Job Hunting After Graduation

By: Sharna Johnson

Training – “Check!”

Parachute – “Check!”

Possibility you’ll freeze up, the parachute won’t open and the ground will rush up to meet you, or worse yet, you will get stuck in a tree, lost and suspended helplessly forever – “…gulp…check…”

Celebratory as it may be to move past your formal education, achieving a college degree is not really the end, it’s the beginning and the challenges of stepping into the next phase of life can feel a little like jumping out of an airplane.

You probably didn’t realize it then, but that first shopping trip for fat crayons started something – countless hours of homework, years spent sitting on hard chairs listening to teachers, book reports, projects and more tests and exams than you can count – all leading up to one thing.

Getting a job.

But finding a job after graduation doesn’t have to be terrifying and is far more likely to be successful if you approach it with the right mindset.

Job candidates that follow a few simple steps can dramatically increase their chances for success, according to Dr. Kerry Parker, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for Clovis Municipal Schools.

A school district that employs more than 1,000 professional educators and support staff, Parker said the hiring process begins as she and her staff sort through dozens of faceless, electronic applications.

Ultimately, the job candidates selected for interviews and inevitably those offered positions will be the ones that stood out – in positive ways – to prospective employers.

Having seen what works and what doesn’t, Parker offered some tips for college graduates-turned-job seekers as they begin the hunt for their first job after school:



“If you’re just getting started and waiting until your bachelor’s degree is over, in some fields you’re behind,” Parker said.

The term “networking” can seem complicated, but it really is quite simple, Parker explained. While you’re still in school it’s a good time to start getting to know people in your field and make yourself known to them. That familiarity will go a long way when the job hunt begins.

Take internship, part-time, temporary or substitute positions with organizations in your field, especially those you think you might want to work for after graduation.

If those opportunities aren’t available, become a volunteer. Even volunteering for civic organizations can forge connections in your community that will help later. The value of being there when opportunities arise or just having people recognize your name among other applicants cannot be underestimated.

“Connections and those people relationships matter,” Parker said, explaining she often sees people who have worked as substitute teachers rise to the top of applicant pools because their work traits are known. “If you have a substitute (you’ve worked with before) and then there’s some other applicant you don’t even know, who are you going to go with?” she said.

Online networking is another valuable tool that shouldn’t be underestimated, Parker said.

Job recruiters routinely search networks such as Linkedin for candidates, and job offers can result.

To make online networking work for them, candidates should familiarize themselves with the keywords that appear frequently in job descriptions in their field and make sure those are included in online profiles and resumes.

It’s become increasingly more common, she said, for job seekers to be “discovered” by prospective employers because their online profiles catch the attention of recruiters, who conduct exhaustive searches of those systems.


The Resume

Anyone looking for a job should know quite well the importance of a good resume and has likely agonized and toiled over creating the perfect summary of their life’s efforts.

While that’s a good start, however, it’s not quite enough, because one resume does not fit all.

Job hunters should be prepared to tweak and rewrite the resume for each position they apply for.

“If you know you’re targeting a specific job then whatever they put in the job description, those things need to be embedded in your resume – tailor your resume for the job,” Parker said.

Key words cannot be stressed enough and applicants need to be sure they’ve read the job description carefully and included elements of its specific language in their resume.

In doing so, however, candidates need to make sure they are being accurate and honest about their skills and abilities and that they actually know the meanings of the terms they are using, Parker said.

“Don’t lie. People do that and you get caught in the lie and that’s not good,” she said.

If specific key terms don’t match you exactly, research the terms and try to find things within your own experience and training that do align with their characteristics.

Then, “use a different word choice to align with that job description,” Parker said, but no matter what, “make sure your skills and abilities align with the job description.”

Above all else, have a professional, well-formatted and well-articulated resume – that means no typos, no grammatical errors, standard, easy-to read fonts and formatting.

The bottom line from the employer perspective, Parker pointed out, is that with the vast information available on the internet, from tips to free resume templates, there is absolutely no excuse for a subpar or unprofessional resume.

And be brief and concise.

Employers are busy and have a lot to read, so get to the point.

“I read bullets better than paragraphs,” Parker said.


The Application

You’ve spent days on your resume, had friends and professors proof-read for you, now it’s perfect and you’re ready to turn it in – but wait, you have to fill out a generic online application?

