Category Archives: Uncategorized

Student Life: Financial Tips

Preparing for your future at Texas State and beyond

by SLAC

Make sure you apply for available scholarships. [photo by 401(K) 2013 / flickr.com]

Make sure you apply for available scholarships. [photo by 401(K) 2013 / flickr.com]

As semester’s end approaches, consider the following for future semesters:

Will you be able to get relatives and/or friends to help financially?

Can you find scholarships for which you are eligible at Texas State or other institutions? Go to Financial Aid and Scholarships (J. C. Kellam, Suite 240, 512.245.2315, www.finaid.txstate.edu/) for information and check with your major department every semester as scholarships they offer vary from semester to semester. Also, ask friends, employers and contacts for leads: Some organizations and churches offer scholarships. Keep in mind that scholarships can be an asset to your résumé or vita!

Can you get a job while attending college that doesn’t interfere with your studies or, better, one that augments your education? If you’re a freshman, check with Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) in the PACE Center and online at pace.txstate.edu/. For on-campus jobs for all Texas State students, check out Texas State’s Career Center at www.careerservices.txstate.edu/, including Jobs4Cats, and ask places on campus (or off) that you frequent (like SLAC, the library, the student center, or a local coffee shop) to see if they are hiring. And don’t forget to consult Financial Aid to see if you are eligible for assistance via work-study funding, as this makes you a more desirable applicant for on-campus jobs.

Do you need a loan or grant (local, state, or federal) to continue at Texas State? If so, will one be available? Again, look to Financial Aid and Scholarships for information. Remember that you can add competitive grants to your résumé /vita.

Keep in mind that what you do now to be financially solvent, academically successful, build your work experience, and win scholarships and awards will prepare you for life beyond college!

Study Tips: Food for Thought

Good food for studying

by SLAC

Steer clear of the junk food aisle when you're choosing your studying snacks.

Steer clear of the junk food aisle when you’re choosing your studying snacks. [photo by gruntzooki / flickr.com]

Does your all-night studying including all-night snacking? Do you keep your brain and body going by working your way through packages of Oreos, bags of hot Cheetos, Dr. Peppers, Red Bulls, and a thick crust pepperoni pizza . . . one chapter at a time? Do you overeat to cope with the stress of last-minute studying?

Filling up with junk food can actually sabotage your efforts to prepare for final exams. Continue reading

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

Student Life: Exploring Majors

What is 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: 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.

Around Campus: Sustainable Farm

Agriculture students prepare for tomato crop

by Emily ArnoldIMAG0490

This past Friday, students from the Fruit and Vegetable Production class (AG 4302) met at the field for their lab. They constructed a hoop house, which consists of PVC pipe and warming tarp.

The purpose? To draw heat into the tunnel and trap it. Tomatoes prefer climates that are consistently warm, so the hoop house will keep them at their preferred temperature until the cooler temperatures leave the Central Texas area.

Want more information? Visit the farm’s Facebook pageIMAG0495IMAG0492

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photos by Bethany Hicks

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!

 

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.