Pushing Yourself the Extra Mile

Spontaneity is the best.

It’s exciting to be able to have the most bizarre and wonderful experiences you never would have known if you hadn’t taken the first step out of your comfort zone. While that step feels like the scariest feeling in the world, embracing change is so rewarding. I never would have met my closest friends or been able to travel around the country if I had learned to become scared of the unknown.

What is less exciting about spontaneity, is when you find yourself enrolling in extra classes to “get ‘er done”…on top of an all-consuming freelance job. Oh, and let’s enroll in Army ROTC too, you know, for fun. Let’s take a fitness challenge that leaves you so inhumanly sore that you find yourself waddling around like a penguin. An angry, sleepy penguin.

Earlier this month, I found myself in Wisconsin on a business trip. As I trekked through the airport, which was decorated in leftover Halloween streamers and bootleg “Alice in Wonderland” garb, I found myself stressing. There was so much to do; I had traded the previous night’s sleep to get ahead on an essay, but I needed to read more chapters, study for a test, figure out how to submit all of these things on a mobile phone. I’m sure the security cameras loved seeing an overdressed tourist toddling stiffly down the terminals.

The leaves were changing to a deep, rich red; the smell of wood and spices hung in the air; the streets flooded with bodies as the Milwaukee Brewers lost their most important game of the season (sports!). The weekend was a success. I couldn’t feel my legs the good majority of it (thanks, exercise), but I somehow managed to submit all of my work on time. Was it worth it? Is this grind of school and extracurriculars worth the time spent and sleep lost?

I feel like if I hadn’t pushed myself here, I never would have learned to appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given. With ROTC and more engaging community classes, I have felt more involved in campus life. I recently attended a lecture! I have volunteered for community events!

It’s easy to sit back and take it slow. I definitely don’t recommend sticking to insane schedules all year long! But being able to push yourself and thrive in a new environment is the most satisfying feeling in the world.

(I still can’t feel my legs.)

By NVC Student Kathryn Carrillo

How to Survive on a College Budget

Saving MoneyAt this point of the year, we are all familiar with the “broke college student” phrase that has been our excuse for mainly everything regarding finances.

With holidays approaching and the semester coming to an end, our brains are filled to the brim and our wallets are…not. I will be sharing my personal tips on how I have limited my spending habits and have managed to live through a tight college budget.

  • Manage your moneyCash Course is an easy-to-use guide with tips for the best and most useful financial choices. It’s free to make an account and a really simple way to manage your money.
  • Utilize student discounts or free student awards– Amazon is such an easy website to get carried away on and “splurge” so, do this at your own risk when applying for their free student 6-month Prime membership. Most items come with free shipping as well!
  • Rent EBooks instead– Textbooks are expensive, save some money by renting an eBook instead. My textbook for one of my classes is $60 for a brand new one, $45 to rent a used one and only $30 to rent the eBook. Prices may vary regarding different textbooks, just remember to be financially smart and get something you can afford.
  • Build your credit– The Discover student credit card is so easy to apply for, as long as you’re a student, more than likely you’ll get it. You should use it sparingly and it’s a good thing to have in case of emergencies. The minimum payment for most credit cards depends on the purchase, but it typically ranges around $35-$70. This credit card has the first 6 months with no interest and also gives you 5% cash back if you submit your GPA!
  • Living at home is okay– Although different people may deal with different circumstances, living with your parents saves a lot of money and you shouldn’t feel any pressure or rush when it comes to moving out.

As I continue to pursue my higher education, keeping these simple tips in mind have been very useful to me. I can only hope that it can possibly help future or current students in the same situation.

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati

 

 

Health Professionals Inspire NVC Students

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Congrats to Northwest Vista College’s student club, Pre Health Delegation (PHD), of NVC’s Health & Biosciences Institute. Over 150 students attended a recent panel discussion, hosted by PHD, featuring health and science professionals who provided information on their own paths, careers, answered questions and served to inspire other students.

The panel professionals were:

  • Pharmacist- Michael James, Pharm D R.Ph.- Feik School of Pharmacy – former NVC alumnus
  • Doctor- Brian Parker, MD, MS- Assistant Clinical Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • Flight nurse – Charles Robbins – RN/EMT-P Program Director, Air Evac 48 – former NVC alumnus
  • Scientific Researcher-  Adam Salmon, PhD- Assistant Prof, Department of Molecular Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • Physician’s Assistant- Caroline M. Sipili, MPAS, PA-C Physician Assistant, Medicine-Hematology/Oncology UT Health San Antonio, MD Anderson – former NVC alumnus
  • Occupational Therapist/EMT- Brad Zirkel US Army Reserves Major, OT, EMT-B

Students asked questions and interacted with the speakers. Many students said that the panel was inspiring and important for student’s future in science and health due to the information given. Samantha (Sam) Williams, PHD’s vice president, had put together the panel and hosted the event. John Pinion, PHD’s president, had originally came up with the idea. NVC’s Health Institute funded the snacks.

Interested students are welcome to submit their applications to the PHD Club through Orgsync. Applications will be available beginning next week.

 

Students Make the World a Better Place

Northwest Vista student Adam Ramirez is working to make the world abetter for cancer patients.

Ramirez, an LVN and part-time student at Northwest Vista, got together with fellow classmates Katrina Lopez, Tanner Greven and Genesis Ramiro on a project aimed at making the world a better place. The group has been tasked by NVC Professor Dr. Don Lucas with creating and executing a project that will essentially make people happy.

Lucas, is hoping to take students outside of the classroom and into the communities. “The Create The World a Better Place” assignment is all about giving students opportunities to define what the “world” is and then change that world in a fashion that makes it better,” Dr. Don said.

Dr. Don’s assignment presented Ramirez with an opportunity to realize something he had already been thinking about.

“My group and I decided we wanted to celebrate the strength of people going through cancer therapy, and this assignment was the perfect opportunity to do just that,” Adam said.

Adam and his group decided to provide an opportunity for cancer patients to receive a complete makeover. From hair and makeup, to manicures and pedicures, participants will have a chance to feel beautiful for a day.

For Adam, this project hit particularly close to home since his wife had recently been fighting brain cancer.

“After she had brain surgery she went through chemo and radiation and she lost a lot of hair. From the chemo, she also got a lot of acne and gained a lot of weight,” Adam added. “Having a friend come by and style her hair and makeup made her feel good about herself.”

He was surprised to see how just a little bit of extra attention gave her the hope and confidence she needed to continue battling the disease.

“I figured maybe we can do this as part of the school project and have it at Northwest Vista,” Adam added. “We could get others involved and make it a collaborative initiative with the schools.”

Palo Alto College agreed to do the makeup and hair of participants.

Adam welcomes the unconventional lesson, pointing out we live in a world where most of our connections are via social media.

“What is important for college students is not just to come to college and get lectured, but to come with the intent of actually using what we learned to go out and help people,” Adam added. “In today’s society, where we live in a world disconnected because of technology, we still really need that personal connection with people.”

That concept is exactly what Dr. Don was aiming to teach his students.

“Most classes have students talking about changes,” said Lucas, “my class requires students to actually make the change. And what is the ‘change?'” My students get to define that too,” he added.

“Even after teaching for nearly 30 years, it is still amazing to me—what students will do—when given the opportunity—and encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity—to learn,” he added. “It is something that I really wanted to do and I couldn’t think of a better place than at Northwest Vista.”

The makeovers will take place on Nov, 16 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Pecan Hall conference room. Those interested may RSVP starting now, until Wednesday, November 14th at 11:59pm. Please copy and paste the following RSVP link to your browser and sign up for your FREE MAKEOVER:
https://abeautifullystrong.wixsite.com/strong/event-info/a-beautifully-strong-day/form

 

 

 

 

NVC Student Earns Sought-After Military Award

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Nearly 400 soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Joint Base San Antonio and neighboring areas, such as Fort Hood, Kileen; and Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs competed in the 2018 German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB) competition hosted by the collaboration of Joint Base units at Lackland, Fort Sam Houston, Randolph, and Camp Bullis in late October.

The GAFPB, or Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst in German, is a decoration of the Bundeswher, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. The decoration can be awarded to all German Military. Allied Service Members, such as the United States may also be awarded the badge to wear regardless of rank. The GAFPB is one of the few approved foreign awards in the U.S. military, and it is one of the most sought after awards to achieve.

There are several events throughout the competition that assessed the Service Member’s basic fitness level and military training over the course of three days. One of the events during the first day was the pistol competition, which the participant is given five rounds and must get a minimum of three rounds into three different targets. The competitor will attain bronze-level for getting three rounds into the three separate targets, silver-level for four rounds and gold-level for hitting the targets with all five rounds.

Day one also captured the rest of the unit-driven military training events such as the first aid test and the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC). The first day concluded with the 100-meter swim while wearing their military service utility work uniform. Swimmers had a time constraint of four minutes and upon completion of the swim had to tread water and remove their uniform. The second day continued with the basic fitness test consisting of an 11x10m sprint, a flex arm hang (chin-up test) and a 1,000-meter run.

“I have never been tested on this kind of variety of events at one time,” said Army Cadet Corporal David T. Forrest, Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet from Northwest Vista College, and also currently serving in the Texas Army National Guard with his unit, the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 143rd Infantry Regiment.

The last day of competition was the 12-kilometer ruck march. Each competitor rucked the distance carrying a 35-pound ruck sack with the goal of completing the course in two hours.

