New Year’s resolutions – and how to keep them

It's that time of the year again: The making and breaking of New Year's resolutions. Whether you are still sticking to your plan or have already derailed, we are bringing you tips on how to keep the most commonly broken resolutions according to Time Magazine.

"New Year's resolutions can be a really good thing - just keep them positive and make sure to prepare to deal with setbacks," Missouri Western counselor Steve Potter recommends.

1. Volunteer Volunteering is a noble task and many people set out to help more in their community - but it can be hard to fit it into your schedule and regularly donate time and effort. To combat this, volunteering should be treated as a priority. After all, you can always find a way to accomplish what you set out to do. Madison Lands, a sophomore Criminal Justice major, has volunteered at Western's food pantry since the beginning of the year. "I've volunteered before through church. This year, I actually planned my schedule around being able to volunteer," Lands says. And while Lands enjoys helping people, there's another benefit to it: "It'll look good on my application for law school." Lands recommends students who are interested in volunteering on campus to "join the Rotaract Club. They help with organizing volunteer work and get started." 2. Learn something new Making this resolution is already the first step to keeping it. An open mind and willingness to learn new things are the most important things when it comes to sticking with it, Potter says. "Unfortunately, a lot of the times we do tend to be close-minded. So, I think it never hurts to hear opposing views or different ideas or to expand our knowledge on certain thing. For that to happen, there has to be this willingness to explore new things," Potter explains. And while stepping out of your comfort zone might seems scary in the beginning, the experiences gained from it are often priceless and broaden your horizon. After all, that's what college is for. 3. Get out of debt and save money Money problems and financial issues are often cause for anxiety and create distress, Potter says. "We all know that the cost of college is very expensive, and students have to take out loans, sometimes work one or more jobs," Potter says. According to the Wallstreet Journal, a student who graduated in 2015 had a student loan debt of a little over $35,000 - no surprise money is a concern for many students. While the counseling center does not give out financial plans, talking about financial struggles often releases some of the anxiety. Students who are seeking more advice can find countless tips and tools on the internet. 4. Spend more time with family How much time students wants and needs to spend with their family completely depends on the individual - there is no recommended amount of family time. "Some students don't even want to spend more time with their family and might be stressed out by them, and that's perfectly fine," Potter says. However, there are students who look to connect a bit more, especially if they are going to school away from home. Potter recommends tools like email, Skype and phone calls to stay close - and regular visits if desired. 5. Be less stressed As a college student, stress comes with the territory.That's why it is important to learn how to deal with stressful situations. "Students need to develop what I call coping mechanisms," Potter says. These can be different from person to person. Possible mechanisms include hanging out with friends, making more positive friends, using meditation, taking a yoga class, getting involved in new things or exercising. Potter recommends to have at least seven really good coping mechanisms. 6. Travel to new places All too often, traveling somewhere new and exotic tends to be more of a fantasy then a reality. It's not uncommon to dream of sitting on the beaches of Costa Rica or exploring the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but making it happen is a different story. There are many factors to keep in mind before packing your bags and hitting the road. For instance: saving money, obtaining a passport and deciding on a location. Deir Montiel, International Student Services Assistant, gives a few pointers on how to keep the resolution in the new year. "Make sure you do your homework," Montiel said. "When you get to the country, be aware of the dollar and currency." Although the task of going somewhere new can be tedious, it also comes with many benefits. Learning about new cultures, meeting new people and creating new memories are just a few of the advantages of traveling to different places. 7. Lose weight and get fit Losing weight may be the most common New Year's resolution to date, but it's also one of the hardest to keep. Justin Kraft, chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, gives tips on ways to stay motivated and lose the pounds. "The biggest pointer I can give, especially if their New Year's resolution is in regard to fitness, is to find a fitness activity that they like," Kraft said. "The number one predictor of wether or not someone will maintain a behavior is enjoyment." 8. Eat healthier and diet Eating healthy comes with many benefits, but it can be hard to stay away from the local McDonald's and the $5 deals. "A couple of tips for eating healthy is to pick lifestyle changes that you can make," Kraft said. One change to think about making is what sort of food and products you put in your cart at the grocery store. Instead of chips and cookies, go for apples and oranges. "One of the tips I give to people is to shop the outside of the grocery store," Kraft said. "If you think about going to your local grocery store, all of the fresh foods are on the outside and all of the processed foods are in the inside." 9. Drink less Some say that drinking comes second nature for several college students. Many events and situations such as parties, tailgating and stress can add to the pressure of drinking to much. "One thing you want to be able to do when maintaining a behavior is anticipate what we can call a high-risk situations," Kraft said. "What I mean by high-risk is putting yourself in an environment that causes you to act in a certain way." The main tip for drinking less is to stay clear from situations where heavy drinking will be present. People tend to behave in ways cohesive with the environment they are in. So, when going out or attending a party, keep a few things in mind: the availability of alcohol, the place or location you are going to and the people you will be going with. 10. Quit smoking If this is your New Year's resolution, then you have taken a dramatic step in increasing your overall health. We all know quitting can be hard, but there some helpful tips out there to keep in mind. "Quitting smoking is a really, really difficult thing," Kraft said. "One of the things that most people don't realize is that the physiological addiction to smoking is actually broken very quickly, a lot of it is the phycological addiction that we get." Some more tips Kraft gives include keeping in mind the high-risk situations which cause you to smoke. These can be staying clear of the places you often go to smoke, managing your stress and finding other ways of fidgeting besides holding a cigarette.

