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.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is not your average television series

On Oct. 31. 2010, the television network AMC premiered a show called ìThe Walking Dead.î

Originally a graphic novel series, the show was an instant cult classic, even spawning a series of video games, novels and action figures.

The Walking Dead is not your average television series.

It is a representation of a post-apocalyptic, zombie filled, dark story.

The main cast on the show reflect a diverse, almost unlikely bunch of characters.

They have a sheriff, a redneck, a city girl, a samurai, children, and more.

The series has a way of reminding us what is truly important in life.

All of the technology, fancy things and money that most humans thrive for, are all superficial.

It reminds us that what matters most in the world are the relationships we have and the people we love.

The shows first season was such a success, that four more seasons have followed.

Sarah Eichhorn, professor at University of California Irvine, found the show so interesting that she decided to start a course called, ì Society, Science, Survival: Lessons From AMCís, ì The Walking Dead.î

According to the schools website,, the eight week course is designed for students to learn how to apply mathematics and formulas to project certain aspects of a species survival or extinction.

It also shows how equations can help access the use of vaccinations, treatments and better weapons.

ìIt is basic survival. How much fuel? How much food?  How much ammunition?î said Eichhorn.

ìFans of the show know itís about more than just zombies.

“Itís about survival, leadership and adapting to situations that are perilous and uncertain,î said AMCíS Theresa Beyer, vice president of promotions and activation.

According to, The Walking Dead boasted more than 17 million total viewers in 2014.

11 million of which were in the coveted 18-49 age demographic, according to TV Guide.

Season 5 of the series returned Sunday, Feb. 8, at 8 p. m., central time.

Will they ever find their way to a ìsafe place?î Or is the whole world a zombie filled waste land? Hopefully the writers reveal the answers, someday.

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.

Soul Food luncheon celebrates black literary figures

African American Student Union (AASU), a club at Volunteer State Community College, is preparing for its annual Soul Food Luncheon this Wednesday, at noon, in the Carpeted Dining Room.

The event is open to all students and will concentrate on Black literary figures.

This luncheon is the clubís most highly attended event, with ninety-six attendees the previous year.

Although it will be slightly different this year, since there is no active AASU, the club said they still expect it to be just as popular.

ìLast year there was a huge turnout, we even had a piano brought in,î said Lori Miller, secretary II of the office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives (SLDI).

Traditional soul food, of different varieties, has been served over the years.

From fried, baked, and barbeque chicken all the way to corn bread and sweet potatoes.

The Vol State community supplies, prepares, and even serves some of the food.

While students are encouraged by the college to bring their own lunches, they may want to save room for dessert that will be provided by SLDI.

The Soul Food Luncheon is the second event that AASU has planned Black History month.

ìItís a great club thatís really important, especially with everything thatís been going on lately,î said Miller.

Any student interested in joining AASU should contact its President, Ashlyn Challenger at for information.

VISA and Service Learning encourage participation in upcoming food drive

Volunteer State Community Collegeís student clubs, VISA International Club and Service Learning Club, are asking Vol State students and anyone in the community to help with a food drive for Sumner County United Way to restore pantries in homes around the community.

The food drive is from Feb. 2-13.

VISA and Service Learning are teaming with ìThe United Way of Sumner County Winter Food Driveî to hand out food to families living in the Sumner County area.

ìWe are happy to co-sponsor the food drive. I wish for no person to be hungry,î said Kay Grossberg, associate professor of humanities.

Grossberg said the goal is to try and get people aware that there are very unfortunate families living in the Sumner County area.

The clubs said they want to collect as many food items and volunteers as possible.

ìI would love to see Vol State support the community, for more than just education, but also to support the health and welfare in the community,î said Lauren K. Collier, executive assistant to the president of Vol State.

The clubs said this food drive is for families around the Sumner County that are going through difficult times, and are in need of help.

ìVISA is always looking to get involved with others in the surrounding area and at Vol State Community College,î said Dr. Tonya Daniels, associate professor of spanish.

The Vol State International Club and Service Learning Club said they are challenging all Vol State classes and clubs to donate as many items as possible and that there is also a contest for any classes and clubs that would like to have a pizza party.

All clubs and classes have to donate at least 50 cans to be entered into the contest.

VISA and Service Learning have requested food items like peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, ramen noodles, Mac & cheese etc.Ö but said they will accept whatever donators can give.

Students and staff can drop off items at Caudill 222, Gibson Hall 102, Mattox 101, Ramer Great Hall, Wallace 102, Warf 100, Warf 126, and Wood 217.

