Monday, December 4, 2017

Preparing for Success in Your Upcoming Finals

by Yazan Alkharabsheh

As we are approaching the end of the semester and face an incoming wave of
final exams, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to motivate and give advice for success. 

Experiencing difficulty as a student in inevitable. However, experiencing difficulty should not be interpreted as something that will inherently limit success. It is natural for any student to be worried when making a great effort to prepare for exams. This fear is normal, provided it does not become so frustrating that it affects test taking ability. 

To enhance your ability to study and navigate future tasks, try to go to sleep early the day before each exam. Medical research confirms that late night studying reduces 30% of a student’s learning rate, especially after 11:00 p.m. Lack of sleep reduces the ability to think and work the next morning. ‏The body needs at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. Students should prioritize going to bed earlier and waking around sunrise. Waking up early to study is essential since the brain is most productive and capable of absorbing information at that time. Additionally, it is important to eat light and healthy meals consisting of mainly vegetables and fresh fruits. While studying, refrain from the habit of sitting in a chair with feat raised, or stretching out comfortably in bed. This may lower your capacity to study. Instead, sit in front of a desk with your feet fixed on the ground. Most importantly, keep away from over using any substances such as coffee to increase hours of vigilance. After extended periods of use, substances of this kind reduce concentration during studying and exam taking. Lastly, effective study habits include readings notes and lectures carefully, summarizing readings, and making study guides and visual aids. 

Remember, failure to achieve a certain grade in the past is not the end of the world. There is always an opportunity to learn from failure. Learn from past failure to improve as students, do the best you could possibly do, and achieve your goals. Life is like a glass of water: it can be half full or half empty. Our job is to use our experiences to fill that empty half of the glass with new successes.

I am confident that UMSL Ambassadors are able to accomplish any task if they put their minds to it. The fact that you are all UMSL Ambassadors means that you are successful students who are capable of great accomplishments. I truly believe that you will all do great. So, work hard and fill that empty half of the glass to the brim.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Sajah Alkharabsheh

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Although not everybody celebrates the traditional Thanksgiving, it’s always good to remember to be thankful for what we have. I myself am very thankful. Being able to grow so much as a person and a student this year has been a wonderful achievement.

This week is also the beginning of a break that many students long for across the nation. After months of hard work, it's wonderful when we get to lay back and relax (or at least not worry about school every minute). Some students are going out of town while others are working or even binge watching Friends. Other students might also be studying ahead of time for finals.  

This is a great time of year for family and friends to gather. The time when everyone sits around a big table with the most scrumptious food that leaves us in a state commonly known as a "food coma". For this one week in November, our families will reunite to spend a day together whilst also being thankful for everything we have in life. After dinner, we all sit around reminiscing on old memories and making plans for the future. 
Be sure to stay safe over this coming week because many people love and care about you. Enjoy your time with your loved ones and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Coming to UMSL: A Story of an International UMSL Ambassador

By Prachi Talwar

Being a thousand miles away from home, a place which shaped my soul inside out has been the most challenging part of my journey at University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL). This is best understood by my fellow international students. My journey from India to the United States as a student has been a rollercoaster ride that has made me into a more adventurous and responsible person.

Being an international student brings new challenges every day. From language to culture, everything requires my utmost attention. I still remember my first day of college, where I had to find my way around campus as well as having to attend orientation. Like most international students I socialized with students with whom I share the same origins. But as time passed I was able to befriend a group of students who were a mix of locals and other international students from other countries.

Since starting school here I have been participating in school organizations and leadership programs. UMSL Ambassadors is one of them. It has provided me with an opportunity to meet many student leaders with rich backgrounds and ambitions. However, the Ambassadors program helps people meet with more than just students. It opens the door to networking with professors, the chancellor and others in the campus community.

Through my experience with the program and UMSL, my approach towards life has come to be more diversified and unique. The monthly meetings and the icebreakers that are played at the beginning of each meeting has helped ease the transition to the new American lifestyle. We were lead into projects which promoted team work.

UMSL has a diversified range of cultures and cultural events and being able to share a part of each other’s culture and traditions not only bonded us more to each other but also broadened our perspective of the world around us.

As months passed by, my anxiety of being away from home had started to wash away with the flow of time. The constant support of our professors in every aspect of my day to day life is always a stress buster in my struggle as an international student.

Over the first year of my college experience, connecting with people from all around the world has not only shaped my conduct but also made me a better student and person. The UMSL Ambassador program has taught me to be an independent and a hardworking learner. It has shaped my instincts while providing me an insight into my potential and aspirations, unlocking my capabilities to socialize and learn something from everything I experience. Further, helping me to grow with focus and zeal. Over the time I have spent at the university overcoming all my personal barriers, it is my heartfelt gratitude now quoting “My UMSL, My Home”.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why Choose UMSL?

By Michaela Browne

What type of people choose UMSL? Motivated people choose UMSL. Diverse people choose UMSL. Successful people choose UMSL. Ambitious people choose UMSL. Most of all, people with dreams choose UMSL.

I chose UMSL because it is a high-quality education at an affordable cost. The professors at UMSL care about their students and I enjoy learning from such wonderful educators. I personally have chosen to commute, and I am very impressed with the selection of class offerings, as well as the variety in time selections. However, whether you choose to live on or off campus, you cannot go wrong with UMSL’s campus, course assortment, and welcoming community. The campus also provides a variety of organizations, which provides a plethora of ways to connect. There is literally something for everyone.

This year I have the opportunity to be a part of UMSL Ambassador program. I love being an ambassador because I get to represent something that I am very passionate about: UMSL and what it represents. Diversity, fairness, education and so much more. As an UMSL ambassador, I have been able to meet people of diverse backgrounds that have similar interests in making their dreams a reality. The volunteer events are not only fun, but allow opportunities to meet a variety of people, as well as providing opportunities for networking.

My advice for all of my fellow students is to strive for what drives you. I am so thankful that I am at a college that gives me so many opportunities to work towards my dreams. “If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney. Life is too short to not work hard for what you want. UMSL provides the stage to make your dreams a reality. That’s why I chose UMSL.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Diversity Matters

By Liliana De La Garza

One of the amazing parts of being an UMSL Ambassador is the diversity we share as an entity.

As a non-traditional student born in Mexico, my first day walking onto campus brought on a flurry of questions: Why am I here? Will I feel out of place? Am I making the right choice for myself? Am I too old to be here? Are there other students who look like me?

It took a matter of only days on campus to realize that diversity and inclusion are something that UMSL encourages, and appreciates throughout the student demographic. This notion was more clearly defined by the amazing group of individuals that comes together as the UMSL Ambassadors.

We have people of all creeds, backgrounds, races, majors, minors, height, etc. For myself, I find a sense of harmony knowing that I am not the only person in our group who was born elsewhere, or didn’t go to college right after high school, or who looks different. We come together to share, learn, and grow in our educational goals and interpersonal goals. To learn from one another and make sense of this grueling, tedious, worthwhile, and often frustrating adventure that is our college experience.

We represent and honor our school through the participation as ambassadors, but also in how we carry ourselves. We were selected because of our diverse experiences, and distinct stories. For someone with a not so traditional story that is something that I feel grateful to be a member of. So as we proudly wear our vests and guide guests at important events, I hope we can all appreciate the beauty that is our group of wonderfully, talented, unique, and ambitious group of ambassadors.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Haunted houses, candy, and costumes, oh my!

The air is vibrating with excitement now that Halloween is just around the
corner. What costumes to wear, what decorations to put up, and more importantly, what events to attend. Some people want to be chilled to the bone, while others prefer laughter and sweets. Either way, the decisions can be numerous and overwhelming.

As someone who never knew I was “coulrophobic” (afraid of clowns), this year I am advising others with similar fears to stay safe and attend light hearted entertainment. One such event is PLHCSA’s (Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association) Hayride on October 24th from 5PM to 7PM from Oak Hall and Provincial House. If you are interested in hanging out in the cool weather and being charioted around, then this is the event for you. (They are asking for donations of money or pet supplies for their fundraising efforts supporting Gateway Pet Guardians.)

How about something a little more spooky and interactive? Although there aren’t any dungeons on campus, at least not anymore…jk… escaping from approaching deadlines can be just as frightening. If you are wanting to escape that reality, why don’t you try the Escape Rooms on October 25th at 7PM in Oak Hall? No groups necessary to participate, free food, and music are provided to those who survive the post-apocalyptic nightmare!

Another fun event is the 8th Annual Trunk-or-Treat on October 28th from 12 PM to 2 PM at the MSC garage. Put on by UMSL student organizations, offices, and departments, this activity is geared towards children and families in the surrounding areas, yet students and professors of all ages and departments will be in attendance. Not only will there be candy, but information about different clubs and organizations on campus, games and activities, and even prizes for best costumes!

And if you’re someone who just likes to celebrate on Halloween itself, how about a tour of UMSL’s most haunted building? Provincial House is hosting a Haunted Honors Tour at 8 PM that is engaging and terrifying! Prepare to be scared, and if you are so lucky, t-shirts will be given to the first 150 who survive!

Of course, there are always the laid back ways to enjoy Halloween with friends and family from trick-or-treating or being at home making food or watching a movie. Whatever you choose, just remember to have a happy and safe Halloween!

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.