On this campus at Volunteer State Community College, there are countless opportunities for one to make a significant change in another person’s life. No matter how little you think about it, your actions and words are noticed by somebody. You see people at school everyday. Going out of your way to intentionally help a fellow classmate or associate can start the first stages of a healthy friendship.

This appeal is not like a regular New Year’s Resolution that one can cross out at the end of the term like the achievement of losing fifteen pounds or finally working out an organizational system. This resolution is one that should be practiced without a prompt or a banner.

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble,” said Charles H. Spurgeon