Surely it’s just a formality that you can speed through, after all, they will see everything they need to know about you on your perfect resume, right?


To candidates, online applications may seem like a waste of time or irrelevant, but if not given the proper time and attention, guess what, no one will ever see that stellar resume.

Of all the mistakes job seekers make, one of the most common and detrimental is not taking the standard application seriously.

Parker said she has seen applications filled out the same way people text message, from partial words to acronyms and emoticon symbols – and yet, she said, the applicant wants an employer to believe they completed college and can conduct themselves professionally.

Short-cutting the application and failing to use proper capitalization, spelling and punctuation will get you, and your attached resume, ignored.

“If I start reading your application and it’s sketchy, I’m not going to open your attachments,” Parker said.

“Applications matter, whether they’re electronic or hard copy – I make a lot of judgements about people’s ability to complete an application accurately,” Parker said. “If you can’t complete an application correctly then I eliminate you from being interviewed.”

Another mistake job seekers often make is in not taking advantage of every opportunity the online application gives them.

Some applications allow for additional comments from applicants.

This, Parker said, is just one more area where you can enrich yourself and stand out. Use comment areas to explain more about your professional background or showcase things you couldn’t go into detail about in your resume.

“It’s a good opportunity to give the high points and hopefully that’s just another opportunity to sell yourself,” Parker said.

This is important, because remember, at this point, the person reviewing your application hasn’t looked at your attachments yet, and you want to make sure they do.

And finally, attach a cover letter, resume, transcripts… submit as much supporting material as the application will allow, because if you make it through the application screening process, the attachments and their quality, will see you through the next cut and hopefully secure you an interview.


Follow Through

A lot of work went into the resume and application, but clicking submit, believe it or not, was not the end.

Still faced with the challenge of standing out from other job seekers, after completing the application process, candidates need to follow through and make themselves known.

Parker said it’s not only appropriate, it’s advisable to follow up, make sure your application has been received, check to see if there is anything else you can submit and ask about the hiring timeline.

If an application or job description lists the name or contact information for the supervisor or hiring manager, consider it an invitation.

“There’s a reason why the person is (listed) there,” Parker said.

Employers that list contact information are open to, and in fact welcome communication from applicants, with a couple of caveats.

If you plan to contact a prospective employer, “have some legitimate questions and have a reason to do that,” Parker said.

“I’ll answer calls, I’ll answers emails,” she explained, but the nature of the contact factors into the impression an applicant makes and employers know a fishing expedition when they see it.

If an applicant makes contact but doesn’t have anything substantial to discuss or suggests scheduling an ambiguous meeting to just to talk – they aren’t likely to be received very well.

Asking legitimate questions about the position or hiring process is acceptable, however, and can help a candidate stand out among others, she said.

Another way to follow through goes back to the concept of networking – talk to people who work for the organization where you applied, discuss the position and pick their brains – because being known will help you stand out.


When it all comes down to it, despite new technologies, getting a job hasn’t changed that much over the years and the traditional rules are still as important as ever – making good impression, networking, impeccable applications, accurate and concise resumes and professional presentation are the keys to getting that job – and beginning the life you’ve worked so hard for.


Graduation- Facing the Unknown

By: Rae Arnett

With graduation rapidly approaching, my family has been full of advice on what my next steps need to be.

My oldest brother believes you should find a job, make it your career, and stay with it.

My mother is an adamant believer in being in a place you want to be. Don’t like New Mexico? Then move to another state you like better. Maybe you would just rather be in a different town? Look for jobs there!

But my father has the best advice.

“Your 20’s are for looking. Your 30’s are for building,” said my father, Mark Arnett, “Don’t get too caught up in where you think you need to be, you’ll get there all the same”.

I like his advice the best. Maybe because at nearly 25 years old I still have not found that career that makes my heart sing, and that is not from a lack of trying.

Campaigning, insurance, human resources, journalism, and advertising are just a few of the careers I have “dipped my toes” into. Yet none of them have sent me over the moon.

“Your 20s really are the time to explore… before you get married and before you have kids, you don’t have a lot of financial responsibilities,” said Jean Chatzky, financial editor of NBC’s “Today” show, in 2014.

I have been exploring, as we all should be. There are not going to be an abundance of times in your life when you will have less responsibility than you do right now.

