Category Archives: Student Life

5 Tips for Sun Safety

_MG_4602_1Summertime is here, and with summertime come long days of fun in the sun. There is good evidence that just a few minutes outside and in the sunshine can reap multiple health benefits – including increased physical activity, absorption of Vitamin D and improvement in mood.

But time in the sun can quickly become a lot less fun – even dangerous – if you don’t take steps to protect your skin and provide for your overall health before going outside. Here are a few tips to keep your skin safe this summer:

  1. Wear Sunscreen

If there’s only one thing you do to protect your skin, it should be to wear sunscreen every day. It takes only a few minutes for ultraviolet rays from the sun to harm unprotected skin, and is well known that overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer. Make a habit of applying a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to exposed areas every morning, whether you plan on spending time outside that day or not. Some wavelengths of UV light can even penetrate window glass!

  1. Wear Protective Clothing

Also, when you do spend time outside, wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants to further protect your skin from the sun’s rays and heat. There are also many great options of sun protective clothing on the market, including several kinds of apparel with fabric with an elevated ultraviolet protective factor (UPF). These items will offer you extra protection for long days outside.

  1. Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses!

bob-van-aubel-ray-bansBecause your eyes can sustain sun damage as well, wear sunglasses labeled with 100% UV protection. Finish off your look with a wide-brimmed or floppy hat to not only protect your face and neck, but your scalp underneath your hair as well. And don’t forget your lips – pick up a lip balm with at least SPF 15 and apply it regularly throughout the day.

  1. Review Your Medications

Remember to review your medications and skin care products. Some medications and face creams (such as those with retinol) increase your skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays. A quick review of your medications with your primary care physician or dermatologist to figure out if anything you are taking will make you more sensitive to the sun is a great idea.

  1. Drink Plenty of Water

Another healthy habit is to stay hydrated throughout the day, more so if you will be spending the day outside. Dehydration is common among older adults and can be potentially life threatening. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Remember that alcohol and caffeinated and carbonated beverages can have a diuretic effect on the body and make dehydration worse.

Moreover, staying hydrated is the best thing you can do to avoid heatstroke, a medical emergency that can arise suddenly and is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated. When you’re dehydrated, your body might not be able to produce sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, causing an increase in temperature to unsafe levels. Symptoms may include confusion, disorientation, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea and a rapid pulse. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Heatstroke can also be avoided by staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Use this time of the day to catch up with friends or family or take an outing to somewhere with air conditioning, such as the movies, a museum or the mall. If you are going to be outside during this time, take frequent “shade breaks.”

Here’s to a great, sun-smart summer!

Ammar Ahmed, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist at the University Physicians Group, which is part of the Seton Family of Doctors.

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. Continue reading

Student Life: Financial Tips

Preparing for your future at Texas State and beyond


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

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

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, 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 For on-campus jobs for all Texas State students, check out Texas State’s Career Center at, 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!

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.

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.