Editorial on Self-Care


Sara Keen//Editor-in-Chief

It is often a necessity that every person takes care of his or herself in order to properly function.  This could be as simple as taking a 30-minute break from your day to read or watch funny videos.

It is not uncommon for people to need to unwind each day or every few days to make it through the next.  Some require alone time to recharge after social activities and others may simply need to de-stress after a long day.

People on and off campus can find a way to recharge and take care of themselves each day.  

Some may need a daily work out, time spent painting or reading; some may even need a cup of coffee or a drive alone to gather their thoughts.  We have our own ways of coping with the day-to-day struggles we face.

The first thing everyone should understand is that it is common to have a routine time and thing to do that helps to recharge after a long day or week.  

For some people, perhaps having some time alone with their own thoughts or their favorite thing to do can help them discharge.  For others, they may need social time or an activity to recharge.  Perhaps one person reads every day to recharge after a long day of classes, while another goes out with friends to watch a movie.

Every person is different, and what helps one may not have that affect on another.

It can also boil down to whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert.

Introverts often use a lot of energy in social situations, and need a quiet setting alone to recharge afterwards.   Extroverts, on the other hand, thrive in social settings and can actually recharge in those settings, while quiet or controlled situations may use more energy for them.

Some people often turn to healthy activities when they recharge.  Exercising is a common form that also allows a person to take care of their physical health as well as mental.

Others may lean towards more academically inclined ways of taking care of themselves.  It actually helps some people to read, take part in the arts, or even to catch up in their homework or get ahead.

Ensuring that you have time to relax, take care of your needs, and to escape your daily struggles can help with stress, mental health, and physical health.  

It can allow you to sleep better at night, feel more energetic each day, and live life with less weight on your shoulders.

Blake’s Books

By Blake Bouza

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

If Ocean’s Eleven and Lord of the Rings had a baby, it would be Mistborn: The Final Empire.

A lot of people have read this one over the years, but with the first book in the sequel trilogy coming out in a couple of weeks, I thought it would be nice to revisit the first book of the Mistborn trilogy.

Brandon Sanderson has a wonderful talent to move the story along at a nice clip without making you seem lost in the world he has created for us. He drops info about the world and the intricate magic system as we go, keeping us on a need-to-know basis without being infuriating. It does not overwhelm the reader while managing to keep an air of mystery about the story, but without nagging enough to overpower the other story elements.

These are – overthrowing the god-emperor of the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler—a self-professed Sliver of Infinity. He is kind of a jerk.

He is suppressed every other religion that does not celebrate him and he keeps a firm hand on the slaves of his society, the skaa. He is immortal, having lived for over a thousand years since the time he was named the Hero of Ages, and instead of saving the world – he misshaped it and made it his own.

The story picks up from the point of view of a street-urchin girl named Vin, who is rescued by a man named Kelsier. Kelsier is gathering a thieving crew and proposing the ultimate heist: overthrowing the Lord Ruler and stealing his stash of precious metals.

The thing that gives Kelsier the confidence that they can do this? This is where the magic system comes into play.

That’s all I’m going to say of the plot for fear of giving anything away, but let me tell you – it is a wild ride. Sanderson does a few things at once here. He puts a spin on classic fantasy storytelling elements (for example, the hero becoming the dark lord), and weaves in themes about hope, religion, and revolution flawlessly into the fabric of the story. You will find yourself caring about every character as we follow Vin as she gets to know everyone on the thieving crew.

From the outset, Sanderson set a fun tone for the story and he rolls with it. The turns and twists are unforeseen. When I thought I knew where the story was heading, it thumbed its nose at me and dove right into the next twist.

You will have to re-read sentences to be sure you read them right, and there will be a lot of OH MY GOD DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?

And you know, I honestly cannot say enough good things about this novel, so just do yourself a favor and read it – and the rest of the trilogy.

A well-deserved 5/5 Stars


SGA Vice President Steps down

By Wesley Anderson// Web Editor


Dorie Williams, Vice President of the Student Government Association, stepped down from her position earlier this month. She made the decision after accepting a job that would leave her little time for the responsibilities of the SGA.

“Usually the President takes over if there is no Vice President before the next SGA meeting, but we are going to have another Vice President,” says Jesse Versage, President of the SGA.

The SGA has already made arrangements for a replacement Vice President, but they could not release a name as of yet.

Though it was a hard decision, Dorie said that the amount of recruiting made it easier for her to leave and for the SGA to find a replacement in a short time.  She went on to say that the concept of commitment is very important and for those interested in the SGA that it was a great opportunity and looks good on a resume.

“I’m happy for her, and I would have done the same thing,” said Versage when asked if he had anything to say to the former Vice President. 

There are currently two open positions for the SGA, Attorney General and Treasurer.  Students can stop by the SGA office in the Wood Campus Center to get more information on how to apply.

“We would love your participation, put in an application you get paid for it,” said Versage when asked if he had any words for the student body.  


Blake’s Book Bag


By Blake Bouza

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review! I’m here to sift through the hundreds of thousands of books (for free) that are released each year to bring you the best of the bunch (good thing I love it so much).


Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day. He must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character.


The Dresden Files will always be a pure adrenaline ride with lots of moments that will make you think and reflect on the power of faith, love, and hope, often taking us to the darkest places in the Nevernever to do it. This is book 15, but let me persuade you to jump on the Harry Dresden, down-on-his-luck wizard for hire, bandwagon.

A major thing I love about this series is that it just never gets stagnant. Butcher always keeps it fresh and hilarious. You can get world-shattering events in one book (zombie-T-Rex stomping-through-downtown-Chicago doing battle with necromancers, no big deal) to intense character study in the next book. Both are equally fascinating. Never have I found myself saying, “here we go again,” a rarity with a series so long. These characters grow and change like real people should.

This urban fantasy series is a breath of fresh air in that it does not treat the topic of power – political or magical – lightly. Everything has a consequence; from accepting a favor to being the guardian of a special sword. It harps on this without seeming cliché or filler. This series has also tackled predestination and come out on top. Respectful and enlightened views on religion, too.

Skin Game itself seemed a bit disjointed in the beginning, the urgency of the mission undermined by the side trips Harry and company kept going on – but as always, every side adventure furthers the story and the characters so it is kind of necessary. These kinks are ironed out as we see that the side trips were necessary, like whoa.

If you’re new to the series give Storm Front, the first book, a whirl. You won’t be sorry.

A solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

President’s Ambassadors

Anthony Davidson//Contributing Writer


Dr. Jerry Faulkner, President of Volunteer State Community College has announced the following students as the new Ambassadors:

Jenny Hernandez of Gallatin; Brenly McDonald of Westmoreland; Brandon Herbert of Mount Juliet; Sarah Cody of Cookeville; KJ Kitchens of Lafayette; Peyton Leach of Hendersonville; Megan Ratliff of Gallatin; Charlotte Masiongale of Byrdstown; Whitney Dickerson of Riddleton; Kristen Dedman of Lebanon; and Allison Goodpaster of Hendersonville.

What exactly is a President’s Ambassador? “Ambassadors do a lot of door holding and other general public services for the community.

“Generally speaking, Ambassadors are very busy.

“We do a lot of tours for incoming students and act as a bridge between the Faculty and newer students.  We go around asking ‘Do you need any help; is there anything we can do for you,'” said Ratliff.

Ratliff says that students that wish to become Ambassadors must undergo a rigorous interview process, maintain 20 volunteer hours during the summer courses and the Maymester, and maintain 40 volunteer hours during the Fall and Spring Hours.KJ Kitchens also had some insight to the interview process and a clue to the rigidity in choosing Ambassadors.