Slam Poet Odd Rod visits Vol State and talks about inspiring and giving to people

Slam poet, Odd Rod visited the Vol State Gallatin campus Wednesday, Feb. 4 in the Mary Cole Nichols Tiled Dining Room.

He presented his life story through poems entitled; ìSeen Me Then,î ìPlus Size,î ìPumpkin Pie,î ìVillage Helper,î ìTranscripts,î ìUse Me,î ìPretend,î ìI Donít Need No Mic,î and ìThe Listener.î

Odd Rod interacted with students and opened the floor to questions between poems.

The students even participated in the poem, ìI Donít Need No Mic.î

He wrote the poem ìPlus Sizeî for his mother to encourage her to have a positive self-image regardless of her size.

ìYou ainít got to cut and paste; no need to suck in your gut. You were gorgeous as you came and thereís no need to discuss, making changes. You are stainless and your size… is a plus.

Odd Rod, Roderick Borisade, found his inspiration early in life when he was 13 years old.

His brother died of brain cancer, his mother was on drugs and his father was not around.

He credits Tupac, an American rapper, for inspiring him to get out of the hood and to be a spoken word artist.

He got his self-proclaimed nickname at an early age when he realized he was different from his peers and he would be going up against the odds.

ìSomeone told me that my education would get me anywhere I wanted to go and I put that to the

test,î said Odd Rod.

Odd Rodís hard work and studies paid off when he received a full scholarship to the University of Northern Florida.

He learned graphic design and eventually designed his own cds.

The ìHeroís Sermonî was a poem written to honor his grandfather.

ìI treat my grandpa like my father cause he raised me like his son.

ìHad a dad who wouldnít bother seeing who I would become. Watched my mama fight with drugs.

“They say you cannot choose your folks. Wouldnít change them if I could, because they forced me to hope,î said Odd Rod.

Odd Rod said his most memorable show was at a rehabilitation center where his mother was being treated.

He also said he really enjoys performing at correctional institutions, giving them hope and providing inspiration.

Vol State freshman Terra Cliburn said the performance ìwas heart-touching and relatable.î

ìI really liked it! Hopefully yíall can get him to come again,îsaid Jazmine Reed, a student.

ìIt was very inspirational,î said Dee Durnley, a student.

Odd Rod has created a nonprofit organization in honor of his brother and said that ìgiving is the gift.î He continues to tour the country spreading his message.

Honors Program panel discusses digital technology and millennials

Volunteer State Community College had an Honors discussion panel on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 12:20 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library.

It consisted of a panel of students who, when given questions from other Vol State students, would voice and discuss their answers and opinions.

The moderators of the panel were Shannon Lynch, assistant professor of philosophy; and Melissa Tyndall, instructor of communication.

The questions and the discussion were based on Digital Technology and Millennials.

Those panelists were: Honey-Rae Swan, vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA); Elena Cruth; Ariel Cornett; Cliff Taylor; Timothy McCall; Michael Clark, president of the Artisanís Alliance; and Adam Parks, online editor for The Settler.

The first question for the panel was, ìIs there an overblown stereotype of Millennials and their obsession of Digital Technology?î

ìIt is unavoidable to not use technology,î said Cruth.

The consensus of question one was, while some may over use technology, it is an important part of our society that continues to grow.

The second question was, ìDo you think that Digital Technology/Social Media encourage Millennials to be inauthentic online?î

ìI believe it gives people the opportunity to show their true selves,î said Parks.

ìIt literally gives you an opportunity to edit your life,î said Clark.

As the discussion continued, the next question asked was, ìIs Digital Media altering language? For Example: Is LOL or texting acronyms leaking into our everyday language use?î

Dr. Merritt McKinney, director of the Honors Program, expressed his opinion about the subject matter and discussed how the line of formality in student emails has begun to dwindle.

The panelists agreed that words are evolving due to technological advancements and its impact on the younger generations as well as older generations.

Out of 10 total questions, five were thoroughly discussed.

The ones not asked were according to the panel print out, ìHow is Digital Technology changing the way we document history? Is Digital Technology (search engines and social media) making Millennials lazy and also contributing to the spreading of misinformation on the internet? Where do you think ethics, in Digital Technology, should be practiced?, etc.î

McKinney and Clark provided additional comments after the lecture concluded.

ìI will say that a sure sign of a good discussion is that the participants and the audience wanted to keep talking after the presentation officially ended,î said McKinney.

ìThe questions were amazing! They really made me think about the way I use digital technology and its importance in todayís society.

