Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Going to College on Purpose

by Joi Malloyd

Purpose. This one word can carry a fair amount of weight. When asking someone how it applies to their own life, this word is often preceded by the statement, I don’t know mine. We as college students attempt to map out what classes and experiences will get us to a place where we can reach a fulfilling end. We don’t want the all-nighters, student loans, and office hour visits to be in vain. We have a goal in mind for the trouble we go through to study at UMSL. We want to do what we are hardwired to do. We want to be who we are destined to be. We want our work to never feel like a job. We want to enjoy doing what we love for the rest of our lives and then teach someone else to do that very same thing.

However, there are thousands of possibilities when it comes to a plan of study. Most students feel overwhelmed over how to choose which major and minor will get them to their purpose. Many times I have asked myself, “How do I narrow down all my interests, aspirations, and future dreams into a major and a minor?” So, how do we choose what to study and predict where it will lead us in the future so that our money and time is not wasted?

First let me give you a definition. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word purpose is defined as follows:
a. Something set up as an object or end to be attained: intention
b. Resolution, determination

Based on this definition, most students, including myself, think about purpose as it relates to our education all wrong. I have assumed that majoring in chemistry would pigeon hole me into one profession, especially if I continue on the pre-medical track. This proposition scares me greatly as I continually find new things that I love to study and other things I am passionate about. I have been considering changing my major for a long time now, but many of my reasons I see now were misguided.

I also assumed that what I study dictates what will end up doing for the rest of my life. Our purpose as individuals is so much bigger than the next few years of our college careers. While what we do now will shape our future, we cannot get so caught up with the next four to five years that we cut ourselves of from the opportunity to use our many gifts and talents that can never be limited to words on a certificate.

I want to encourage my fellow Tritons in knowing that there is always room to learn more and try something new. What you are studying now may lead you to something much different in the future, so much so that you change your major. Not every person you see in a specific career has been on the same path their whole life, whole career, or even what they originally studied in school.

Be encouraged and relax. Have fun learning in college. Your purpose is not what job you will have or what major you choose. Let college be a time where you explore those gifts and find where you can use them to better yourself, the UMSL community and eventually the world.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Interview with Dr. Joyce M Mushaben, a Curators’ Professor

by Aaliyah Bailey

Dr. Joyce M Mushaben is a Curators’ Professor of Comparative Politics and Gender Studies here at UMSL. She received her PhD from Indiana University. Dr. Mushaben is an expert in German studies and speaks German fluently. She has authored many books, including her most recent work Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic. She also recently visited Germany for their elections. Here is a brief interview that one of our ambassadors held with Dr. Mushaben. 

Q: What brought you to the German elections?

A: I have been going to the German elections virtually every year since 1990. 1989-90 is when the Berlin Wall fell, but the first all-German elections didn’t happen until after the wall had fallen. East Germans had already voted to annex themselves to West Germany. No one thought this would come back to haunt them 27 years later, but that does appear to be the case right now. The one thing that makes this possible, that I stress over and over again, is learn a foreign language. It is my fluency in German that has gotten me all kinds of grants, not only before the wall fell, but certainly after the wall fell. 

Q: You’ve written books about a variety of German topics. What prompted you to write about Chancellor Merkel?
A: I’m the only one writing whole books on Angela Merkel in the United States as well as Great Britain. None of the German feminist scholars want to write about this woman, because, yes, she is the first woman chancellor and she’s the first Easterner and most West German scholars don’t understand East Germany or how it used to function very well. Just as importantly, she was a member of the conservative party. Many people support her, but not her party.

Q: How has Angela Merkel overcome the challenges of being the first woman chancellor?
A: One of the reasons she was able to run in her first election was because all of her rivals in the CDU party had fallen on their own swords. They all like to blame her and call her the “Black Widow Spider,” but she just stood there and didn’t shoot off her mouth and thought her way through various incidents and watched as they knocked each other out of the competition. In her first campaign, they never touched woman’s or gender issues, contrary to what was expected. She was very popular. In the second campaign, they didn’t need to address issues, they just showed more Merkel. She never called herself a feminist and looked at society holistically. She takes a pragmatic approach rather than an ideological approach; what’s more important, getting the credit passing laws or actually passing laws?

Q: As young women preparing to enter the workforce, whether business, politics or sciences, what lessons can we learn from Angela Merkel?
A: First, be pragmatic and work with anyone who has knowledge of an issue and, second, work with anyone who is willing to work with you. Understand that problems have to be solved holistically and pay attention to the future. Angela Merkel was a physicist before becoming a politician, so she knows how to be logical. Be able to think through a problem, and also be willing to admit your mistakes. Don’t worry about taking credit for getting things done; get things done.

