Category Archives: Students

Exploring Majors: Agriculture

What’s it like to be an agriculture major? Dorothy Bell tells us.

By Brittnie Curtis

Being an outstanding student takes focus and motivation.

Being an outstanding student takes focus and motivation.

Q: What fueled your interest to major in animal science?
A.
I grew up with a golden retriever that was the same age as me. When I was younger, I started volunteering with animals at the rescue organizations that you often see outside of pet stores. I’ve loved animals my entire life and have always wanted to help them.

Q: Why did you decide to attend Texas State?
A.
One of the reasons is that it’s close to home, and it’s a growing school. Another reason is that I want to go the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences after I graduate, and a lot of the curriculum for the animal science major at Texas State is tailored to what A&M wants.

What were you unsure about when you first arrived at Texas State?
A.
College in general really scared me. I thought I was going to fail. I was nervous about taking notes because you never take notes in high school; you just sit there and listen. It’s weird coming from high school where you have four to seven classes a day, then going to college where you have two or three classes a day and it’s not the same every day. I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up and would be overwhelmed. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from an orientation leader – treat your school like your job. You have eight hours every day and you should spend that on school and the rest of the time you can do whatever you want.

Q: What would you tell high school seniors who have the same fears?
A.
Try your hardest, but also have fun. The summer before college I was so scared to leave all of my friends. Then the semester starts and you have to embrace it; just take everything as it comes. Think about your future and what kind of grades you want to make. It’s really important to have a good study space – a spot that means all business. You can’t goof off in the spot that you’re studying in. I guess time management is one of the biggest things that you have to learn to do.

Q: What was your daily schedule like?
A.
My first semester I had a few 8 a.m. classes, and I never missed a class. While in class I would take notes and try to understand everything. I’d go back to my dorm and if I didn’t understand something, I would read about it in the textbook. That way when it came time for testing and we got our reviews, I would be prepared.

Q: What would you tell prospective students about the department of agriculture?
A.
All of the people are friendly and have the biggest hearts. They really care about the Earth and how you can use it in positive ways, like agribusiness. It’s a way of using the Earth’s resources to further your business without being detrimental to the environment.

Q: Were you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
A.
I was involved in the pre-vet society. It’s all pre-vet students who need good grades for veterinarian school, so it’s like a support group. Whenever we’d go to the meetings, they were always informational. They give you tips on what you need to prepare to go to vet school. They also told us about the GRE test that we would need to take to get into vet school. Even as a freshman, it was nice to get a chance to see what was ahead.

Q: What are your goals as you continue on your college education?
A.
I want to make a lot of connections and friends that are more like me and can relate. I want to be confident in myself, and I want to know what I want to do, even if it isn’t being a vet; I just want to love what I do. I also want to try to make the Dean’s List most semesters.

Q: You won the Outstanding Freshman Student award from the Department of Agriculture. What advice would you give incoming freshman who are striving to do the same?
A.
It’s all about motivation. You need to be motivated to reach your goals. When your professors tell you what they think you should do to get a good grade, do it. Also, don’t be afraid to go to office hours because that’s their time dedicated to help you. At the same time, don’t just kill yourself with all academics. Try to have fun, go to the river and experience San Marcos and even Austin. Get the college experience, but stay focused, because you only have four years to build yourself up. Either you or your parents are paying for your education, so you should strive to make the best out of it.

Around Campus: Summer Resources

Summer school survival tips

by Brittnie Curtis

Summer school has begun and campus is filled with Bobcats again. If you’re one of those students hiking around campus, you might want to know some of the resources available to you this summer.

Summer sessions are a great way to get on the fast track to graduation.

Summer sessions are a great way to get on the fast track to graduation.

Transportation Services - Twitter and Facebook
Bobcat Shuttle. Shuttle hours are different in the summer. The system is in operation during all class days. Monday – Friday service runs between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. for most shuttle routes on class days and during final exams. On the Bobcat Shuttle page, you can find the summer schedule, mapsalternative transportation and much more.

Parking Services - Permit are  available for purchase and are valid until August 15, 2014. Take a look at the parking map before coming to campus to make sure you know where your permit allows you to park. Give Parking Services a call at 512.245.2887 if you have more questions.

Dine On Campus
Summer I meal trades have started and the summer hours for dining halls have been posted. If you don’t have a meal plan yet, don’t worry! All prices can be found online and are fairly easy to purchase. You can also keep up with them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for tips on diets, food nutrition and healthy living.

