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Around Campus: Nontraditional Student Shares Her Experiences

By Brittnie Curtis

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that some 18 million students were enrolled in undergraduate programs during Fall 2014. Of that amount, 71 percent of them attend four-year colleges (source). Texas State University’s student enrollment for Fall 2014 was 36,739 and nontraditional students made up around 22 percent of the student body (source).

Ellen Crabaugh is a part of that 22 percent. After graduating high school, Crabaugh focused on her family and work. During that time, she was able to complete am associate degree in American Sign Language at the Los Angeles Pierce College after 10 years of hard work.

Crabaugh moved to Wimberley and took a job at Texas State University as an American Sign Language interpreter. That’s when she decided to continue her education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English.

We were able to sit down with Crabaugh and ask her a few questions.

Q.Why did you decide to study at Texas State?

A. I had been trying to get a bachelor’s degree for a long time, and I figured why not? I love the campus, and the more I worked in classrooms with professors, the more I started to think about which professors I would take. I ended up taking a lot of the professors I had worked with here.

Q. How welcoming do you think the campus is to nontraditional students?

A. I have never had a problem. All the students and professors have been great. A lot of the professors I’ve gotten to know better because we’re around the same age. The students seem to watch their language when I’m in the groups. Some will confide in me because I look like their mother. They feel safe because they don’t have to compete with me. I will say that no one’s ever been rude to me. I do get asked if I’m the teacher, but that’s about it.

Q. What are some of the challenges you face in comparison to a traditional student?

A. I think in some ways I have it easier than a traditional student because I don’t have anything to prove, I’m not looking to climb a social ladder, and I’m not being called to go party somewhere or go to the beach. I have specific responsibilities, which makes it more difficult but at the same time makes it easier. I think there’s a balancing act on both sides. Traditional students have it easier because they might not have children and house payments, but I don’t have the peer pressure they all have.

Q. How do you manage scheduling school and studying into your daily life?

A. I’m in all of my upper division English classes, so there’s usually lot of writing, and I also work 30 plus hours a week. What I’ve done is schedule my classes around my work schedule. I have classes Tuesday and Thursday and work long shifts Monday and Wednesday. So I have Tuesday afternoon to do homework that’s due on Thursday, and then I have Thursday morning to do what homework I may not have finished before I go to class again. Then I have Saturday and Sunday to do the homework that’s due Tuesday.

Q. What changes do you see after getting your bachelor’s degree?

A. Getting my college degree was mainly for my own edification. My dad, who was 40 years old when he earned his degree, instilled that in me at a young age. As a sign language interpreter, the better I know my native language the better I am at interpreting. If it leads to something else, that’s great; if not, I love what I do.

Q. Do you have any advice for people interested in getting their college degree later on in life?

A. Keep going. It’s easy to want to quit. Don’t stop until you get there. You can still do it. You’re never too old. Just keep doing it. It’s worth it, and the classes are fun. Learning is fun.

 

If Crabaugh keeps her current pace of two classes per semester, she’ll complete her degree in two more years.

Texas State offers lots of support for nontraditional students, including the Non-Traditional Student Organization, which offers tutoring, scholarships and fun events.

Study Tips: Food for Thought

Food for Thought:
Good Food for Studying

by SLAC

Does your all-night studying include 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?

Skip the junk food aisle when you're gathering snacks for your study sessions.

Steer clear of the junk food aisle when you’re gathering snacks for your study sessions.

Filling up with junk food can actually sabotage your efforts to prepare for final exams. Foods with high sugar content (cookies, cakes, candies, pies, sodas, energy drinks, etc.) can cause your blood sugar level to spike and then crash, which can spell catastrophe for the clear thinking and mental energy required to tackle finals. Students following this “cramming menu” have also been known to fall asleep ― right through their finals. No kidding! Add those bottomless cups of caffeine to this Hell’s Kitchen menu, and you may “jitter” yourself out of a good performance no matter how long you have studied. Big meals and high fat foods make your body work hard at digesting and can make you feel tired and lazy. When your blood sugar level spikes and drops, it can also leave you with a serious headache and fuel your anxiety instead of your brainpower.

What’s a late-night cramming student to do?

  • Eat small, light meals that are high in protein, low in fat, and include whole grains.
  • Skip the 3Cs (cookies, cakes, candies).
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you do drink coffee or sodas, try to alternate those beverages with water.
  • Take breaks and go for a walk instead of grabbing another package of Twinkies.
  • Some nutritionists suggest eating something small about 10 minutes before a test to give you a sustained energy boost: a banana or an orange, a bowl of granola, or nuts and raisins. These foods will be digested slowly enough to give you brain power that actually keeps you going!

Student Life: Migraines and Headaches

Don’t Let Pain be an Obstacle:
What You Should Know
to Prevent and Manage
Headaches and Migraines

By Jack Fraim, M.D.

College. For some, that word alone is synonymous with “headache.” With late nights, early mornings, partying, studying, social obligations and tests, headaches are a given at some point in a student’s college tenure.

For some students, migraines can be a serious concern. These excruciating headaches can slow you down. So how can you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between a headache and a migraine can help you prevent and manage the associated pain.

Knowing the difference between a headache and a migraine can help you prevent and manage the associated pain.

Headache vs. Migraine. Believe it or not, there is a difference, and it’s more than just the pain level. Headaches are symptomatic, triggered by something that occurs such as stress, staring at a television or computer screen for too long or not getting enough sleep. Migraines are actually a part of someone’s genetic makeup deep in the neuro system. In fact, about 75 percent of migraine symptoms are inherited. For the most part, migraines don’t have the same external triggers as headaches, although they can be triggered by certain foods.

Why am I Getting Headaches? By far the leading cause in headaches for a college student is stress. However, sinus infections are a second cause. And then there’s the sleep deprivation that comes with college life. Studying all night for the big exam and late nights out with friends is taxing on the body, particularly over time. Therefore, it’s extremely important to get enough rest and hydrate with water in between those visits to your favorite hangouts.

Healthy Diet, Healthy Head. One of the most effective forms of headache and migraine prevention is eating properly. Avoiding food with additives (i.e. fast food) in favor of more oxygen-rich foods (like fruits and vegetables) can help prevent headaches. But don’t worry, caffeine is fine in small doses, although overdoing caffeine can be terrible for the head. The most severe migraines are caused from foods with high contents of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrates. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and NutraSweet, are also common triggers in severe migraines. As much as you might not want to hear it, alcohol can be linked to head pain as well, and that’s not counting the morning after. Another great way to prevent headaches is staying hydrated and exercising. All you really need is 20 minutes a day of light exercise.

When to Visit the Doctor. Headaches can come and go, so it’s good to be aware of when you might need to visit the doctor. If you get minor to mild headaches every month or two, then over-the-counter medicines such as Advil or Tylenol work fine for treatment. However, if headaches are waking you up at night, occurring more frequently, lasting longer and are beginning to prevent you from doing daily activities, then a doctor’s visit is advised. Some migraines and severe headaches can warrant prescribed medication.

Your college experience doesn’t have to be a big headache. Recognizing the difference between a manageable headache and the severity of a migraine is important, and knowing what causes them is the best form of prevention.

Dr. Jack Fraim is a neurologist with the Seton Brain and Spine Institute and assistant professor of neurology at the Dell Medical School.

Student Life: Tattoo Tips

So, You Want to Get a Tattoo?

By Ammar Ahmed, M.D.

Over the past 20 years, body art in its many mediums has become a more acceptable part of mainstream culture. Whereas tattoos once were the hallmark of sailors or bikers, tattoos now are common among all ages of people, particularly college students. In fact, according to a report by the National Institutes of Health, 73 percent of people who have a tattoo got their first one
between the ages of 18 and 22.
Tatoo-TXSTATE
Whether it’s a statement of personal expression or a memento from that unforgettable weekend, getting “inked” is a permanent commitment with more than just cosmetic risks. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you go under the needle. Continue reading

Happenings: VATS Fundraiser

Veterans Alliance of Texas State to host golf benefit for Special Operations Warrior Foundation

By Brittnie Curtis

Golf Tourney Flyer-01The Veterans Alliance of Texas State (VATS) is holding its fifth annual golf tournament on Saturday, March 28, at Quail Creek Country Club in San Marcos. This is the biggest spring event and biggest fundraiser each year for VATS.

“VATS is a chartered student organization through Student Diversity and Inclusion,” says Joe Aebersold, a Marine Corps veteran and vice president of VATS. “Our goal is to provide academic and personal/social support to transitioning military members as they move from service to school.” Continue reading

Students: Organize Your Academic World

By SLAC

iStock_000001949041SmallJust as your room and even your car can indicate your emotional state, so can your notes and books show your academic state of mind. Piles of scribbled-on Post-its, incoherent notes, and randomly highlighted books are all displays of your hectic, stress-filled, and often ineffective academic life.

As the semester continues, take time to organize your notes and school materials. In so doing, you can alleviate stress and have a much more successful learning experience!

  • Whether you use loose-leaf-filled binders or spiral notebooks, remember to date your notes. The dates will not only help you see the cause-and-effect relations between the material you are covering, but also they’ll prove to be priceless should you miss a class and need to get notes from a classmate.
  • Along these lines, exchange contact information with a classmate or two.
  • Use the margins in your notes and books to jot questions that might be on the test, questions you have or to write page numbers of textbook material that correlate to your notes.
  • Remember that most textbooks have indexes. If you have a topic on which your notes are sketchy, you can look it up in your textbook and take notes from it and/or highlight that portion of the text.
  • Purchase a planner/agenda and put important due dates from your syllabus in it. Add information to the planner as the instructor assigns more tasks during the semester.
  • Record dates for major assignments or tests several weeks in advance. Then you can begin your work ahead of time and avoid the stress of procrastinating on an assignment or pulling an all-nighter studying for a test.
  • Buy a calendar and put it on the wall where you’ll be forced to see it. This is a great way to remind yourself of important dates/deadlines daily.
  • Use the calendar feature on your phone to record important test dates and other academic events.
  • Consider using different-colored ink or paper for your courses to better organize your classwork.

As always, when in doubt about what you’ve written or how you’ve got a series of events or problems ordered, ask your professors for help during office hours or e-mail them. Remember, staying organized in your academic life can lead to academic and personal success!

 

Students: Preparing for Spring 2015

By Brittnie Curtis

It’s getting closer and closer. January 20 will be here before we know it. Before school starts, familiarize yourself with a few things going on around campus. Here is some important information for the spring semester.

Spring 2015 Dining Hours

Spring 2015 Dining Hours

DINE ON CAMPUS

All dining locations on campus will be open on the first day of classes. On the Texas State dining websiteyou’ll find a schedule of the locations on campus that are currently open and a spring 2015  hours of operations schedule. There’s also a map of all the dining locations on campus.

Meal plans will be active on January 14 and can be purchased throughout the year. App on Campus, from Google Play Store or iTunes Store, has all of this information and much more. You can access it in the Texas State Mobile app under the campus resources tab or simply download the app itself. Keep up with dining services on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Continue reading