Q: What advice do you have for students entering the workforce?
A: Really think globally and be diverse. You have to be tolerant and understand how to deal with conflict. Learn another language!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Recognizing our Staff and Faculty

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 was a special day at UMSL, our annual State
of the University Address. This event celebrates the accomplishments of UMSL employees and addresses the state of the school in the previous year and what is to come.

As students, we see and work with these employees of the university daily, yet we don't always acknowledge all of their hard work. However, these special individuals help make our university grow and thrive with so much expertise! The State of the University Address is held for all staff and faculty to come and congratulate the 2016-17 employees of the month, the 2017 Chancellor's Awards for Excellence recipients, and our staff and faculty celebrating 25 years of employment and 1 faculty member celebrating 50 years!

The Chancellor also gave his annual speech of our university’s accomplishments from 2016-17 academic year. In his presentation he showed how many of our goals were not only met this last year but also how many we exceed! It is great to say that our university flourishes more and more with the work of our faculty and staff.

So next time you pass an UMSL employee in the hall, say hello and thank them for what they do. After all, where would we be without them?

Below is the program listing all the awardees!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Getting Involved on Campus

It’s been almost a month since the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. The
hustle and bustle of the students as they head to class makes the campus come back to life; a stark contrast to the campus during summer courses. 

As the newest class of students join the university the age old question of “how do I get involved on campus?” arises for most. This seemingly easy question brings challenges to some students as they don't even know where to start. With over 120 organizations represented, the Office of Student Involvement is one of the best places to go for more information. The student workers and staff there are very knowledgeable about what each organization does. They also know events happening around campus so it’s good to ask. The Office of Student Involvement space can also be used as a study space or hang out spot. And who knows, maybe you’ll make a friend while you’re there. 

Another way of getting involved or gaining more knowledge about the campus is to get a job here. There is an application that is able to connect students to 20+ jobs on campus ranging from a desk worker in the Office of Student Involvement to being a peer mentor in the Emerging Leaders program and so much more. For those who don’t know the job that fits them, there is always something for everyone: the extroverts, the introverts, someone in-between, and even someone looking to enhance their leadership skills or start it from the bottom. 

For those who may feel overwhelmed by all the options available, one of the most effective things that they can do is ask people. Asking people what organizations that they are a part of can provide a plethora of information amongst other resources. If the information peaks interest, going to general member meeting to see what matters to the organization and what they look for in candidates may be the next steps to joining an organization. Hopefully, those first steps help the shy ones, the outgoing ones and all those who are looking to get involved.

Of course our favorite way to get involved is with UMSL Ambassadors! We’re loaded up our team for the semester, but be sure to keep an eye out on how to join in the future.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Apply to become a UMSL Ambassador

Do you want to get involved on campus and meet other student, community and university leaders? Do you need to build up your resume, cultivate your communication skills and gain leadership abilities? Check out the UMSL Ambassador program!

The UMSL Ambassadors work 3 events per semester. These events are listed on a google sheet online where the Ambassadors can access it and choose 3 events that fit around their school and work schedule. We also work 2 December commencement ceremonies and 3 May commencement ceremonies. Our other requirements include monthly meetings (usually the first Friday of the month, 4-6 pm) where we work on our professional development skills and get to know one another.

This is a volunteer organization where your hours count for school volunteer

hours. This is an opportunity to learn and grow here at UMSL. The people you will meet and opportunities offered are great and only available to the 30 students in the program. You may join anytime in your college career, we accept undergrad and graduate students. You'll learn to network, work on leadership abilities, all while building up your resume and professional list of references.

If you want to learn more visit the UMSL Ambassador page and apply by Friday September 8th at 3 pm online here. If you have additional questions please email umslambassadors@umsl.edu.

Monday, May 8, 2017

50 Things To Do at UMSL Before You Graduate

With commencement just around the corner we know we'll be saying goodbye to a lot of Tritons. We're hoping those seniors had an amazing time here at UMSL and wanted to put together a list of things for younger generations of Tritons to do! So here's your list of fun things to do at UMSL before graduating...and you can get started next fall!