Alkek Library - Twitter and Facebook
The library will be filled with students again studying for summer session I. Make sure you know when the library hours are!

Student Health Center - Twitter and Facebook 
Did you know that you can make appointments with the Student Health Center during the summer? Students who graduated in the spring can also still take advantage of the resources the Student Health Center has to offer. On the health center webpage, you can find the hours that they’re open, the clinical services that they provide and vaccination information.

Campus Recreation - Twitter and Facebook
You’d be surprised at the amount of services that Campus Recreation has to offer over the summer. The list seriously goes on and on. One of the main places students might be interested during the summer is the Student Recreation Center, where you’ll find group exercises, the Rock Wall and an indoor pool.

Texas State MobileAndroid and Apple 
A lot of the information in this post can be found at one central location — the Texas State Mobile App! It really is a lifesaver. From bus schedule and library hours, to news updates and your class schedule, the app has it all. It’s a great way to access information quickly and efficiently.

All in all, there’s a lot you need to know going into the summer school sessions. We’ve tried to provide you with quick shortcuts to most of that information. If we’ve missed anything, you can tweet us and we’ll try our best to point you in the right direction.

Have a great summer, Bobcats!

Student Life: The Job Hunt

Bobcats find job-search assistance through Career Services

By Brittnie Curtis

Finding a job is easier with the help of Career Services.

Finding a job is easier with the help of Career Services.

The spring semester is finally over. Some students will be soaking up the sun this summer at Sewell Park, but others may want to find a job. Now is a good time to do that. With students graduating, traveling and going home, many employers need to hire new staff to fill newly empty positions.

To help with your job search, take advantage of the resources available at Career Services. Among the services you’ll find there are résumé review, career counselors and advisors, and Jobs4Cats, a real-time list that allows students and alumni to create an on-line profile. Having a Jobs4Cats profile gives you easy access to on- and off-campus jobs and internships around the world.

“Our goal is to assist students with any part of their job-search process,” says Allison Birk, career advisor and liaison to the College of Fine Arts and Communications. “That could be sophomore or juniors looking for internships, seniors preparing their first full-time position or alumni considering transitioning to a new position.”

How do you maximize your chances of getting called for an interview? Birk suggests having someone review your résumé before sending it out to potential employers. You can schedule an appointment with her or any other of the career advisors and counselors at 512.245.2645, or you use the online 48-hour résumé critique site.

Birk also recommends paying close attention to the details listed in the job description. “Review job requirements and applications instructions because each may be different. Always include your summer class schedule when applying to jobs for scheduling purposes.”

Career Services is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the summer. Make an appointment by calling 512,245,2645.

With all of this information, you should be ready to start your job hunt. Good luck, Bobcats!

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

Student Organizations: H.E.A.T.

Compassion knows no borders

by Audrey Webb

The Human-Environmental-Animal Team (H.E.A.T.) is a community service organization dedicated to humanitarian work, environmental conservation and animal welfare, all while focusing on positive activism. Rather than focusing on conventional sad statistics and depressing photos, H.E.A.T. aims to incorporate humor, art and creativity into projects to help solve real-world issues.

In September and October of 2011, Bastrop community members experienced tragic losses during the fires that swept the area. A Texas State student wanted to find a way to help. She found the opportunity through H.E.A.T., one of Texas State’s 360+ student organizations. Continue reading

National Student Exchange Deadline Approaching!

Broaden your horizons through exchange studies

by Lisa Chrans

Have dreams of studying in Hawaii? Maybe California? Does Puerto Rico or Canada interest you? Take courses in another state or Canada through Texas State’s domestic student exchange program, the National Student Exchange (NSE).

The NSE program gives you the opportunity to earn credit for out-of-state courses. These Bobcats went to Hawaii!

The NSE program gives you the opportunity to earn credit for out-of-state courses. These Bobcats went to Hawaii!

 

NSE allows you to take courses at an out-of-state college or university for one or two semesters and transfer them back toward your Texas State degree — all for IN-STATE TUITION!  You lose no time toward your TXST graduation plan and financial aid does apply. Read some student testimonials for a better sense of what the program can do for you.

The application due date for a Fall 2014 and/or Spring 2015 exchange is Tuesday, February 25.  You may also call 512.245.2259 or e-mail lc19 AT txstate.edu.

