College creates unexpected learning experience for one student

My college experience has been much more than just learning different subjects. For me, it has been a lesson in essential life skills. I look at things differently and in a new perspective. My confidence level has dramatically grown and I’m developing social skills that I never knew were lacking so poorly until I stepped into college. I have a more positive outlook on things from politics to personalities and it is easier for me to accept things for what they are. My life has become manageable and I care about myself and other people more than I ever have. I am certainly more organized than ever before. I still have some room for growth in this area but my organizational skills have been toned by college life. I have noticed myself working a day planner and recognizing how much it can help manage my life, especially when setting goals. Taking little steps each day has led to big things for me. I have accomplished more in these last three years in college than I have my entire life wandering around trying to figure it all out on my own. I smile more and my thinking is clearer. I have above average reasoning skills and amazing powers of observation. There is not one day that goes by that I’m not learning something new. Learning has a way of making me feel stupid sometimes because I am the only one in class who didn’t know the answer, but I will next time. Everyone has different ways of learning. Personally, I’m a visual type of learner and a hands-on kind of person. Whichever way works for you is how you should approach it. I have met some really cool people in school and my instructors have all been inspirational to me. They say you become a product of your environment and if this holds true I have faith in where I’m going. Being a student here at Missouri Western State University has changed my life completely, and has reshaped every aspect of my ability to focus. Not only am I getting a quality education but I am also getting to know myself better. Family and friends have commented on my growth. I have been told how much smarter I sound when I talk and that my attitude is impressive. Sure, I have a long way to go but this only kills the theory that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’m 40 years old and I could have easily given up after being hurt on the job, but I decided to go to college. I do regret not doing this sooner and the old saying “If I knew then what I know now,” applies here. However, it’s better to know now than never I suppose. The best advice I could give to younger students is to pay attention to what the older people are telling them because they can save you a whole lot of time and heartache. When I was younger I didn’t listen very well but now that I’m older it’s easy to look back on what I was being told and ask myself; “What was I thinking?”

Going green is not a movement for lazy people

I was given an assignment for the Griffon News a couple of weeks ago on recycling. While searching for sources I kept coming up short; not many people on campus care for anything green: unless it’s March with beer and leprechauns. People just want to live their lives without inconvenience. Recycling seems to be very inconvenient. It takes time away from iTunes, video games and our digitized masturbation machines.

The world outside is becoming this withering brown crap, so we hide ourselves inside a universe of our own making.

One where we get to choose who we are, how we act and where we can achieve 50 levels of sorcerer and blast fireballs at evil digital creature’s instead of the real world’s evil.

We just soak up the coal second by Greek second. Coal plants pump pollutants into the air so we can have asthma and legs that hurt when we walk across the house because we don’t use them. Instead of walking our brains out for fresh air we leave them plugged into the net for so long that Google tries to work up a hard drive we can plug our brains into. Just what we need, something else to wilt the wheat grass in your glass before you can drink it.

Our attention seems to be wilting to the point in which most of us are ADD, instead of the now standard ADHD. We need Aterol and several other medications to give ourselves the focus to work on allowing ourselves to breath.

I’ll admit that recycling takes money and not just the focus we don’t seem to have. If we have the money, then all we need is time to replace what we are using for power or paper or whatever our short attention spans will give us. It will take time to recover from the Aterol and non-recycling. There are things the campus can do to save itself money in the long run. But with our attention, we are short-run people. Everything in the short run costs too much for our sensibilities anyway. It’s much better to have instant gratification.

If we are going to gratify changes to the campus on recycling, then we will have to find the money first of all. A change like this on a much larger scale than just paper will mean a lot of money needs to be spent on solar panels and wind turbines and whatever else is sustainable.

But colleges are long term, unlike our memories. Even if it’s just a couple of solar panels and wind turbines to start with on one building, then let’s get started. A conversion to sustainable power is best done slowly anyway. That way the campus can tell if they are getting it right the first time, instead of having to come back three or four times.

It would be nice if the campus could follow Northwest’s model of producing most of its own power. Of course Northwest has an incinerator of its own where it burns paper pellets and scraps of wood that can’t be used for anything along with animal manure. Missouri Western doesn’t have to have an incinerator to produce its power. One would come in handy though, and if used properly the campus could burn most of its waste instead of paying to have it all hauled off.

But nope, this campus can’t do that. It costs too much to do, and besides, we are all too stuck-up to care about something that couldn’t possibly affect our children.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him when he recycled. So much for a dying green movement.

Student sickness causes serious troubles

I’ve been sick for the last two weeks, and I’ve finally reached the point that I’m starting to wish this persistent virus would just hurry up and kill me.

I’m not just being dramatic. Over the last two weeks I’ve let being sick wreak havoc on my entire life.

I’m behind in my classes, I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing at work and I’ve successfully passed the plague on to my husband and child.

If that isn’t enough to make me want to give up civilized life and move to the forest to become a survivalist where academic records and epidemics are meaningless; I’m also at limit for attendance. Or I guess my lack thereof would be more accurate.

Life is now officially pointless.

If I’ve already used up my precious two allotted absences, what will become of me next time I get sick? Or my child for that matter?

If my son’s daycare calls me before English to alert me of the fact that my child is spewing like the exorcist, I bet I won’t be going to English today.