1. Get an UMSL t-shirt from the Triton Store

2. Try to attend as many Weeks of Welcome (WOW) events as you can

3. Have fun at the Welcome Back Party

4. Go to the Fall EXPO and learn about clubs and organizations you can join
Photo by August Jennewein

5. Climb the rock wall at the Recreation and Wellness Center

6. Watch a performance at the Touhill (there are student rates)

7. In October attend the PLHCSA Haunted House

8. Study in the Fireside Lounge in the winter with a warm cup of cocoa from Einstein's

9. During Spring Homecoming attend Pack the Stands
Photo by August Jennewein

10. Go to the Mirth Week Carnival and eat as much popcorn as possible

11. On Friday nights hit up the UPB Friday Night Flick in the MSC

12. Attend Weeks of Welcome’s Rock the Rec at the RWC

13. Join a student organization (or you know... the UMSL Ambassadors)

14. Visit the Mercantile Library

15. Get a coffee from Cafe TJ, sit at the counter and people watch

16. Gather a group of friends and play frisbee golf across campus

17. Eat breakfast at Southside Cafe

18. Cheer for the Tritons at a sporting event

19. Gaze at the stars in the UMSL Planetarium

20. Grab some froyo from Triton Treats

21. Read stories that make UMSL unique on UMSL Daily

22. Go to campus events for free food and free swag!

23. Get your nap on in the Whole U

24. Play life-size chess in the Pilot House

25. Post a picture of the photogenic ducklings and goslings

26. Reflect on your mental wellness with Counseling Services

27. Wear red on Fridays to show how #UMSLProud you are

28. Have someone in the Writing Center edit your essay

29. Feast on french fries on Free Fry Friday at the Nosh

30. Attend a Career Fair at Mark Twain

31. Volunteer for MLK Day of Service

32. Dive into the Dive-In Movie in the RWC

33. Walk with Colleges Against Cancer during Relay for Life

34. View the art at Celebrating the Arts at the Honors College

35. Read a weekly copy of The Current student newspaper

36. Check out artwork on campus in Gallery 210

37. Catch a Cardinals game with UMSL Night at the Ballpark
Photo by August Jennewein

38. Go to your professors office hours

39. See what Career Services can do to help you get an internship or job

40. Study in the ED Collabitat on South Campus

41. Eat your lunch sitting in the chairs of the MSC 3rd floor rotunda overlooking the campus

42. Improve your leadership skills with Emerging or Advanced Leaders

43. Bring your family to enjoy Family Weekend

44. Study in the Quiet Lounge

45. Fill out your course evaluation forms to be entered to win a prize

46. Buy tickets to see the Mirth Week headliner
Photo by Mike Romer

47. Apply for an on-campus job

48. Visit the Math Lab to get help with homework

49. Use #UMSLProud or #IChoseUMSL on social media to let everyone know you are a Triton


Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with a Lead: Meghan Littles

Meghan Littles is a senior psychology major at UMSL. She has been an ambassador for four semesters and is currently a lead ambassador.

Q: Why did you choose UMSL?
A: I had heard really good things about the psych department here, and for me, UMSL struck a really good balance between financial cost and academic value.

Q: How quickly did you get involved on campus?
A: As a commuter student, it took me little longer to get involved on campus. It can be tough when you have to drive home every night to be involved with some of the extracurricular organizations. The first organization I became involved with was Golden Key. I began volunteering as a general member, and that eventually led to me becoming president last semester.

Q: Speaking of your past Golden Key presidency, in what other ways are you involved on campus?
A: I am the current president of Psi Chi. I also work as a teaching assistant in the psych department. I work as the lead research assistant in Dr. Emily Gerstein's lab, and previously worked in Dr. Matt Taylor's multicultural lab. I have also been involved with the Honors College's Honors Professional Development event as a student speaker the last two years. And of course I’m a lead ambassador for the UMSL Ambassadors and I’ve been a part of the program for two years now.

Q: Wow, that's a lot. How do you balance your extracurricular activities and your schoolwork?
A: It is very challenging. The only way I have been able to manage is to be self-aware and know my limits in certain areas. I knew that I needed to excel in academics and have extracurricular activities in order to build a strong application for graduate school. I just kept my end goal in mind, the reason I was doing each activity, and that helped me focus on the tasks I had at hand.

Q: As for graduate school, where are you going? Are you excited?
A: I will be attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in the fall to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Yes, I am both excited and pretty nervous.

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew coming into college as a freshman?
A: First, I wish I had known that getting a poor grade on an exam from time to time isn't that big of a deal; stuff happens. Second, I wish I had realized that professors are regular people too, not these big scary grade-givers that you can't go and chat with. And last, I wish I knew sooner that you can get 5 cents off per gallon at the Huck’s down the road by showing them your student ID.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: YouTube videos and TV shows. When I have the energy, I also really like to go exploring around St. Louis to find new places that I haven't seen before.