Study Tips: Getting Back on Track in Spring

Ten helpful tips that guarantee a successful spring semester

by Texas State SLAC

Photo of a student getting tutoring help

1. Reconnect with other students.

Seek out students from the previous semester’s classes, organizations, living arrangements and work. Building upon acquaintances can lead you to form study partners and future friendships. Plus, being socially involved gives balance to a stressful life. And don’t hesitate to talk first to those you recognize on campus. It is easier to speak the first time you see someone than the next.

2. Get in touch with professors you enjoyed. 

E-mail or stop by during their office hours to thank them. Let them know specifically what you liked about their classes. This helps them recall you if they write recommendation letters for you later and makes it more likely that they consider you for research positions, internships or other jobs. Also, having a faculty friend can help negotiate academic bureaucracy!

 3. Buy your books before classes start and begin reading them.

Some classes have reading assignments due the first day. Check each course’s TRACS site to see if yours do. Order any books that aren’t available yet. Then find copies of them in the library, and keep up with your reading there. This helps prevent your being overwhelmed by readings you haven’t done yet as tests, projects and papers are given.

4. Make a good first impression.

Getting your books ahead of time and doing any pre-semester homework will also make a good impression on your professors and classmates. If you come in without assigned homework on the first day, you won’t impress anyone. Others naturally take a student who comes prepared from the start more seriously.

 5. Manage your academic time by creating two calendars: one with short- and one with long-term assignments.

Once you get syllabi from your professors, record weekly and semester assignments. Get one wall calendar with all 12 months on it so that you can keep long-term assignments, due dates, registration information, organizational commitments and other important dates in front of you. After this, use a monthly planner and assign each piece of homework to a certain day each week. This will help you visualize and anticipate your workload and plan ahead for weeks when you are balancing weekly assignments with term projects. Also utilize electronic calendars, such as the free Gmail calendar feature. This allows you to color code events by class, amongst other things — another helpful way to picture what you need to do.

6. Make a weekly schedule.

On this put all of your class, work, study times, organizational commitments, meal times, and even breaks. Sticking to this schedule as closely as possible can help bring stability into your life. The “SLAC Daily Schedule” under the Student Learning Assistance Center’s (SLAC) drop-down menu at http://www.txstate.edu/slac/subject-area/study-skills/time-management.html can help you do this.

7. Get your finances in order.

This will not only ensure that you have enough money to finish the semester, but also it will lighten stress as the semester becomes increasingly difficult.

8. Find out where to go for help — now.

In case you need tutoring, physical, or mental health assistance later, find out where those services are on campus. Look at the academic services offered at SLAC by visiting our website at http://www.txstate.edu/slac/. Then, check out SLAC’s list of other campus academic services at http://www.txstate.edu/slac/othersupport.html. On Texas State’s homepage, look under the drop-down menu for Current Students at http://www.txstate.edu/ for information about other services, including medical, financial, and recreational. Finally, look at http://www.counseling.txstate.edu/ for information on obtaining counseling should you need it.

9. Locate healthy outlets for fun and relief from stress.

Joining a student organization related to your interests can help, as can visiting the campus recreational facilities. Look again under Current Students on Texas State’s home page and on other drop-down menus there for hints about where to find these things and what’s new to do at Texas State. Venture off campus, too, to see movies, eat out and find activities that take you beyond the world encompassed by the university!

10. Set goals and make commitments.

Doing this makes you far more likely to achieve what you came to college to learn to do in the first place! Remember to make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, realistic, and time-oriented (with concrete deadlines, some short-, others long-term).

And have a great spring semester!

 

Bobcat Faces: Haydyn Jackson

December grad creatively merges diverse fields of studies

By Mindy Green

Photo of Haydyn Jackson

Jackson’s artwork is inspired by the study of culture and human interaction.

When Haydyn Jackson first enrolled at Texas State, she declared art and design as her major. As she started getting into her upper-level classes, however, she decided to pursue a different field. Jackson found herself drawn to anthropology, and eventually she switched her major. “The idea of studying culture and the way people interact and socialize seems really important,” Jackson says.

After switching majors, art was no longer Jackson’s primary focus. Her professors, however, encouraged her to continue to develop her artistic talents. She credits Ashe Laughlin, senior lecturer in the School of Art and Design for helping her decide to keep art as a minor. “He wouldn’t let me give up on it,” she says.