Most of the time, I don’t even need to take him to the doctor. Puke happens, and it doesn’t always mean a three-year-old is sick. Half of the time I bet he was throwing a tantrum and made himself sick. But that doesn’t matter, all it really means is that he’s going home and unless he’s watching himself while I go to class, I’m going home too.

For that matter, if I wake up throwing up, should I still show up to French? Is it ethical for me to come to class so I won’t be dropped, but in the process infect an entire class against my better judgment? I think I should probably just stay home then too.

I know many professors would say that they are amendable to excusing absences provided the student in question can obtain a doctor’s note.

Well I’m going to give a reality check. Like many Americans, I don’t have insurance. Like many of my peers enrolled in college while trying to support themselves, I can’t afford to visit a doctor just to prove to the university I’m sick. Even if I paid to see the doctor, most likely I couldn’t afford the costly medicine they would prescribe.

I don’t need a free pass, but I think we need to be practical. I’m paying a fair amount of money to go to school here, I’m not trying to miss out an education I’ll have to pay for with interest.

I’m almost positive it pains me more than Western to miss class.

At the end of the day, if I’m really missing so much class my grades should reflect it.

And if hypothetically I still did well in class despite numerous absences, what would Western be so mad about?

Men’s, women’s basketball teams have bright futures ahead

In a perfect world the teams we root for would win every game and be perfect year in and year out, but this isn’t a perfect world.

From the outside looking in the Griffons men’s and women’s basketball seasons may have looked disappointing, but if you take a deeper look it couldn’t be further from the truth.

The men’s team broke their streak of not making the conference tournament and did it in a tougher-than-usual MIAA conference. The team proved they can compete with anyone in the conference and could play the role of Cinderella at Kansas City.

The women’s team started the year with many unproven players and it showed in their non-conference schedule as they didn’t win one non-conference game. Once the conference season rolled around, the Griffons started to gel as a team and played better in conference. They have building blocks in place to be successful for years to come.

The men’s team will return many key players to next season’s team, as they are only losing Leonard Parker, Ken Goodwin and Lonnel Johnson. Replacing their production will be hard, but nothing the Griffons cannot handle. They will bring most of their core players back from a team that was a few plays away from being in the upper half of the MIAA.

The women’s basketball team is in a similar situation as the women’s volleyball team for they will lose no one from this season’s team. The women’s basketball team consists of only two juniors, while the rest of the players are either freshman or sophomores. The team has shown some fire recently, and is making a charge to play in the MIAA tournament. With players like Jessica Koch, Rachel Luteyn, Tierra Ford and many others, the Griffons have a solid foundation set to become a real contender in the MIAA for years to come.

I think Tom Petty said it best "Waiting is the hardest part." It’s tough to watch a young team struggle, but it’s all part of growing pains that teams will experience. It’s also disappointing that the men lost many close games and in all reality are better than their record indicates. The men have already clinched a spot in the postseason and the women’s team controls their own destiny. In a perfect world the Griffon basketball teams would head to Kansas City as two or three seeds, but then again everybody loves an underdog story.

Obesity; a growing matter on campus

I am way past the mean when it comes to waist size. I am a large fellow. My six foot frame carries 280 and some odd pounds about on its daily walk through life. If I were standing in a doorway, you could not move through it easily without bumping breasts. I am portly. I am rotund. I am larger than life. I am fat. This is the truth. I am not alone. On the coasts of the left side of this country, they whisper omen of the great spreading fat virus to spread from the middle of the Bible Belt. Look around you and you spot at least one fat person within eyesight. There are fat people everywhere. Obesity has become a real problem in our country, and on our campus. It is kind of scary because when something becomes this big of a problem, the attempts to solve that problem often become extreme. It is hard to solve a problem when no one even really is sure of the causes for certain. Surely it is our diet and lack of exercise that is the root of the problem, or is it? After all, what is the root of our diet and lack of exercise? Who is the bad guy here? Certainly not the fat people themselves. I am one of them, and I know I am not a bad person. Is it my fault that someone has been handing me soda-pop since before they invented sippy cups? I was strung out on sugary syrup before I knew my left from my right. In my life time I have seen that diet soda drug dealer called the vending machine infiltrate our infrastructure to the point of being at least one on every square city block. I have a radical French socialist friend who once told me that my country was drowning in the black waters of capitalism. He meant Pepsi-Cola. Maybe he is right. It could be an economy driven on two job families has left no time to eat anything but the drive-thru drudgery that is certainly drugging us into complacency. The dinner time ritual has been sacrificed on the alter of big business and now we are all pumping up the pounds. So who really is the bad guy? And how can we beat a problem when we cannot even pin the blame on the donkey. At this point, is the best we can hope for an understanding of this global growth of girth? No one likes fat people too much, they breathe too heavily, they pant and sweat too much. They simply are just not that pleasing to look at. How long will it be before someone thinks of shipping us off in cattle cars on the way to fat camps? Already there are talks of adjusting the prices that fat people pay for seats on planes. If it weren’t for smokers, fat people would probably be the number one cause of high health care costs. It is only getting worse. It makes me think about the old Jewish stories I used to hear about the seven deadly enemies of mankind. It makes me wonder if Sloth and Gluttony have gotten married. Obesity is a real problem.