Maybe you are worried about those student loan payments rapidly approaching. Maybe you have a car payment or even something as small as a cell phone bill. I’m not saying you do not have responsibilities today, but that cell phone bill will later be accompanied by health care, mortgage, or children.

So apply for that dream job. Take the chances you have always wanted to. Pick a hobby you have always wanted to try (life without homework creates a lot more free time!). Do what YOU want to do!

It’s time to spread your wings and find out who and what you have always wanted to be; what you are meant to be.

So here’s to Eastern New Mexico University; thank you to all the professors for the knowledge you diligently imparted upon us, for pushing us outside our comfort zones, and for helping us grow.

Here’s to all the friends we made along the way who made the college experience even better.

And here’s to all of the graduates; May you find your passion and pursue it endlessly.

In the wise words of Oprah Winfrey:

“Sometimes you find out what you are supposed to be doing by doing the things you are not supposed to do”.


Learning ASL

By: Samantha Smith

This semester I chose to sign up for a sign language course to cover one of my general education requirements. As I study for my last written exam in the course, I figured why not kill two birds with one stone and write an article about it.

There are several different ways to learn sign language including online courses, YouTube channels, college classes and learning from a deaf person. One of the first things you should consider when deciding to learn sign language is which sign language you would like to learn. Click HERE for a list of a few of the different sign languages but know that American Sign Language (ASL) is what is used in the United States. You’ll also notice that in different areas of the USA, ASL signs will vary, just as accents do for those of us who speak.

Quick lesson: Hand shape, hand orientation, location and movement are the main four components of sign language according to signcanyou.com. These components are often referred to as the “Parameters of Sign.”

In my opinion, the school system should put more of an effort into teaching the general public about sign language and the deaf culture. Apparently the government of Manitoba agrees with me: “If students develop the skills to analyze, understand, and relate to any culture with which they may come into contact, they will be prepared for encounters with new cultural practices (pg 4, Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes).” In my first day of sign language class, I was given a test to fill out about deaf culture and I was very uniformed to put it lightly. If more schools would make it mandatory to learn at least the basics of ASL and deaf culture, it would be beneficial in the long run.

I realize that not everyone has the time or money to take a college ASL course, so I have taken the time to find two other options for those who many be interested. If you’re interested in learning ASL from home, you can sign up for an online course that can be found by clicking this link. Another option if you only want some basic knowledge in the area is to watch “100 Basic Signs,” on YouTube (click here). Because there’s not near enough time in the day (or space in this blog) click HERE if you’re interested in learning more about ASL deaf culture.


Who Needs Public Education Anyways?

By: Rae Arnett

What does less funding for the public universities in New Mexico mean? Budget cuts and higher tuition costs are two things that immediately come to mind. But no matter what the actual cost might be, it will be you, the students, paying for it.

In a standoff with the New Mexico Legislature earlier this month, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed all of the funding for higher education. This standoff started over proposed raised taxes in the state budget. I do not want to pay more taxes, but we currently live in a state that is in a budgetary crisis and additional taxes are necessary.

My question –  why veto and put public universities at risk? It’s one question I cannot answer for certain, but I believe it is a political power play. Martinez knows that taking a harsh stand will have a greater probability of bring the state legislature to the table, on her terms.

In order to get the budget approved, and funding back for the public universities, there will have to be a special session called. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the special session will cost approximately $50,000 per day, which is not exactly desirable considering the current financial predicament our state is in.

Public education in New Mexico is generally ranked near the bottom of the annual Quality Education Reports, and this year was no different. New Mexico tied for 49th with Mississippi and Nevada came in at 50th. This does not bode well for public education in New Mexico, which has also been under the knife of budget cuts.

I do not know about you, but I want to be proud of education in New Mexico, which means we need to start appropriately funding our schools. All of them. Education starts early in our lives, and we continue through school for a significant amount of time. I have been “in school” for nearly 19 years, but I also know that I have been extremely fortunate in every step of my education.

When I look to the future and think about where I would want to build a career, life, and family; I think about education standards, cost of living, job security and safety. Needless to say, New Mexico ranks on my list for its proximity to my family but not for much else.

To further complicate matters, there is also a current job freeze on most state jobs, according to the Albuquerque Journal. But why does that matter? As graduation approaches, there is a significant appeal to state jobs as well as federal jobs.

