Monthly Archives: March 2015

Get Involved – Be a Leader!

fbcover_sign3-22.jpgThe second best decision I’ve ever made, right behind the one that got me in college, was the decision to become involved. I remember in 2008 seeing a picture of a bunch of protestors upset about the bank bailouts and not being able to find a job. One person held a sign that said, “I have $80,000 in debt, a 4.0 GPA, and no job. Where’s my bailout?”

My first impression was that there was definitely a number of logical fallacies in play here, which could be an entire essay in itself. One of them, however, was that I knew it was somehow the former student’s fault and certainly not the government’s. After that, I wondered how someone could get into that much debt. Then I thought about what it would take to have that great a GPA, and yet have no job? What was this person’s degree?

I did some research and came to the conclusion that it was a very complicated process, and while I understood this process, I didn’t really have a personal connection to it. Then I got here and began to see it all for myself. I realized that not just anyone can get great grades, but plenty of students can.

The truth is often quoted, it is as true today as it was in that former student’s time in college, and will continue to be true going forward. If a student doesn’t demonstrate the willingness and ability to extend themselves beyond the classroom by taking on leadership roles, then there’s a near perfect certainty that when they go up against someone who did, they’re going to lose.

The reality is harsh, and too few students fully understand the weight of its meaning. It’s trying to teach a lesson to someone who has no grasp of possible ramifications, nor the perspective necessary to see beyond the moment.

College is an opportunity to expand what is called ‘human capital’ in economics. It’s the idea that you build your potential through education, work, training, and so forth. This is what the former student holding the sign missed.

My resume will shine, and when I’m ready to find a real job, I’ll hopefully have one waiting for me before I ever step across that stage. Why? Because I got involved.

By NVC Student Bryan McCluggage

Finding My Niche

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Northwest Vista College

I am an adult learner, returning to school after completing a bachelor’s degree, raising a family and having over 20 years of work experience.

I want an associate’s degree from NVC in order to build upon my skill set and to make myself more marketable for a career. When I graduated from college 15 years ago, experience was the most important trait employers looked for.

Today, employers are caught up in the letters and numbers following your name. They want to see degrees and certifications. While I want an associates from NVC, I have to pay for the entire degree out of my own pocket because there is not any financial aid for going backwards in school degree levels.

I returned to school, beginning with a certificate at NVC, in order to determine what would be my best route for continuing my education. While a master’s degree seems like the logical next step for someone who holds a bachelors degree, it isn’t always feasible. Graduate school is expensive. In the science fields, a master’s degree is often a stepping stone to a doctorate, but it it often does not help a person increase their salary value. Who wants to spend two years of their life and thousands of dollars to be worth the same rate they were worth with a bachelor’s degree?

Then there is determining which degree to pursue. Do I want to be a medical doctor, a pharmacist, a nurse, a professor or teach at a two-year school like NVC? Do I want to continue being a research scientist or administrator? Do I want a MBA? The questions are numerous.

I have taken multiple aptitude tests over the years. One skill that regularly appeared was working with computers. I was raised by computer engineers and software programmers. I have considered computers my evil step siblings.

NVC offered a Web Design course and I enrolled in it. I decided I might as well prove I was either good with computers or rule out that idea. Guess what? I fell for it. Web design is challenging and very rewarding when I create a properly functioning and aesthetically pleasing website. Then I took a programming class. Wow. This fully allowed me to get very technical and very specific. Programming is control! My lifelong love of building puzzles has now been translated into a skill set I can utilize for a rewarding career. The drawback to discovering computers after completing my bachelor’s degree is that many jobs, and most advanced degree programs, require a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I am not interesting in reinventing the wheel for my career.

Now, I finally have a much more finite focus. I am very well versed in the science of biology and healthcare. I have over four years of professional medical research experience. This is a skill set that I want to build upon. I have finally found a program that combines all of my career interests and a decent salary when completed. I am applying for a Master of Public Health program that focuses on Public Health Informatics. This is where I can see myself being happy and productive, applying my skill set to a field that helps many people live healthier and more productive lives. I am grateful for NVC being available and affordable enough for me to sort through my interests and discover my marketable talents, even after I completed my associates degree.