“My interviews were really intense. This program is a really big deal because they have to make sure you meet the very precise criteria to represent Vol State as an

Ambassador,” said Kitchens.


Kitchens says “It’s almost impossible to give you a description of what my duties are other than this: Do anything anyone asks you to do.


“We give campus tours, but sometimes our duties could be figuring out how to plug in a crockpot and tape the power chord under a table so people won’t trip over it, holding doors, speaking at an event, or serving food.”


President Faulkner’s own testimony reinforces Ms. Ratliff’s point. “The Ambassadors are chosen through a rigorous process that begins with an application.  The process includes both written assessments and face-to-face interviews,” said Faulkner.



Along with this volunteer hour requirement comes a 3.0 GPA academic requirement.   “Even if you have your volunteer hours met, you should never be complacent and should continue volunteering,” commented Ratliff.


What does it mean to be an Ambassador?


Ratliff says that being an Ambassador means “giving your 110%.  Whenever we don’t do tours we help around the offices and serve at dinner events.  You have to give your best at all times, you are the face of the college,” said Ratliff.


Kitchens says “It really means a lot to me to be an Ambassador. I take pride in representing Vol State at all the events and showing it off to perspective students who come on tours.


“It’s sort of scary to think that what I do reflects on Vol State, but this has made me a better person because I love Vol State and I always want to be a good representative for the college.


“Being an Ambassador is a huge honor, and I am so thankful to have this incredible opportunity.


“Being an Ambassador has positively affected my life in more than one way. Being an Ambassador has allowed me to make friends and meet new people that I wouldn’t have met before, as well as becoming a more well-rounded student and person.”


The Settler also interviewed with President Jerry Faulkner.


Faulkner says “The Ambassadors program is a service scholarship program.  In return for serving as an ambassador for the college, students receive a scholarship that covers their tuition and fees. 


“Money for the scholarship is raised through the Volunteer State College Foundation, a separate non-profit organization that supports the mission of the college.”


Faulkner also says “Ambassadors serve in a variety of ways.  They give campus tours to visiting prospective students and represent the college at a variety of events.  They help out with both college and foundation functions. 

“Very often they are the “face” of our students in very public events.  They are often called on to share their personal stories with groups from outside the college.”

A Nation of Americans

Dustin W. Hodges//Contributing Writer 


Every generation has their special date in American history that will, to quote FDR, “live in infamy.”  For my grandparents generation this was the 7th of December in 1941,  For my parents it was the 22nd of November in 1963.   For me it was the 11th of September in 2001.   My grandparents and parents always said they would never forget where they were when their big event happened, and this generation should be no different.  

At precisely 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001 America’s destiny and that of its citizens  changed forever.  This tragic event brought America together in a way not seen in sixty years.  For a brief time there was no black or white, no Christian or Jew, no rich or poor, no Republican or Democrat.  On that horrible day, and for years to come, we were all simply American.  Just as after Pearl Harbor, Americans bonded together, donated, volunteered, and enlisted in record numbers to fight evil and bring freedom to the world.  

With all the controversy and violence in 2014/2015, people attacking cops, burning down neighborhoods, even shooting at firefighters, America needs to remember the ideology that attacked us 14 years ago has not been eradicated.  All this infighting is just what they want, to destabilize and destroy this great nation.  Each time our country is attacked, America has come together as one. It is a shame it takes such a tragedy to make us see that our minor differences really do not matter.  If we can remember what brought us to stand together, nothing can tear us apart.

Thousands have died fighting terrorism since September 11, 2001.  Many people know someone close to them who has given the ultimate sacrifice to defend your freedom.  Many of those who do return become first responders. Let us not forget the hundreds of officers, and firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11.  So the next time you see a police officer, or firefighter, know that one way or another they have risked their lives to keep you free, say thank you.   Next time you see a military veteran, buy that person dinner, she or he risked their life in defense of your freedom. If by chance you are lucky enough to meet George W. Bush, shake his hand and say thank you, his decision to fight terrorism head on is the reason an attack like September 11 has not happened since.  