ìThe questions had a lot of audience response, in fact some of the questions were discussed before they were asked,î said Clark.

“I think it was crucial for Vol State to give students the opportunity to voice their opinions on this issue, especially because people in academia are often bombarded with just the negative stereotypes about the Millennial generation,” said Tyndall.

Governor Bill Haslem talks education

Governor Bill Haslam attended the Tennessee Press Associated Winter Conventionís Press Institute and Tennessee Collegiate Media Summitís Luncheon, on Thursday, Feb. 5, as the guest speaker.

The event took place at the Double Tree Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

After recollecting on his history in press, Haslam spoke regrettably about the results of his controversial Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans, which failed in The Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Haslam stressed the importance of the failed proposalís potential to assist low-income Tennesseans while simultaneously assisting issues with healthcare deficits.

Haslam also spoke about his administrationís efforts and hopes surrounding the upcoming changes to primary, secondary and collegiate education throughout Tennessee.

Tennessee Ready (TN Ready) will be replacing the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) standardized testing as the assessment tool for students in primary and secondary education levels during the next academic year.

Haslam stated, under TCAP standardized testing, 70 percent of Tennessee students entering college needed remedial work, while 90 percent tested to be proficient with their TCAP results.

Under new standards, Haslam said he feels their assessment is greatly important to evaluate and prolong their success.

Primary and Secondary education instructorsí assessments will rely on TN Ready results for 35 percent. Haslam projected that 100,000 more students will be proficient at their grade level and 57,000 more students will be proficient in math and science.

Haslam said he hopes TN Ready will better prepare students for higher education and the soon-to-be implemented Tennessee Promise will enable those students to attend community colleges across the state.

Governor Haslam took five questions following his speech, three of which concerned the Tennessee Promise.

Amanda Clark, a student from Austin Peay State University, asked the governor about his plans assisting four-year universities to compensate or combat the loss of enrollment resulting from community college freshman and sophomore influx of Tennessee Promise applicants.

ìFour-year universities need to step up their game, so to speak. These universities will have more junior and senior students to compensate for the loss in their larger introductory courses,î replied Haslam.

Additionally, Haslam spoke about the responsibility of four-year universities to differentiate themselves from community college campuses to recruit incoming freshmen and that their efforts to recruit may become more focused on community colleges as opposed to high schools.

Volunteer State Community College student, Michael Clark, questioned the governor about the possible decrease in quality of education as a result of the sudden increase in quantity of students at community colleges.

Haslam projects that state efforts at the primary and secondary levels will prevent this from occurring, but there is no plan to prevent this in place.

Haslam closed questioning and surprised media students with a parting ìselfieî featuring themselves and their governor.

Unity Day event coming soon to Volunteer State

Unity Day will take place Jan. 28, between 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Wemyss Auditorium in the Noble Caudill Hall at Volunteer State Community.

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, director of Student Life and Diversity (SLDI), said Unity Day is scheduled to follow Martin Luther King Jr. Day and precede Black History Month. The event will highlight the social movements and people that inspired these commemoratives.

“Though the festivity of diversity on campus will be concentrated, it will still focus on the celebration of minority groups’ culture and history in America,” said Lori Miller, secretary II of SLDI.

In celebration of Unity Day, Dr. Thomas L. Bynum will provide a lecture in his area of expertise surrounding African American History and the American South. Bynum is an instructor, historian, author, award-winner and community leader. Bynum will have a book signing at the 7 p.m. event for his book.

According to his biography on the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) faculty webpage, Bynum is the director of the African American studies program, an associate professor of history and a doctoral graduate faculty member at MTSU. He has been faculty advisor for the African American Student Union and is currently the advisor for Sankofa, a campus based student organization.

Bynum received his B. S. at Barton College, his M. A. at Clark Atlanta University and his Ph.D. at Georgia State University.

Bynum teaches undergraduate and graduate courses concerning African American History and the American South at MTSU. Courses concentrate on civil rights and black power movements, youth activism, antiwar protest and second wave feminism throughout American History.

Bynum’s publications include: NAACP Youth and the Fight for Black Freedom; “We Must March Forward: Juanita Jackson and the Origins of the NAACP Youth Movement”; “Documenting the NAACP’s First Century” in Journal of African American History and “The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee” in Tennessee Electronic History Reader.

Bynum is working on another publication for the Journal of African American History titled “Old Guard verses New Guard: Young Turks, Black Power and the NAACP.”

In addition to publications, Bynum has received awards that include the Southern Regional Education Board Scholars Program Dissertation Award, the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholar, and the W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow (Harvard University) National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute.