Digital Video Students Help Nonprofits

For the Fall 2018 semester, Northwest Vista College Digital Video & Cinema Production had two sections of  Advanced Digital Video classes. 

Eight nonprofit client projects were produced by students. These videos were recently screened for clients on Dec. 13. 

Since these video projects began more than 10 years ago, DVCP students have saved the nonprofit community over a half million dollars in video production fees. 

  • M.A.D.D. PSA.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving draw attention to the fact that the San Antonio community has lost loved ones who once treasured San Antonio. Their mission is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHi6O–7PN4
  • Center for Refugee Services. The CRS is San Antonio’s only registered, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a range of health, educational and family services to help resettled refugees become successful independent members of our community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXcpFG7dAnM
  • House of Neighborly Services. This five-minute feature provides insight on HNS’s senior health program and how its gatherings, events and programs help to better the lives of seniors on San Antonio’s west side.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIQkIxIHFtA
  • NVC Campaign for Art. Launched in August 2018 this is an effort to bring more permanent art to NVC through an endowment fund. The video features comments from the art department faculty on the cultural and educational inspiration of the NVC art program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHb-4Y87Qf4&t=101s
  • PEARLS Foundation. DVCP students created a “walk in our shoes” type video. It includes mentoring moments with teen girls who have been in foster care and are about to age out of the system. PEARLS Court is a joint project of the Bexar County Civil District Courts and Children’s Court. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmDs-E9pTkE
  • Children’s Chorus of San Antonio. “Boys to Men” is a new initiative of CCSA engaging young men ages 10 to 18 in the power of music and community. Groups from across San Antonio are featured in a public concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijEMoW5ukko
  • San Antonio Food Bank. This video features a new Hope to Home delivery program for seniors. The program seeks to address the unmet nutritional needs of homebound seniors in the San Antonio area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHJ71_OkkDk
  • NVC Vista Central. The NVC Welcome Center video is intended to be used as a marketing tool and will be shown to prospective students at New Student Orientations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0lBAAVcCow

Stuck in the Middle: Life as a Non-Degree Seeking Student

A few months before graduating high school, I was forced to face a tough reality: If I didn’t get at least 80 percent of my college costs covered, I would not be attending a university.

My parents, as hard as they work, were not in a position to contribute anything financially to my education. I was in the same boat as many students today are because I knew, at 17 years old, that I’d have to take on this responsibility fully on my own. Luckily, I received four different scholarships, one of which was a full academic scholarship to attend UTSA. Of course, I accepted.

I graduated in May of 2018 with a degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology and Disease Control and a Minor in Biology. As much as I am the the type of person that needs to have things in order, it was really hard for me to face the fact that, just months before graduating, I didn’t want to become a doctor anymore. Panic struck as I began feeling that I just wasted four years of my life and a full scholarship on a subject I was now completely disinterested in.

My brain told me for so long to pursue a career that I and my family would be proud of, without listening to my heart and what I actually wanted to do. With true friends, I stopped procrastinating and looked into programs that would help me change paths. Today, I am a non-degree seeking student a Northwest Vista pursuing a career in Communications.

At one point, this felt like a huge step backwards for me. After all, I had just gotten my degree and now I would be back at a community college taking introductory classes at the same level as high school graduates. On top of that, I would get no financial aid because of my classification. It was really difficult feeling like I was behind compared to my peers. Eventually, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, paid for my classes, applied for jobs I could learn in, and got hired (somehow) for a position that I don’t even think I was qualified for yet.

To sum up my experiences, I’ve learned that 1) As long as you’re working towards something, you’re never behind. 2) If you love what you study, you won’t regret your degree. 3) Take chances applying for jobs, even if you feel you’re not qualified yet.

By NVC Student Jasmine Valadez

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

 

 

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

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

Finding a Purpose Helping Veterans

Just 10 days after graduating from high school, Albert “Bert” Jimenez was in a grueling U.S. Marines boot camp in San Diego. Three weeks after that, he found himself in Iraq at the age of 18.

Four years later and two deployments to Iraq, Bert left the Marines with a heavy toll. PTSD and the trauma of seeing close friends die in a war zone impacted his mental and physical health. He didn’t know how to pick up his life after the Marines and turned to heavy drinking.

While all the mental demons are not totally gone, Bert has found a new life through exercise, attending Northwest Vista College, and slowly dropping about 115 pounds. This past fall, Bert completed the Boston Marathon with a group of other veterans and is also on course to earn his associate degree from NVC after this summer.

He said Vista was his first shot at college and he wasn’t sure if he could handle it.

“For me, it’s still kind of scary because I don’t do too well with crowds, but college has helped me to be a better person and get me out of my comfort zone,” Bert said.

Now, he wants to help other veterans through psychology. He has been accepted to UTSA this fall and he hopes to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree to work in a clinical setting to counsel veterans.

He says often times it’s hard to relate to psychologists or counselors because while they may be book smart, they don’t have that experience of watching a friend die in a foreign country or the aftermath that veterans face after being deployed multiple times. He believes he can bring that missing element to help counsel veterans.

In fact, Bert is getting his psychology field experience now through the San Antonio chapter of 22 Until None, which has the mission of ending suicide among veterans. The group’s website says 8,030 veterans commit suicide a year; and after military service, the chances of veterans committing suicide goes up 200 percent. Even worse, 1 in 5 suicide deaths are veterans, according to the site.

Bert says it’s not uncommon for him to get phone calls from veterans daily or even at 3 am because a former soldier needs help in order to make it to the next day.

Along with 22 Until None, Bert is also a fitness coach with Rise Above Hardship, which is a local nonprofit started by fellow NVC student Jose Luis Sanchez. R.A.H’s mission is to help veterans and the community through fitness. Bert can be found motivating others to do squats, run or do pushups Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at local parks around the city. Many of the people who go to R.A.H. classes are veterans with missing limbs, wives of veterans or just regular community members who need a coach’s motivation to push through a tough workout.

In the meantime while Bert is finishing up classes at NVC, he will be training to do his first triathlon in San Marcos this summer and will head to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

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Failures and Successes

As I get closer to the completion of my final semester for my associate degree, I have experienced a few downfalls that I see as failures. But I have also seen successes.

I was extremely disappointed that two of my classes didn’t pan out to be what I expected. I had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from these two classes and drop down to part-time hours. Many might not make a big deal, but for me, I saw it as failure. I was disappointed in myself for not pushing to finish and being satisfied with “just getting by.”  It has taken a lot for me to swallow those two failures, despite the encouragement from friends and family.

Looking on the brighter side, I have been happy and proud to say that I was also recognized in the Awards Ceremony for having a 4.0 grade point average, as well as being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. I have gained experienced in writing for The Pulse, which is Palo Alto College’s newspaper; and I have written several published blog posts for Northwest Vista College.

These accomplishments have made me realize that along with failure comes success. Sometimes you can’t have one without the other. I have been able to look at the positives in this college experience and not be down about the negatives. I can now look at my life and see that I have come a long way. This 44-year old wife and mother has come back to school after a long break, works a job and has church involvement, all while going to school full time. I think I’ve done well, and I am proud to know that on May 19, I will joyfully walk the stage to receive my associate degree. This will be a huge stepping stone to finishing my bachelor’s degree and pursuing my career in Communications

By NVC Student Monica Lopez

Dropping a Course to Balance School and Life

Online Summer Classes BannerI feel like I have been challenged this semester in balancing life and school, or really just balancing my classes in general.

I didn’t have too much of an issue at the beginning of the semester until I started a very advanced flex class. It was a Interactive Web Elements course where we were learning how to make WordPress templates from scratch.

I learned it was the straw that broke the camel’s back–like when you have a tower of cards, and everything is okay and nice until you put on that one card that makes the tower crumble. Maybe I’m being too dramatic – just a little.

But this class was very hard, and required a lot of my attention. Inevitably, I had to drop it this semester. I do feel a load off my shoulders…even if I do get a W and I felt bad about dropping my first class.

Dropping a class has also been a learning experience–I now know what I can and cannot handle. I would definitely love to take this class when I have more time to focus on it since it will be helpful for my career. Here are a couple things to remember, if you ever decide you want to take a flex course:

1. What kind of course is it? Is it advanced?
2. With your current classes, can you add on a fast-paced class?
3. Do you have the skillset to take this class or would it be best to wait until later?

Here’s to continuing to balance everything in my life, including my classes!

By NVC Student Sarah Hegstrom

College Life