Editorial on Staying Grounded in Situations

By Sara Keen//Editer-in-Chief

Society today seems to focus more on the bad in the world than the good.  It has become increasingly difficult to turn on the news without hearing of tragedy, war, violence, or crime.

Even social media is covered with upsetting news stories.  So often do you see posts of people “giving up on humanity” or not wanting “to live on this planet anymore.”

So how is it possible to stay vibrant or optimistic when it seems like everything is gloomy?

One has to remember that the world is complicated.  There is no split difference between good and bad.  The good often has some bad in it just as the bad often has some good.

Tragedies are capable of bringing people together, as well as making individuals stronger.  For example, following Hurricane Katrina, the devastation and destruction brought people together to rebuild the effected areas.

On a smaller scale, families can be brought closer by death or illness.  Individuals can even become stronger mentally, and grow as a person.

There is also bad found in what we conceive as good stories.  For example, society always thinks about how glamorous and great it would be to become famous.  In reality, a lot of people were not able to handle their newfound fame.  Some would succumb to drug abuse; others would unintentionally break away from their families.  

Even outside of the “limelight,” things we often wish would happen, like winning the lottery, have had very negative results on people.  Lottery winners have been known to be murdered for their money while everyone else dreams to be them.

Too much of a good thing can be bad, and some things that seem good actually aren’t that great.  

When an individual is faced with both good or bad news, the best thing to do initially is to stay calm, if at all possible.  This can help the individual to think over and take in what has happened, or even allow the capability of rational thinking.

Sometimes it could help to turn to a friend.  A good friend will welcome anything you have to share, and may help in any way they are capable.  Some individuals require this in order to remain rational.

Overall, do what you must to cope with, understand, or enjoy the news you have received.  Once you have overcome the initial news, it’s best to focus on how this impacts you.

If the news is devastating, it could have a “bright side,” that is not initially seen.  There could be something good that could come from it, so it is best not to focus entirely on the negative aspect of an event.

Good news can have a dark side to it.  Perhaps one’s high hopes are let down shortly after receiving the news, or what seemed like excellent news did not turn out as well as anyone had hoped.

It is perfectly okay to enjoy and celebrate when you hear good news.  It is simply helpful to remember that not all good things end as well as they started.

Everyone should remember to keep their heads on their shoulders, feet on the ground, and hopes held high.  It is not helpful to focus entirely on the bad or the good, but to understand that they intermingle, and exist together in the world.

Giving our veterans a chance to reconnect

By Melissa Farmer// Staff Writer 

Volunteer State Community College has quite a few veterans around campus.  One thing that will soon be available for veterans is a Veterans Center on campus.

Starting college after you have been in the military is quite an adjustment. Often times coming to college can be overwhelming for any students, and when it comes to veterans it can be more overwhelming than average. Being used to a strict schedule while serving in the military, then switching to college life where you get to schedule your classes whenever you choose, and just the over all freedom is a rough time.

“Veterans are kind of a different group, they’re used to being very structured, they’re used to working with adults. Once they get to college it’s usually a totally different environment for them. They can usually handle it, but it’s that transition period,” said Ken Hanson, who is a veteran himself and knows first-hand how this transition goes.

Working with the state, Vol State has plans to open a Veterans Center on campus “Veterans can go there to spend some time studying, work on computers, things they need for school. Or as a one stop shop for veterans so that way they don’t have to go all over campus as much.”

Hopefully with veterans connecting with each other, and other veterans who have gone through what they are experiencing it can be a more smooth transition and their college experience will be enjoyable.

The location of the veterans center is undetermined, so far, but there are plans to get this center up and running by Oct or Nov. Veterans connecting with other veterans is a very unique bond, “They know that each other have, as we’ve always said it, ‘stomped the same dirt’.”