In the end, only 161 out of 385 U.S. Service Members earned the GAFPB – whether it’s a gold, silver, or bronze. Their achievement was recognized at an award’s ceremony held on Oct. 28. Cadet Forrest earned the Gold GAFPB.

“The event is a fascinating experience. It’s not every day that I get the opportunity to earn a badge from a foreign nation so I did my very best to soak in every minute of the event,” Forrest added. “Earning the badge was an honor and something I will proudly wear for the rest of my time in service.”

German Army Sergeant Major Ronald Schiller, Liaison Officer to Combined Arms Support Command, congratulated all the award recipients.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to work and train with my U.S. comrades. I have been doing this for about 30 years and I love it. I am proud of these dedicated men and women’s achievement today,” Schiller remarked.

NVC Students Present at Annual Geography Meeting

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Three Northwest Vista Geography and Environmental Sustainability students, along with NVC’s Dr. Scott Walker, presented at the 2018 Southwest Division of the American Association of Geographers annual meeting from Oct. 3-6, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

“Established in 1949, SWAAG exists to further professional investigations in geography, to encourage the application of geographic findings in education, government, and business, and to improve and elevate the public image of geography.”

Students Farhana Khan and Allie Sanchez presented their research on Community College Student Climate Change Knowledge alongside professors and PhD students from large, state research universities from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Farhana Khan and Marcella Palaferri presented their research on the Taghia-Ahansal River Profile in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Their adventure science investigation was conducted during their Geography and Environmental Sustainability Fieldwork Project last summer in Morocco.

In addition to the students presenting, Scott Walker, professor of Geography and Environmental Sustainability presented his research on Marketable Skills and Geography Fieldwork in Higher Education.

Marcella, who will graduate in December, said, “the conference was such an awesome experience, it allowed us to present our research papers and was an excellent opportunity to learn from the other presenters.” Allie stated, “I still can’t believe how fast our time went by. I am so grateful to have been a part of this team and truly enjoyed our time together.”

Farhana, the lead author on both student papers said, “This event will indelibly be written in our memories as we further our education.”

Allie, who wants to go on to study wildlife management, and Scott are currently conceptualizing a new research project using digital camera traps and geographic information system (GIS) mapping to study urban mammals on the Northwest Vista College campus.

The NVC research team also had the opportunity to partake in some of Louisiana’s cultural geography with a side trip to the LSU Rural Life Museum. Northwest Vista College is affiliated with the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative that is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Learning Hard Lessons the First Semester

As my first semester of college begins to approach it’s finish line, I can’t help but compile all the things I’ve learned throughout these past few months. I’m going to be honest, at first, I hated college. I wanted to go back to my high school homeroom and work on my word puzzle that was occasionally taken for extra credit.

College felt like a huge responsibility to me, it was different, new and…just…a lot, but I learned to thrive despite these hurdles. College has been a heavy weight on my shoulder but at the same time, it’s been a breath of fresh air. Here is a list of things I learned. They may seem like common sense but, it’s always good to ensure that you keep them in mind.

  • You WILL pull all-nighters to finish assignments so be prepared! – Even though it’s destined to happen, try to avoid it. Go to the library whenever you’re not in class or at work. Try to get all your school work done before going home, it helps a lot.
  • Don’t take classes longer than an hour and fifteen minutes– You might think “A two-hour class doesn’t seem THAT long” well it is. When you’re sitting listening to someone talk for that long it feels like an eternity! If you’re like me and get bored easily and your attention span isn’t that long, save yourself and take courses that are only an hour and fifteen minutes. I think that’s an acceptable amount of time to listen to a lecture.
  • Utilize “rate my professor” like your life depended on it – I wish I could’ve took that site more serious, I just took a quick glance at each professor profile…bad choice.
  • Keep work and school separate – Although it’s emotionally overwhelming, most college students have jobs while they are attending school. It was a struggle for me, my first job AND my first semester of college began at the same time. I felt drained and exhausted but, I was thankful to have my job because it allowed me to take a minute away from school and be productive in other ways.
  • Lastly, stay focused and don’t beat yourself up – You’re never on the wrong path, it may be bumpy and you may begin to drive off of it but without mistakes and life lessons you will never learn; without learning you’ll never allow yourself to grow.

These past few months in college gave me an experience that I’ll never be able to receive in my high school homeroom. I am so thankful for the opportunities I was given in order to pursue my higher education. I can’t wait for all the life lessons and experiences that await me on the rest of my journey.

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati

NVC Students Travel to Morocco for Researching and Learning Culture

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Northwest Vista College students ventured over 5,500 miles from San Antonio to the historic region of Zawiya Ahansal in North Africa last May for NVC’s first Adventure Science experiential learning project.