By NVC Student C. Kalyn Reim

Two Stress Relieving Massages to Give Yourself

HandsIts half-way through the semester! Are you feeling stressed out with homework and studying? Here are two massages you can easily do yourself to help with tight muscles and headaches.

Hand Massage

Your hand can definitely need a good massage from writing papers or typing documents. It could use a “recharge” on energy to write that mid-term paper.

How to do it:

  • Use your opposite hand and place your thumb with the nail facing upwards on the palm of your other hand.
  • Press gently and work your way up to the tip of your pinky finger. Start over from the middle of your hand to your pinky again, but this time, apply medium pressure. Then start over again, but use hard pressure.
  • Repeat the steps you did for your pinky finger, but apply them to the rest of your fingers. Then switch hands and start the whole massage over.

Neck and Shoulder Massage

Your neck is the No. 1 place to hold the entire stress of your body. If you have a constant problem with headache, massaging your neck is the answer to relieve the tension in those muscles.

How to do it:

Place both of your hands on your shoulders on the bottom of your neck. Gently squeeze and hold for about three seconds. Continue to do this up to the top of your neck where your skull is, making little circular movement with your fingers. The muscles right under your skull is mainly where tension headaches come from, so make sure you massage them well.

If these instructions didn’t work for you, here a video you can follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-DtnHFvpL0

As you do these massages, please don’t apply too much pressure as you can harm your muscles instead of relaxing them.

By NVC Student Tamara-Davida Lopez

The Challenge of Going Back to College

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If you think it’s hard enough going to college at your young age, think twice.

As a mom of two kids and wife of a wonderful husband, let me share my story…

Twenty-four years ago, we came to the USA with a 3-week old baby and a 2 year-old little girl, with the idea to stay only 3 years while my husband finished his training.

In my country, I had a wonderful career, which I had decided to put on hold for 3 years. After the first three years, another three years of training came, and then, after those 3 years, my husband received a good job offer. We decided that I would stay at home and raise the kids.

Time passed by and the kids began going to the school. Sadly, I considered myself being retired from my previous career and decided to take a new path or at least take the classes that have always interested me. I began a new professional adventure. But, everything was different now…and I had to confront many hurdles.

First, money. We already had to take out sizeable tuition loans for our children, so I could not even ask for my own loan. Otherwise, I would have to essentially sell my soul to the bank.

Second, my memory – Have you had those memory lapses where you don’t know what you were going to do or where you left your phone? OK, well, let me tell you that, at this point in my life, they are not momentary lapses anymore. They are always happening to me. Most of the time, I need to ask someone to call me to find my phone, to take a photo to remember where I parked my car or to use my phone just to add reminders. God bless you, iPhone!

And third, my accent – Sometimes when I am tired, it is very hard to speak English for me (it is my second language) and added to my heavy accent, it is the perfect storm of miscommunication. Sometimes when I am exhausted and talking with someone in English, I begin to see their eyes widen, as if to shout “what the heck is she trying to say?!” At this point, my mind begins to blocking out all coherent thoughts and no word comes out of my mouth. Then, I need to calm myself down, listen to what I am saying, and retake control of the situation.

As you can see, it is not easy to return to college, be a foreign student and a mom at the same time. But for me it does not matter, because every time that I come to school, I am so excited because I am going to learn new tools that are going to help me outside in the real world.

By NVC Student Martha Aceves

Get Involved: Join the C.A.T Crew

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Vista students volunteering for Habitat for Humanity

When I was a new student, I always saw a group of students helping out in events and I wanted to learn how I could get involved. I eventually asked the Student Life office how I could join in on the fun and they sent me an email about how to join the C.A.T Crew.

My first experience as a member of C.A.T. Crew was very interesting. I was a volunteer in Habitat of Humanity. I felt very nervous but excited at the same time. I did not know they do a lot of activities to help people off campus.

C.A.T. crew is very involved at Vista and are always hosting events for students. Some events that I volunteered for were breast cancer week and Halloween. My favorite was in November and the event was “Elf Willy,” which was to celebrate Christmas and give children presents. The crew wrapped all the presents for the families, who are in financial need. The next day they hosted a breakfast for the families.

I encourage students to join a club like this because it teaches the meaning of service. Joining the C.A.T. Crew is a grand opportunity to get involved, meet others and learn about your campus. To learn more about the C.A.T Crew, go here.

Contributed by NVC Student Shaila Ramirez