Connecting with a group that has the same experiences and can know where you have come from can be an extremely beneficial bond when someone is in a new environment and trying to settle into a new life.

The ultimate goal is to get veterans to achieve their goal “We want to get them from the time they start here, till we can get them to the point where they can finish their program, graduate and hopefully move on to a much better world,” said Hanson.

The Veterans of Vol State definitely have something to look forward to in the upcoming months. When the Veterans Center is prepared and ready to be the base for these brave men and women, ads will be put out and more information will be available.

In the mean time, should you have any questions, contact Ken Hanson (Kenneth.hanson@volstate.edu) for details, questions or concerns.    


Letter on creating a cleaner campus

By Beth Cooksey// Vice President of Business and Finance

I would like to officially welcome all of our returning and new students to the fall semester at Volunteer State Community College.  I have had the privilege of serving as the Vice President for Business and Finance for over eleven years now.  Volunteer State is a great place and I am very proud of it.

As a new or returning student, I hope you are also proud of this College and the Gallatin campus.  In the time I have been here, I have seen plenty of changes to the physical campus.  We have had two major construction efforts, the completed Allied Health South construction and the Humanities Building that is currently underway.  We also had a significant construction project back in 2006 when a tornado did over $9 million in damages to our campus.  Following the tornado, we all pulled together and sacrificed some creature comforts while the campus was rebuilt.  For a while, it just wasn’t too pretty around Vol State, but eventually, the campus started to look nice again.

There are a lot of us on this campus who take a great deal of pride in how this campus looks and how it is evolving.  My point in writing this article is to ask for your help.  Please help us keep our campus beautiful.  When I see little things like gum on a campus sidewalk, I am distressed.  I am distressed because I personally know the hard working custodial team at Vol State will have to clean up something  that just shouldn’t have happened.  Our entire Plant Operations team is dedicated to creating a culture and atmosphere that are conducive to learning.  We want you to be comfortable in your classrooms and in the recreational space.  We want a clean and inviting campus.  Please help us keep Vol State beautiful.  

Thank you in advance for doing your part.  Together we can all have a great fall semester!

Movie night to feature Marvel film

Contributing Writer Anthony Davidson


The first logical question that a student asks when they hear about Movie Night: “What is it?”

According to Tabitha Sherrell of the Student Life and Diversity Office: “It is a community event.  You do not have to be a student to come and view the movie.  It roughly starts at dusk, approximately 7:30 or whenever the sun goes down that day. You can bring your blankets and your lawn chairs, and there will be concessions available. I know one of our student clubs will be providing popcorn.”

That said, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and enjoy the movie.  The movie is free because the college’s Student Government Association (SGA) has its own “blow-up screen.”

Movie Night allows students to bring their friends and families out to enjoy a free movie and have some fun, and non-students get the chance to watch a movie and enjoy an autumn night.  “If you are a student with your own children, this would be a perfect opportunity to bring your kids on campus and enjoy some time with them,” said Sherrell.

The next logical question: “How many students know about Movie Night?”

On a survey of students, the Settler found that 4 in 5 students asked did not know about the event. Advertisement of the event is strongly encouraged by Faculty and Staff.

This free showing takes place on the Volunteer State Community College quad, in the middle of Warf Sciences, Thigpen Library, Wood Campus Center, and the Pickle Fieldhouse.

This year’s showing will be Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on Sept. 18, 2015.

For students who haven’t kept up with the series and related films, the movie stars Scarlet Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Spader as the voice of the AI, Ultron.  The movie follows the storyline of the Marvel comic book series. The film is rated PG-13, due to language and thematic violence.

The  viewing is scheduled to be played on the quad, however, if the weather should not permit, it will be shown in the  carpeted dining room of Wood Campus Center.

Concessions will be sold and the proceeds from concessions will benefit the school’s clubs and programs.  The Settler does not currently have a list of specific concessions, but concessions will be available at the event.