Our state has essentially defunded public education, higher education, and created less job opportunities for the state. In a state where retention of college graduates is already an issue, it seems it would be wise not to dramatically raise tuition and to offer incentives, like job opportunities, for those recent graduates to stay.

Our state is in trouble. Our university is in trouble. And we are in trouble.

Call and let Susana Martinez know that you want public universities and public schools funded. The higher we build up our youth with education, the better off our entire state will be.

Susana Martinez’s office can be reached at 505-476-2200. Call her office and let her know what you think. She might be in her “lame duck” years as our Governor, but she still works for us; her constituents.


Netflix Series: 13 Reasons Why, Brings Awareness to ENMU


By: Cale Bloskas

The new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” has recently started a national controversy on the responsibility the media should take on what they show, and how their viewers react. Many fear that the Netflix series has overstepped the line of what is appropriate to show on television, but others feel it has started a conversation that was long overdue.

“13 Reasons Why” is based off a book with the same name that tells the story of a high school student, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide. Before taking her life, Hannah recorded 13 tapes explaining the 13 things, or reasons, that led to her suicide. The series walks viewers through those tapes and the impact they had on students she went to school with. One of the most controversial scenes in the series is a scene in the last episode that shows Hannah’s suicide in graphic detail.

The series brings awareness to mental health, bullying, and suicide prevention at a time when four students have taken their life on Eastern New Mexico University’s (ENMU) campus in the past two semesters. With only four suicides on campus in the previous 10 years combined, bringing awareness to mental illness and suicide prevention is something that has become an immediate concern of students, faculty and the administration at ENMU.

A few years ago, Cornell University experienced a similar rise in suicides on their campus. Dr. Gregory Eells was the director of Counseling & Psychological Services on Cornell’s campus during that time and said after watching “13 Reasons Why”, there were several damaging aspects to the series that might have an impact on viewers who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts. Eelss said, “My primary concerns about the show is that it romanticizes Hannah’s suicide. I also find it troubling that the counselor is portrayed as disingenuous and not helpful. These messages are problematic given the finality of suicide and the science that counseling is helpful and significantly reduces the risk of suicide.”

Although there are negative aspects of the series, almost everyone agrees that there are important lessons to be learned from. Though the presentation might be controversial, the underlining issues involved have started a conversation and brought awareness to issues like bullying and mental illness.

Junior, elementary education major at ENMU, Ashlynn Idsinga said that “13 Reasons Why” has taught her several valuable lessons about students who might be struggling. Idsinga said, “Everyone has different personalities, and may react differently to even a joking comment. We all need to be cautious with our words and actions. Some people have made comments that the show glorifies the idea of suicide, but from what I have seen it shows the hurt and pain it causes those close to you. I hope it shows people with suicidal thoughts that they are not invisible – that they are valued.”

The series has helped viewers see the impact bullying can have on someone’s emotions, but disregards the mental health issues that were involved with the character who committed suicide. Instead of focusing on mental illness and providing hope to those struggling, the show blames others and glorifies the act of suicide. Mental illness and suicide are things that need to be discussed openly on campus in order for a positive impact to be made.

Director of Counseling and Career Services at ENMU, Susan Larsen, said that one of the main reasons she believes this has become an issue on campus and across the country is because of the negative stigma surrounding mental illness. Larsen said, “There is a negative stigma surround mental illness all over the nation and even here at ENMU… with students coming to college with more mental illness, abuse and addictions than ever, these issues need to be discussed.”

Mental illness is not a problem that is going to go away and is something that many people struggle with silently their whole lives. Several national campaigns are striving to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. One of those organizations, Project Wake Up, aims to end the stigma by recognizing that the first step to change is to start the conversation. President and founder of Project Wake Up, Alex Lindley said it is important to remember that, “Nobody chooses to have a mental illness, but people can choose how they react to it… how we react can have a positive impact on ending the stigma and starting the conversation that helps students.”

Lindley said that one of their most effective initiatives has begun on Missouri University’s campus and is equipping students with proper response training. Often, students are afraid to go to a professional and will reach out to their peers first.

Counseling and Career Services on ENMU campus has a similar training that they give to all resident assistants (RAs) in the dorms. One of these RAs, Andrew Case, said “…Counseling and Career Services has done an excellent job of preparing us for situations where we need to help.” Case stated that RAs are often the first responders to student crisis and the training they receive is intended to help them know what to do when students need immediate help.

Seeking immediate professional help is essential if students know of someone who is struggling with severe depression or suicidal thoughts. When encountering someone who is struggling with these thoughts, it is important to:

  1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  2. Listen non-judgmentally (take to a private place if possible)
  3. Give reassurance and information
  4. Encourage appropriate professional help
  5. Encourage self-help and other non-professional support strategies.

Students who are experiencing suicidal thoughts are encouraged to contact ENMU Counseling and Career Service’s 24-hour hotline at 575-607-5689, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Students needing less immediate help can contact Counseling and Career Services at 575-562-2211 or room 232 in the Student Academic Services (SAS) Building.






One More Chance

By: Samantha Smith

This year has proved to be my hardest year yet competing in college rodeo. Throughout my years of school, I have been fairly successful in rodeo, but this year has been different.

As a freshman, things seemed to come extremely easy for me. At my very first college rodeo I made the short round of competition which is something many people never get to experience. I then went on to win a college rodeo that year and compete in several other short rounds.

Fast-forward to sophomore year, I again made the short round at the first rodeo and started a bit of a streak, qualifying to the following two rodeos as well. When asked, I usually give my older sister, Taylor, a lot of credit for those good runs – thanks to her yelling in the stands and telling me what to do as if I could actually hear her.

Now, this year, junior year, is another story. Junior year has been a struggle to say the least. At the first rodeo, one I have consistently done good at, I didn’t just knock, but I knocked and flipped over the first barrel, something no barrel racer ever wants to do. This put me at an off start to the year, unsure of how to handle the loss at our hometown college rodeo. Next weekend, Alpine, TX, a rodeo I had won third at the year prior, horse and rider miscommunication causing another knocked barrel and another weekend with no short round. Vernon, TX college rodeo, another no-good run… are you seeing the pattern yet?

After the fall semester my parents finally convinced me it was time to get on a different horse as things obviously hadn’t been working with the one I was on at the time. To be truthful, things hadn’t been working for awhile, but I was too stubborn to admit it and wanted to prove that I could fix the problems all on my own. I was wrong.

December was a good month for me, I bought my new horse, Miracle Tash a.k.a. “Deana,” and got to fly home to Canada for Christmas. After New Years, I returned to the U.S., but only for three days before we picked up and went on a family vacation to Costa Rica that my mom had earned through her multi-level marketing company. Though I was happy to be on vacation, I couldn’t wait to get back and get a feel for my new horse.

Well, now it’s April and I’m still working on that whole “getting a feel” thing. People don’t understand that rodeo isn’t as easy as it may seem. In any other sport the game is always the same, you can switch fields, courts, turfs, you name it, but the idea stays the same. In rodeo, a horse switch after six years is like changing sports completely. This change is taking me time to adjust to, in fact, I had to send my other horse home to Canada to allow myself to completely focus on this one and getting our timing. Did I wish I had my old horse at the rodeo we won freshman year by four tenths? Of course I do, but the only way to get better is to make sacrifices and make changes in order to succeed.

The last college rodeo of the year is approaching fast and I am yet to make a short round. That one hurt to even type. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement, but I am not writing myself off quite yet. As I write this, I am sitting in my farrier’s barn doing homework while I get new shoes put on my horse’s feet. Though to some, this wouldn’t seem like a big deal, I’m seeing it as a fresh set of shoes for a fresh set of wins. Tartleton University hosts the last college rodeo of the year, and some say it’s even the best rodeo of the year, featuring smoke, fireworks, and added money which always draws in more entries. At this point, I’m not sure anyone sees me as tough competition, but what they don’t know is that I’m coming for them. This time, I’ve got a vengeance, I refuse to go a year without a short round, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure I’m in that top ten come Saturday afternoon.


ENMU Student and USA Today College Intern – The Balancing Act of a College Journalist

By: Cale Bloskas

Leaving their hometown for college is often a significant milestone in a student’s life that allows them to break out of the “bubble” they grew up in and redefine themselves. In Eastern New Mexico, it is often an opportunity to experience the world and have opportunities that they would not usually have here. However, as senior journalism student at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), Chelsie Arnold learned you do not have to travel far to connect with people all over the nation and be successful.