Missouri Western Phi Delt heading to Oxford

One Missouri Western student is headed to Oxford, Ohio. During Thanksgiving Break, the headquarters for the fraternity Phi Delta Theta hired a Griffon to be one of their new Leadership Consultants. The Western student they chose is former president of Missouri Western’s Mo Eta chapter, Alex Atkinson. Alex served his tenure as President of the now 21 year old chapter beginning in the fall of 2013 and running through the next fall of 2014. He knew that he was not finished being involved with Phi Delt, however. “The Leadership Consultant position is an opportunity for me to travel the country, network with Phis and give back to my fraternity,” Atkinson said. “I will be traveling to chapters in my region to diagnose areas of improvement and construct plans to better that chapter.” This new position was one that Atkinson was prepared for, but it was still quite the journey to actually achieve it. “I flew out to Oxford, Ohio for a two-day interview with other candidates applying for the position.  I had four one-on-one interviews, a writing sample and a 12-minute presentation,” Atkinson said, explaining the process. “Everyone I met was very friendly and approachable, but we were going to interviews all day and were only given one hour to prepare our presentation, which was very stressful.” Although this journey will be a new challenge for Atkinson, peers of his that he has worked with throughout his time on campus feel confident that he is just the right guy for the job. “He has talked about becoming a leadership consultant ever since he became a member of Phi Delta Theta,” said good friend, fraternity brother and longtime Missouri Western co-worker Tony Dougherty. “I know for a fact he has all of the skills and personality needed to absolutely thrive in this position.” Shana Meyer, the Vice President of Student Affairs here at Western has been able to see Atkinson flourish throughout his time as a Griffon. “I most appreciate his desire to make Missouri Western a place students are proud of.  He's done that through his work on the First-Year Experience and in his fraternity. I would say he's experienced what it means to be in a fraternity and he has espoused the values of Phi Delta Theta,” Meyer said. “Alex is an excellent communicator and driven to succeed.  I have no doubt he'll be an excellent Consultant for Phi Delta Theta.” Alex will move to Oxford in June to begin training. Once his training is complete, he will be assigned a region in the country to become an official Leadership Consultant for.

Running for a good cause

Starting last year, the Brad Arn Memorial Run, which is organized by the Arn family, has become an annual event. The five kilometer run took place earlier this year on Sept. 19, in Savannah, Missouri, and was set up by twins Molleigh and Malloree Arn. The event is in honor of Brad Arn and all the other fallen officers who have a memorial stone in Civic Center Park here in St. Joseph. “The event started because we wanted to raise money for the Civic Center Park,” Molleigh said. “We are not only honoring our father, but all the others who have died and have their name in the park.” All the money raised is donated to the Fraternal Order of Police law enforcement memorial fund. The money is then used to maintain the memorial where 18 law enforcement officers, including Brad Arn, are remembered. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers. Vice President of the state FOP Mike Hardin says that the local FOP is made up of members of 12 law enforcement agencies, spanning multiple counties that cover all of Northwest Missouri. Every officer at Western is also a member. The total amount of money raised this year is still unknown, but last year around $6,000 was raised thanks to the work of the Arn family and several volunteers. “We had a lot of police officers from surrounding areas come out this year,” Malloree said. “We also had our sorority sisters there.” Both Molleigh and Malloree are freshmen who joined the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority earlier this year. The run was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and spanned a three mile course throughout Savannah-by the cemetery where Arn is buried- and concluded back at Messick Park. A lot of advertising went into getting the word out about the event. Among the forms of advertising were a Facebook page, news feature, appearing on 97.1 the Veil (the Cameron, Missouri radio station) and a lot of flyers. It was also featured on the "Running in the USA" website, “Running in the USA is a site where you can see all the 5ks,” Malloree said. “Pick a state, pick a time to run and see what races there are.” Preparation for next year is already under way. Now that the Arn twins have the experience of planning an important philanthropy, future planning should be a walk in the park.

