Monthly Archives: March 2014

Student Life: Down on the Farm

Preparing for Spring

by Emily Arnold

Well, nobody said it would be glamorous! Emily Arnold learns about the best ways to fertilize crops.

Well, nobody said it would be glamorous! Emily Arnold learns about the best way to fertilize crops.

The Freeman Ranch staff gave us permission to collect horse manure from the horse pen at the ranch. Horse manure is the best kind of manure for composting because of the animals’ digestive tract as well as their diet. They are by definition “hind-gut fermenters,” which means the absorption of nutrients from their food doesn’t begin until the end of the digestive tract. This makes their waste higher in nutrient content. Also, the horses at the ranch are fed entirely pesticide- and herbicide-free grass.

Once we collected the horse manure, we put some aside in a compost pile, and we applied some directly to rows that are currently empty. Because of the high nutrient content, we went in with rakes and manually tried to break it down and mix it into the soil. If we were to try and plant directly into the manure without letting it sit, the plants could get burned from high levels of nitrogen and die. We have been watering the rows with the manure in it to speed up the break down, and hopefully when we go to plant in week or so, the soil will be more fertile and give our plants some extra nutrition.

Students: Megan Holmes

Open to Opportunities: Grad student finds reward in her passion

by Megan Holmes

Photo of Megan Holmes

By expressing her opinions and taking a chance, Megan got an opportunity to expand her network and gather new insights. Well done!

I’m a Bobcat for life! I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in forensic psychology here at Texas State and I’m currently completing my master’s in agricultural education. My soul’s drive is to make an impact in the lives of high school students through agriculture.

One of the things I love most about Texas State are the dedicated professors.  The professors here have a genuine interest in my personal success. Continue reading

Exploring Majors: Dance

What’s it like to be a dance major?
Lauren Dorsett tells us.

by Mindy Green

Photo of Lauren Dorsett Q. When did you first know you wanted to study dance?
A. I started dancing when I was three and it’s always been my passion. When I was in high school, I helped teach at a studio. I realized I love to perform but I love to teach dance even more. So it was in high school when I said this is what I have to do for the rest of my life. I want to teach people to enjoy what I love.

Q. Were there other majors that you considered at any point? If so, why did you finally settle upon dance?
A. I’ve always wanted to help people; I didn’t put much consideration into anything other than teaching and now I’m going into dance education. There really wasn’t any other major I could see myself doing.

Q. How did you first learn about Texas State’s program?
A. I went online and typed in “dance programs in Texas” and Texas State popped up. Tuition here is decent and we have a program that lets you choose from four different degree plans: Dance education, performance & choreography and dance studies. Dance education is split in two, either single teaching or double teaching certification. I chose double teaching certification because I felt it would be more useful for what I wanted to do.

Q. What is your minor? Why did you choose that?
A. I’m minoring in Business Administration because I hope to someday open up my own dance studio.

Q. What made you decide to come to Texas State?
A. When I came to visit the campus, I really fell in love with the beauty of it. I felt like this could be a place I could call home.

Q. Did you have to audition? If so, what was that like?
A. We don’t have an audition process for dance education but there is an audition for the performance & choreography plan.

Q. What’s a typical day like for you at Texas State?
A. I’m doing what I love all day, so that’s great, but it’s very busy. Being a dance major means a lot of our classes are only one credit hour so we have full days taking technique classes, having our regular history classes on top of education classes, dealing with teaching, and then at night we have rehearsals if we’re in a company. They’re full days, but they’re enjoyable.

Q. Where are most of your dance classes? What is that building like?
A. Most of them are in Jowers. We have a close-knit community but we have only two studios and they’re really nice. We have great teachers and great faculty. Coming to Texas State and being taught by the faculty here has really helped me to see dance in a new way. Now I see dance more as an art form. Now I see the actual beauty of the art.

Q. What performance opportunities have you been given?
A. My first two years here, I was in Orchesis Dance Company and through that we had a performance every year. Now I’m in Merge Dance Company and this year we’ve had a lot of performance opportunities. There were two in the fall, one coming up this week, one in two more weeks and one at the end of the year. We get to perform a lot so it’s really nice.

Q. What do you want to do after you graduate?
A. If I can, I would love to perform some more. I hope to be picked up by a company or have some kind of opportunity to travel and perform. If not, I would definitely love to jump straight into teaching, whether in a public or private school system, and then eventually have my own studio.

Q. How has the program helped you achieve your goals?
A. It has definitely helped me to increase my ability as a dancer but I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about how to approach teaching students who may have had dance experience and also students who have not. This department is really big on kinesiology and whole body awareness — like what is the right position for every movement.

Q. What are your thoughts on the new Performing Arts Center?
A. It is beautiful and we’re really excited to be the first dancers to perform there. I definitely feel like this is an exciting time for the arts because we’re finally getting more recognition here at Texas State.

Q. What’s your advice to anyone who is considering being a dance major at Texas State?
A. To definitely do it! It’s been a wonderful experience for me. My best advice would be to do as much as you can while you’re here. This is the time for us to increase our technique and perform as much as we can.