Arnold, a native of Portales, NM, looked forward to the day when she could leave Portales. It was only after considering ENMU that she realized that they offered more than she gave them credit for. Arnold said, “I started considering the financial perks of [attending] Eastern. I took classes [at ENMU] in high school, and I liked the atmosphere and the people that I met… I decided to stay, and I do not regret that decision at all.”

Opportunities to be successful often take a little bit of work. Arnold put in the extra work to seek opportunities and now is an intern for USA Today College as a digital producer. The internship with USA Today College provides Arnold with the opportunity to receive advice and guidance from experienced professions as well as other college students across the U.S.

Arnold heard about the opportunity from another student in the Communication Department but said that she honestly didn’t feel like she would get the position since ENMU is a remote college with a small number of students. The chance to work for USA Today College did not come easy; it is something Arnold has worked for the last few years to achieve. Speaking of the experience, Arnold said, “I applied the first time a year and a half ago, and they did not select me to be a paid intern, but they did select me to be an unpaid contributor for the semester… I didn’t get paid for anything that was published, but I had the opportunity to create a connection between them.”

It was not until this semester, her last semester at ENMU, that USA Today College offered Arnold a paid position. Arnold learned a valuable lesson about taking a chance and not giving up. Talking about the importance of students being willing to take a chance, Arnold said, “If you wait for an opportunity to seek you out, you might be waiting for a little bit…. However, if you take a chance you never know where it will get you. Even if you are unpaid for a while, it will all work out and benefit you.”

The internship has allowed her to interview people from across the country and write stories that would mainly only be of interest to college students. However, a few months ago when the riots broke out at the University of California, Berkeley surrounding the visit of Milo Yiannopoulos, Arnold had the opportunity to receive national attention for her writing.

Speaking about the experience, Arnold said, “The riots happened while I was on my shift on Wednesday and my editor asked me if I could write something about it. I gathered all the information that I could find, like tweets of the journalist there live or students live-tweeting the situation, and I wrote something up. USA Today’s main site picked up the story, and pulled some of my information to include in their article and listed me as a contributor to their article.”

Becoming a journalist has not been Arnold’s plan from the beginning. Like most students when they start school she did not know what she wanted to do when she started. Instead, she went to Counseling and Career Services on ENMU campus for help figuring out what would be the best fit. Talking about this stressful time, Arnold said, “I was super freaked out about picking a major and I did not want to change my major hundreds of times. It was causing me immense stress because I was not sure what to pick. I honestly could have picked anything and changed it would’ve been that big of a deal.” Counseling and Career Services gave her a personality test that told her that her best fit would be in public relations. However, once she started taking mass communication classes she quickly fell in love with journalism and knew that is what she wanted to pursue a career in journalism instead of public relations.

When asked about her plans, Arnold says that she is engaged and not sure where she will end up with also having to consider her fiancé’s plans also. However, she said, “What I like about the field of journalism is that you do not necessarily have to be in the same location especially with technology, you can do interviews on Skype and over the phone. I think that is where everything is headed and has been headed toward so I could do a lot of it from anywhere.”

The experiences that Chelsie Arnold has had at ENMU are an example that opportunities often come when you least expect them. Although ENMU is not a large university, there are still opportunities here that will allow students to be successful after they graduate. Being successful after you graduate takes work, but as Arnold has shown, that work begins well before you receive your diploma.







A hole, a small town, and the US government

By: Rae Arnett

My hometown of Nara Visa has been in the news lately, which is an odd occurrence all on its own. There are no gas stations, grocery stores, or police stations. The population of the town isn’t much, if I had to wager, I would bet there are more abandoned buildings in Nara Visa than occupied ones. So what has caused such a stir in this sleepy community?

A proposed test bore site done by the company Enercon is what has everyone interested in my little town. The site would be testing the viability of the land to store nuclear waste, and while there is nothing in the works to make the site an operational nuclear waste storage facility, at the moment, it’s not a risk some in the area are willing to take. 

My own father, Mark Arnett, raised his concerns and they were not about little ol Nara Visa, but rather about the Ogallala Aquifer. 

“I can’t imagine drilling through the Ogallala to make a hole to put nuclear waste in, it’s just asking for trouble,” said Arnett.

I agree, and not just because he is my dad. The Ogallala is an essential piece to surviving in Eastern New Mexico, West Texas, and six other states. Remember all those seemingly silly reminders to water on certain days, or the pipeline from Ute Lake to Curry and Roosevelt Counties? Those reminders and that pipeline are being built because water is such a precious resource in our area. For the people with the “mind your own business” attitude, I can think of a few people who would say to manage your own water better.