Families celebrate centennial

Family Founders Day - website2
This year marks the 100th year that Missouri Western has been a school, and to honor that, Saturday, Sept. 26, was celebrated as Founders' and Family Day. Family weekend has always been about parents coming to see their kids and enjoying what the campus has planned for them. This year family weekend was a bit more special than usual. Family weekend was planned this year on the weekend closest to the date of Missouri Westerns Junior College's first day of classes. In celebration of that, entertainment and many different activities were planned for students and their families. Colleen Kowich, the director of Alumni Relations, was responsible for putting the event together. All of the activities were set up in Lot H, right outside of the football stadium and in Remington Hall. Families were able to start the day at the welcoming fair in Remington Hall. That is also where the planetarium was displaying shows in the early afternoon. The planetarium is an important part of the school's history. Jerry Wilkerson, who is in charge of the planetarium, gave the very first show in the fall of 1969. The educational tool is available for anyone who wants to schedule a viewing. “I think of this as an educational instillation not an entertainment instillation, its primary goal is education,” Wilkerson said. The planetarium is not only open just for special events like Founders' and Family day. There are classes that use it and it is also open to the public.  The couple of dozen of different shows available for viewing are family friendly. Activities that followed in the afternoon included many different carnival games, inflatables and an obstacle course. Live bands performed for the families and students that tailgated before the football game against Lindenwood University. “This is great way to celebrate Missouri Western and celebrate our 100th anniversary with a great big community celebration," Kowich said. "For parents' day last year, we served over 400 folks at the president's pancake breakfast and I anticipate we will see that many or more this year.” Spratt Memorial Stadium was packed full of families to cheer on the Griffons, who won the game 34 to 14. The attendance at the other activities was high, but the football game was the big entertainment for the day. “Every college I have been at it has been a little different. I think here at Missouri Western we really rally around the football game,” Kowich said. Among the families, there were the parents of freshman Natalie Miller. During the weekend they went out to eat and enjoyed the tailgating atmosphere before heading into the stadium to watch the game. “It was a fun time to catch up with my family that didn't include a computer screen between us,” Natilie said. Her mother, Melissa Miller, agreed that it was a fun weekend that she got to spend with her daughter. “It was fun getting to meet all of Natalie's friends and going to the football game. I want them to start having parents' weekend in the spring as well as the fall,” Melissa said. Next year the tradition will continue and Missouri Western will see its 101st Family Weekend.

Alumni Art Exhibit


Missouri Western turns 100 this year and students and faculty have been putting a lot of effort into celebrating Western’s birthday.

So has the art department; photography professor Rebecca Foley got 35 art alumni on board to organize an art exhibit – the department’s way of taking part in the centennial festivities.

“Everyone makes an effort to celebrate the centennial. There are paintings, photographs, drawings and more in the exhibit. I think it represents the department very well,” Foley said.

The participants include a wide variety of artists, from casual to professional – and even three of the department’s professors.

Ceramics professor David Harris was at the exhbit’s opening last Friday and is participating with two pieces.

“I did this [ceramic work] for a living for 15 years and have been a teacher for 17 years now. When I took ceramis classes here, it was in a basement and we didn’t have a lot of equipment, but that only inhanced our creativity. We had a great teacher and I try to carry on his tradition,” Harris said.

Fellow alumnus Tabitha Berry came to Western as a non-traditional student and has fond memories of her college carreer.

“Western is a great fit for non-trads and trads alike. It became a sanctuary for me as a parent where my creative side could thrive,” Berry said.

Before she came to college her main interest lay in sculptures and paintings, but Western broadened her artistic horizon.

"I enjoy painting and photography as well. I like mixing things up and experimenting," Berry said.

Her art pieces are so-called chemigram prints; a chemical is poured on a silver gelatin fiber to create stunning effects.

"I don't have much control over how it turns out, but that is what I enjoy; I have to assign a meaning after the product is finished," she said.

Bradley Harrah couldn’t agree more. Although he graduated in Spring of 1999, he still feels “very loyal to Western.”

The part-time artist was very involved during his time at Western.

“I was somewhat of a mascot – I was in SGA, worked as an RA and in admissions and founded the Fine Arts Society. Although I don’t work as a full-time artist, I wouldn’t have the job I have right now if it wasn’t for Western and the skills I learned here,” Harrah said.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jeanne Daffron attended the opening ceremony.

“It’s very interesting. There are a lot of different things to see, things I like and appreciate. It’s a good variety,” Daffron said.

The art exhibit takes place in Potter Hall’s art gallery and is open from Sept. 14 to Oct. 30.