The first leg of their trip landed them in the city of Marrakech in Morocco. Professor Scott Walker of Geography, and Adam Aguirre of Anthropology then led the six students on a five-hour trip to Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains for field work, trekking, community service, and an incredible cultural immersion experience. This area is relatively isolated from the rest of Morocco due to its unique geography.

NVC student, Farhana Khan said, those “two weeks in Morocco were not an average study abroad program…our learning took place at the airport, on bumpy roads, around campsites, and in the river—literally.”

Students, who were enrolled in Physical Geography (GEOG 1301) for the journey, learned how to measure the water flow and discharge of the local river that is used to irrigate subsistence crops by the people of Amazigh, a village in the Morocco mountains. The Taghia River was a crisp 49° F according to their measurements taken while standing knee deep in the water.

Two of the students, Farhana Khan and Marcella Palaferri, with the help of Professor Walker, leveraged the river data into a community service project. They spent the rest of the summer back home crunching numbers to develop a professional 24-page hydrology report they have given to the Atlas Cultural Foundation in Zawiya Ahansal, a region of the mountains that encompasses several villages. This is only the second study of the Taghia watershed ever conducted due to its remote mountain location. The students determined this year’s water flow was up to 542 times more than that found in a previous 2016 study by a professional hydrologist.

Link to report https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xLnOFY4EmaAkSBu63XhMzyddUMnc5tiA/view?usp=sharing

“The project our team completed was an excellent opportunity to understand how important the river systems are for this region,” said student Marcella Palaferri. “It is truly the lifeblood for subsistence farming practiced by the people. The information in our report will be extremely helpful for them for future comparative studies.”

Marcella, Farhana, and Scott will be presenting the results of their work at the 2018 Southwestern Association of American Geographer’s meeting in Baton Rouge, LA next month.

In addition to getting wet and dirty, students conducted interviews of local residents for their Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 2351) class. Each student covered a particular cultural aspect of the community such as religion, the local monetary exchange system, or kinship.

“We were humbled by the simple and family oriented life of the Berbers [Amazigh people] and questioned our rat race for more material goods.,” said Farhana.

Marcella added we “were completely immersed in to the culture for the entire 15-day period.”

The students also worked in two rural schools teaching English to middle and high school-aged students who speak French, Arabic, and Tamazigh. The program’s mountain guides doubled as Arabic and Tamazigh language instructors, teaching NVC students basic survival phrases such as “mashi moshkil” (no problem) and “la la bzaf” (no that costs too much), among other things like how to count to ten. Scott is working with the Atlas Cultural Foundation to plan another adventure science field study project in 2020.

Contributed by NVC Geography Professor Scott L. Waker, ScEdD.  

Congrats to NVC’s National Society of Leadership & Success

Northwest Vista College’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success earned the prestigious Founder’s List Award, as well as the President’s Volunteer Service Award – Gold Level.

The Founder’s List is one of the highest honors of NSLS’s Pillar Program. This is reserved for chapters who successfully complete eight of 10 pillars in the administration of their chapters. The National Office developed the program to help set each chapter up for long-term success. The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership honor society. With 648 chapters, the organization currently has 876,911 members nationwide, and many of its members say being in NSLS impacted their likelihood of landing their desired future job.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is the premier volunteer awards program. It encourages citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition. The NVC Chapter earned the Gold Level Award for members contributing over 1,000 hours of community service.

To learn more about NVC organizations, go here: www.alamo.edu/nvc/experience-nvc/campus-life/student-life/

 

NSLS Volunteering

 

Follow Your Passion to a Degree

College can be intimidating no matter how old you are. I tried attending school twice before and life just got in the way. Now, I am 26 years old with school age kids, working full-time and planning a wedding. I decided to go back to school in December of 2017, because after two failed attempts at school, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up!

I listened to other people on what I should get my degree in. You can never go wrong with a business degree, they said. I didn’t actually stop to think about what I was interested in or passionate about. Just what would make me the most money, or land me a job. So, I tried pursuing my degree in Business Management with the intent to transfer to a university. I had amazing professors, but I just was not interested in the classes so I fell behind.

After talking to many friends, family, colleagues and by passers, it seems that this is more common than I thought. So many of us get caught up in the money we can possibly make in the future, rather than what will make us happy. I’ve realized that if you love something, whether it be art, fitness, literature or whatever, there is always a way to make money off of your passions. This is why I’m now choosing to pursue an associates degree in Digital Media at Northwest Vista. I would never have guessed that my hobby of playing on Adobe Photoshop would be able to make me money one day. The classes feel like a breeze because I’m engaged with the material, rather than another boring class I have no interest in.

For those of you just starting out, or maybe you are considering school again, I would suggest to make sure you are truly pursuing your passions. One degree might not sound as important as another, but they all matter.

By NVC student Viviana Smith