The thought of potentially contaminating that water is enough to make me run for the hills, so imagine how the locals who still live in Nara Visa feel. Are you starting to understand why you should be attentive, if not concerned, about the situation?

It’s hard to trust something new, even if it comes with the promise of revitalization and more jobs in the area. If anything, those big promises would make people more gun-shy. Why would you want to bring jobs and revitalization to a town that does not even have a gas station any longer? I am not disparaging Nara Visa; I love it, even if my cell phone does not work there. But, I also have a realistic outlook for the area. It’s an area for ranchers, not for the hustle and bustle. It’s a town you drive through, only those that are already intimate with its charms stop to look.

It was brought to my attention that some people thought these locals were overreacting. Maybe they were. But they are reacting for everyone who uses the Ogallala Aquifer, so I think we can cut them a break.

And for those that support the borehole, that is okay too. Revitalizing the community and the promise of more jobs is not something to dismiss in a hurry. It’s good to have the discussion, the debate, and to find a way through the new territory together. 

“In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest,” said William Penn.

A concept we should all keep in mind. Let’s debate to find the solution, not to disparage one another. Let’s debate to decide if this is right for the Nara Visa area, Eastern New Mexico, and the Ogallala Aquifer.


Snyder Short Round

By: Samantha Smith

Last weekend the ENMU Rodeo Team attended their eighth rodeo of the season and third rodeo of the spring semester at Western Texas College in Snyder, TX. After a less than great performance at the Ranger College Rodeo in Brownwood, TX two weekends ago, both the women’s and men’s teams bounced back strong, qualifying 12 team members to the short round of competition.

The women’s team had a strong performance, with eight girls qualifying for the short round in three events. ENMU Rodeo has a well-known reputation for excellent goat tying and this weekend was no exception. In the long round of competition, Tawny Barry carried away the competition tying a 6.9 second run to win the round. Unfortunately, a bobble in the short round cost her the championship but she was able to recover and finish fourth in the average. Colorado cowgirl Celie Vick ended up being the top ENMU goat tyer over the weekend after a tie for third and fourth place in the long round, and a tie for second and third in the short round resulting in a second place finish in the average. New Mexican’s Saige Bell, Lany Elkins, and Lindsey Adcock also had a strong showing in the long round but had some tough luck in the short round.

In the barrel racing, two ENMU cowgirls also managed to find their place in the coveted Saturday night short round. Bailey Harwell managed to put threes all the way across the board finishing third in the long round, third in the short round and you guessed it, third in the average. Joining Harwell in the cream of the crop was one of several Canadians on the team, Kennedy Smith. After a tough start to college rodeo with two injured horses, Smith was able to jockey her way to seventh place in the long round. A knocked over barrel in the short round cost her a place in the average.

Kortney McReynolds was the only roper to qualify for the short round in the breakaway but unfortunately wasn’t able to capture her calf the second time around.

As for the men’s team, six cowboys competed in the Saturday night short round.

Team ropers Luke Hisel and Brandon Muniz were the comeback kids Saturday night, winning the short round after qualifying in last hole after the long round. This first place performance secured a reserve championship in the average for the New Mexico cowboys.

Steer Wrestlers Ringo Robinson and Wesley Gudgell also competed Saturday night. Gudgell ended up sixth place in the average and Robinson was unable to capture his second steer.

In the roughstock events, saddle bronc rider Jacob Lewis won second place in the long round but bucked off in the short round. Bull rider Tucker Turner also qualified for the short round but finished with a no-score in the short round as well.

ENMU Rodeo will compete at Big Springs, TX this coming weekend. Follow southwestregionrodeo.com for full results.


“So do you ride bulls?” Struggles of a Rodeo Athlete

By: Samantha Smith

People always ask me, “What it’s like to college rodeo? How do you prepare? Does the school supply your horses or do you have your own? Is rodeo expensive?”

Truth is, though it is the most decorated sports team at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), not many people even know we have a rodeo team. Because of this, I’ve taken it upon myself to help educate those who honestly have no idea (shoutout to the kid that didn’t believe I was a cowgirl because I, “didn’t look the part,” since I didn’t wear boots and spurs to class).