Dr. Teri Evans-Palmer also played a big role in Jackson’s college career by supporting her and helping her find the connection between anthropology and art. “Haydyn always seemed to want to go beyond learning about techniques and skills to find out more about the artists that produced artifacts left on the earth,” says Evans-Palmer. “What cultural or social phenomenon initiated this type of imagery? What happened in the lives of these cultures, the social context, that initiated this type of work? Her investigations that led her into producing art have such an obvious scientific methodology to the process.”

There is no conflict between Jackson’s two passions. Instead, anthropological studies have given Jackson new sources of inspiration. “Anthropology informs my art,” she says. “My subject matter and ideas all stem from the way I see myself interacting with society and the way I see society interacting with me.”

There are additional benefits: “Anthropology has given me the best skills learning how to listen to people and work cooperatively,” Jackson says. Jackson is using these skills in a variety of art initiatives, such as curating exhibitions, showing her own artwork in galleries and coordinating art walks around town.

After graduation, Jackson plans on seeking a job in an art gallery and eventually continuing her studies in graduate school. One of the greatest lessons she learned at Texas State is also her best advice to others: “Follow what you love to do,” Jackson says, “and everything you need will fall into place.”

Students: Gerardo Antonio Feria

A student from
both sides of the border

IMG_20131108_223146by Reginald Andah

One of Gerardo Antonio Feria’s favorite sayings is “Be the change you want to be in the world.” Taking that advice to heart, Feria came to Texas State, where he is completing a master’s degree in criminal justice — a degree that will help him make the difference he envisions.

“Contributing to making this world a safer place is one of the biggest concerns not only of this country, but everywhere,” says Feria. “I believe my education can give me the specific skills I need to make a positive impact.”

The journey to Texas was a homecoming for the 26-year-old Feria. Born in Houston, he moved with his family at age 2 to Mexico, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in law from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla in 2009. Feria considered his degree to be just one step along the path to his career goals. “I decided to push forward in my education so I could be considered a high standard candidate. I want to be above average in the job market,” he says.

Searching online for a master’s degree program brought him to Texas State, and a campus visit sealed the deal.

“The first time I saw the San Marcos River, I knew this was the place I wanted to call home,” he recalls.

Moving more than 2,300 miles from his family didn’t deter Feria. His ambition pushes him beyond obstacles. “I like big challenges, so whatever I do, I always make sure to complete it,” he says.

Between classes, studying, volunteering and work, Feria has a schedule that would make most people buckle. He slowed down just long enough for us to ask him a few questions about his Texas State experience.

Q. Why did you choose Texas State?
A. Texas State is a unique university because it is open to cultural diversification. It feels like home to me, not to mention it has an excellent criminal justice program. The professors are so brilliant and at the same time so friendly and humble.

Q. What are your career goals?
A. After graduation, I want to become a U.S. Army officer. I enlisted just a few weeks ago. When I complete my service, I hope to work in U.S. federal law enforcement.

Q. How are the things you’re studying helping you reach your goals?
A. I develop research projects on crime. Statistics can tell me a lot about human behavior, especially deviant behavior. I’m learning how to manage police personnel in order to control crime effectively and efficiently.

Q. What is the best event you attended at Texas State?
A. The School of Criminal Justice graduation in fall 2012, because that is where I’m going to be next year when I graduate. I know I’ll make it because my teachers are willing to help in any way they can and are the friendliest people I have ever met.

Q. What do you like to do when you are not in class?
A. I’m a black belt in Taekwondo and teach Olympic Taekwondo classes in San Marcos and Austin. It is one of the most important parts of my life. I believe that self-defense can improve people’s lives. When dealing with kids, I’m teaching them more than self-defense, discipline or being in good shape; I believe I’m helping to keep them away from things such as drugs, alcohol and crime.

Q. What’s the best advice you received about college? What advice would you give to help students make the most of their college experience?
A. My father told me, “College time is just an instance in your life. Enjoy it, benefit from it and finish it.” If I were to give advice to students just as my father did for me, I would say focus on your goals, have faith, manage your time and never give up. And if you really want to learn, come to Texas State.

Alumni: Elliott Brandsma

Focus on Fulbright: Reflections on my first few months in Iceland

by Elliott Brandsma, ’13, B.A, English and Art

Elliott in Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

Elliott in Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

In April 2013, I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study Icelandic language and literature at the University of Iceland for the 2013-14 academic year. Securing this prestigious honor marked the beginning of my life-changing journey to one of the most beautiful, unique and awe-inspiring countries in the world. Continue reading