 

Study Tips: Making the Most of Spring Break

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A relaxing new environment can be a great place to study.

Leave a little room for textbooks in your suitcase

by SLAC

Spring break is here at last. Unfortunately, semesters don’t always end when a college student’s vacation begins. Learning to manage working while enjoying your time off is an essential skill for college life and beyond!

First: Make a plan. Since your brain is still in college mode, take advantage of it. Just as you do in the regular semester, put what you have to get done and related deadlines on a calendar and make a schedule to be sure you study some each day and more on days you aren’t actively involved in extracurricular fun. Making a plan now will prevent stress later and keep you from completely losing the rhythm of academic life.

Tell your family, friends and roommates that you have some work to do over the break. Letting people know in advance that you must do some homework over the break will make it easier for you to get it done. This way you won’t have to deal with others’ disappointment when you can’t do everything they’d planned with them. Also, they’re more likely to help by reminding you of your plans and giving you space and time to stick to them.

Keep up on your sleep and nutrition, and avoid ill people if possible. You don’t want to have to make up for losing a week of classes after coming back from a week off and get that much further from your college work and world.

Use the city library if you need a quiet place. Working at home, or wherever you’re spending break, may be difficult. Don’t forget that city libraries are almost everywhere (including tropical Spring Break getaways). They can be great places to work for a few hours in peace.

Use time waiting in airports, on long car rides or during bad weather days to study. Even intermittent studying will help your retention and processing and make returning to academic life easier. Use earplugs to block noise, or if you feel like you might need a disguise to avoid being forced to converse, wear earbuds and take an iPod and pretend it’s on when studying in a public place.

Just as important as studying regularly and using downtime to work is making back-up copies of your materials. Carrying notes and computers opens the possibility that they may get lost or damaged. Make back-up travel drives, e-mail work, photocopy or scan in notes, and, as always, save your work in at least two places.

Finally, if this is an appropriate time in your academic career to gain real-world experience, consider alternate Spring Break trips that focus on volunteer work for well-known organizations. These may include local entities such as Habitat for Humanity or domestic violence shelters. Some trips could involve living on and working at a camp for the disabled, a Native American reservation, a nature reserve, or going out of the country. Regardless of where you go, volunteer work can broaden your perspective and shape your goals.

Have a great break, Cats!

Sources:

Kelci Lynn Lucier

http://collegelife.about.com/od/academiclife/a/breakhomework.htm

Susan Fitzgerald, MA and J. Lee Peters, EdD

http://www.netplaces.com/college-survival/winter-and-spring-breaks/why-study-during-break.htm

http://www.netplaces.com/college-survival/winter-and-spring-breaks/alternate-spring-break-experiences.htm

http://www.varsitytutors.com/blog/best+study+tips+for+spring+break

 

Study Tips: Channel Your Inner Google Map

Map your way to
successful essay writing

by SLAC

When you read an essay question, do you get a headache? Does your brain go blank? Try comparing taking essay tests to using Google Map or another map search engine. Principles that achieve good map search results also work for answering essay questions.

1. GET DIRECTIONS

Read the question thoroughly. Details determine the route you take in your explanation.

Search tip: Identify specifics in an essay question so you don’t waste time on false starts and explanations that are loose or dead ends.

 2. ASSESS THE MOST EFFICIENT ROUTE

Make an outline of relevant information to make clear connections, organized by main and subordinate ideas.

Search tip: Link relevant ideas into a navigable whole. If links or chains of reasoning are random or chaotic, your answer could miss the mark.

3. PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Visualize action words to find your lines of arguments:

  • ANALYZE – provide an in-depth exploration of a topic, considering components of ideas and their interrelationships
  • EXPLAIN – clarify, interpret, give reasons for differences of opinion or of results; analyze causes
  • ILLUSTRATE – justify your position or answer a question using concrete examples
  • TRACE – describe the evolution, development or progress of the subject step-by-step, sometimes using chronological order
  • COMPARE/CONTRAST – emphasize similarities and/or differences between two topics; give reasons pro and con
  • PROVE – argue the truth of a statement by giving factual evidence and logical reasoning
  • CRITICIZE – express your judgment about the merit, truth or usefulness of the views or factors mentioned in the question and support your judgment with facts and explanations
  • EVALUATE – appraise, give your viewpoint, cite limitations and advantages, include the opinion of authorities, and give evidence to support your position
  • INTERPRET – translate, give examples, or comment on a subject, usually including your own viewpoint
  • REVIEW – examine and respond to possible problems or obstacles in your account

Search tip: Use the essay question as your guide to choose the line(s) of argument that allows you to make your strongest, most concise argument. Then, map your answer!

4. PRINT OUT YOUR MAP

If your professor allows, take in an outline or more than one outline of essay questions, but be SURE this is okay before you do this. If you can’t take in an outline, go in with one (or more) in your mind and write it inside of your bluebook or on your paper first thing. This helps when you can’t remember something because of stress. It also helps you stay calm and focused during tests.

You’ve got this, Bobcats! For more great study tips, visit SLAC online.