Because I’m feeling rather adventurous, we are going to play a little bit of true or false today! Common cowgirl/boy stereotypes debunked.

1. “All rodeo people listen to country music”

False. Despite popular belief, not all cowgirls and cowboys listen to country music 24/7. In fact, I’m not sure when the last time was that I hopped in someone’s pickup to go to a rodeo and they had a country radio station playing. If I had to take a guess, the most common music played heading from one rodeo to the next amongst my group of friends would have to be pop, followed by hip-hop/R&B. While trying to find some research on this topic, I came across a blog by Rodeo Paige posted on Kimes Ranch’s website. Click on this link to read her opinion on this topic. Personally, I have a large variety of XM radio channels I listen to, ranging from 80’s on 8 to “The Heat.”

2. “The school provides horses for each rodeo team member” 

False again. Of all the questions I receive about college rodeo, I think this one may be the most common. To put it quite simply, no, the school does not buy us horses, nor does the school pay to feed the horses we have. Rodeo is by no means a cheap sport to get involved with. Plus, rodeo athletes have to not only take care of themselves, but also their four-legged members as well. This takes not only time, but money too which can often mean we are relying on a paycheck at the rodeo to pay for expenses the next week. Most of us rodeo team members rode the same horses we ride now in high school, and coaches often will recruit people based on the horses they ride, or what we like to refer to as “horsepower.”

3. “Rodeo kids always wear their belt buckles and cowboy boots to class” 

False. This one can get a little bit tricky depending on who you talk to. Yes, there are some rodeo kids who constantly wear their boots, spurs, buckles, hats, starched jeans and shirts. But there are also plenty of us who do not. Because the statement uses the word “always,” this one will be marked down as a misconception with the others for now. At ENMU, there are actually a lot of kids who fall under this stereotype without even being rodeo competitors, it’s just the norm around here to look “punchy” I guess. Personally, and I think every girl on the rodeo team will agree with this as well as several of the boys, I never wear my “rodeo attire” to class. There are a couple of boys on the team however that do wear all of the above to class AND haul their horse trailers into town to make sure everyone knows they’re cowboys (I’m talking about you Dustyn and Bryce). Moral of the story, just because I don’t spur my chair down for 90 points in class doesn’t mean I’m not a competitor in the rodeo arena.

4. “Rodeo kids are all AG Business majors” 

False again! I think I’m starting to sense a trend here, no? Just like any other sports team, not all of our members are earning the same degree. Another fun fact, rodeo is unique because it doesn’t require us athletes to practice as a team. Each individual competes on their own, with the exception of team roping, and at the end of the weekend individual points are totaled, resulting in the team points. Because we don’t have to practice together, we also have several students who are all online with their studies. Tawny Barry is one of our best women’s team competitors and studies business online, meaning she can live wherever she pleases but still compete for and earn a degree from ENMU. Many rodeo kids do decide to study agriculture because it allows them to learn more about what we already do, however many of us choose degrees in other areas.

5. “Cowgirls/boys aren’t real athletes” OR “Rodeo isn’t a sport”

False, false, false. One of my biggest pet peeves has always been the downplay of rodeo as a sport. Just like many other athletes at this school, we put in our time and work hard to succeed in the rodeo arena. When other sports try to knock us down, it is disheartening and simply put, rude. According to all three definitions of a sport given by topendsports.com, rodeo does fall under that category. As for those who think we aren’t athletes, try flanking a calf and tying him down. You can do that? Great, now jump on someone’s barrel racing horse and see if you can make it around all three barrels in record time. Think you can do that too? Time to hit the rough stock end of the arena and jump on a bull because surely that doesn’t require any athleticism at all. If this mini rant wasn’t enough for you, leave a comment and we can come back to this another day.

6. “College rodeo is the experience of a lifetime that you’ll never forget” 

True! I always like to leave things on a good note and this seemed to be the only way I was going to get some sleep after #5 *insert eye roll here. On a more serious note, college rodeo has been one of the best things I have ever experienced. Coming all the way from Canada to New Mexico to rodeo for a university definitely wasn’t a small decision to make, but I wouldn’t go back and change it for the world. I have made great friends that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life, and the experience here has actually made me look into getting dual-citizenship and moving down here permanently after school. While trying to find a link of interest for this sub-heading I came across a NY Times article about college rodeo that warmed my heart. Click the hyperlink above and see if it has the same feeling for you!