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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”.

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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.

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“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!

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Financial Aid Awareness Month Highlights – What Students Don’t Know

By: Sharna Johnson

Perhaps it’s denial, misinformation or a lack of information altogether, but nearly half of college students are under the impression their student loans will be forgiven.

February was Financial Aid Awareness Month, and it appears that awareness is desperately needed if a recent study is any indication.

Created by congress in 2010, the campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about federal financial aid options and particularly the ways federal financial aid can reduce the amount of student loans necessary to obtain a college education.

Recent data from a study conducted by LendEdu, however, shows that students may be operating under false ideas when it comes to how they will repay their loans, and in fact think they won’t have to pay them back at all.

LendEdu, a private company which acts as a marketplace for student lending options and refinance, in keeping with the theme of Financial Aid Awareness Month, asked 500 college students a series of questions to gauge their knowledge and understanding of financial aid and student loans. The survey results were released February 15.

When asked, “Do you believe that you will be helped by federal student loan forgiveness programs after graduation?” a startling 49.8 percent replied “yes”.

False belief loan forgiveness will help with loan repayment is one of the most concerning aspects of the results, a LendEdu study analysis stated, because students may be over-borrowing based on hope their loans will be forgiven in the future when the reality is that only a small percentage of college graduates qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

In general terms, in a student loan forgiveness program (they exist on the state and federal levels) a graduate’s debt is reduced in exchange for long-term employment in the public sector or in a low-income or high-need area.

Often these programs are also tied to specific professions such as healthcare, education, legal or STEM fields.

Not only does a student have to get hired for a position that qualifies for forgiveness programs, they also must meet other requirements, and fulfil a set employment period – ranging from a couple years to a decade on the job, often during which time regular loan payments must still be made by the borrower – to receive debt forgiveness.

LendEdu pointed out that a further 64 percent believe it is possible to refinance student loan debt with the federal government, however this is incorrect because there is no such animal.

Since federal refinancing programs don’t exist, college students, again, have false expectations of how they will repay their debts in the future.

Apparently, ignorance about loan forgiveness and refinancing aren’t the only problems when it comes to how much students don’t know about funding their college education.

Seven years after its inception, Financial Aid Awareness Month clearly still has a long way to go to reach its goal if some of the other study results are any indication:

  • 16 percent believe you need to pay money to file a FAFSA
  • 10 percent have never heard of FAFSA
  • 78 percent did not know what FAFSA stands for
  • 84 percent did not know when the 2017-2018 FAFSA deadline is
  • 80 percent could not identify the 2016-2017 maximum Pell Grant award amount
  • 80 percent could not identify current federal student loan interest rates
  • 79 percent did not know the current repayment term is 10 years
  • 74 percent did not know the current borrowing limits for federal student loans

“There is no doubt that getting a degree is helpful and may reap huge benefits. However, it concerns us here at LendEDU that students do not understand how they are funding their education,” LendEdu stated in conjunction with the release of the study.

The average student graduates with $28,400 in student debt, according to LendEdu.

“Add in the fact that students know very little about how to handle that debt, and that number becomes even more intimidating.”

The current study is not the only time LendEdu has uncovered deficiencies in understanding about financial aid.

In 2016, a study found 85 percent of students rely on their parents for financial aid and loan information, however parents – 47.65 of whom believed their children will be helped by federal student loan forgiveness programs – apparently don’t understand much better than they do. With an endless amount of student loan information available to students and parents, a reasonable excuse for the lack of understanding is hard to come by, and more importantly, won’t matter when the loans come due.

Parents should educate themselves on financial aid and student loans so they can assist their children, however ultimately it is the student who will be responsible for repayment and needs to understand.

One of the most simple and accessible sources of knowledge is already required of students when they draw federal loans for school – mandatory entrance and exit counseling which includes personalized information to help students put their debts in perspective. Additional information designed to help students and parents navigate career choices, college funding and plan for managing loans after school can be found online at: Federal Student Aid

It’s never too early to gain an understanding of future debts, though waiting until the bill comes due is most certainly too late.

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Date Ideas for College Students

By: Jena Slater

Have you really wanted to go on a quality date but you cannot afford a five-star restaurant? I have a few date ideas for you. Both date ideas require spending money and time. Sometimes a simple date night is all a girl needs after a long day of classes. I am going to focus on giving insight on how to add your personal touch to date ideas.

I have customized these date ideas to reflect my personal lifestyle which is simple with a hint of country, to give you a few examples.

When in doubt take your date on a picnic. The nice thing about picnics are they can become as simple or fancy as your heart desires. This can also be a very simple date where you do not have to spend big bucks to impress your date. A few things to thing about when planning for a picnic are: weather, time of day, perfect location, food, and drinks.

Checking the weather in case the location needs to be moved indoors. You may not want to get soaked if it’s raining or get blown away if it is windy. If you two have been dating for a while or get lost in the moment and feel a spark, then a romantic kiss in the rain may not hurt.

Finding and ideal location is equally important. My recommendations are going to a local park or college campus for a picnic. A few other things to think about when choosing your perfect location for your picnic are: green grass, trees, fountains, benches and tables. Any of these features can make for a romantic picnic.

Picnics can be simple as seen in the movies but they can also be modernized too. When I think of a traditional picnic I envision someone bringing a blanket to lay on the ground along with something to eat and drink while we hang out.

They are convenient since they can take place at any time. Early mornings are great if you both like to get up early and watch the sunrise. Late morning through midafternoons are wonderful if you prefer a midday picnic. Evenings are especially nice if you enjoy watching the sunset and looking at the stars. Picnics with food, drinks, and a blanket to sit on while watching the sunset can be the perfect way to end your evening. They are also good dates for girls who prefer the simpler things in life.

Food and drinks are an essential part of a picnic. You can ask what their favorite kind of lunch meat or jelly they prefer and make sandwiches to go along with their favorite soda. You can buy lunchmeat or peanut butter and jelly and make sandwiches yourself. Then, carefully place them in a cooler or backpack paying careful attention to making sure the bread does not get smashed. Also, taking into consideration how long it will be before it is time to eat so you can store them properly. An additional option is going to a local sandwich shop or Subway and ordering your favorite sandwiches. Additionally, you can invite your date to grab sandwiches with you and order them to go.

You can pull this off by telling asking your date to go on a picnic with you. Or you can ask them on a spontaneous date but keep the location a surprise so their anticipation builds up. Finally, you can either began your date immediately with a picnic or you might take a romantic walk to lead into your picnic. Once you have found the perfect spot, start unpacking your blanket and lay it on the ground to give you a place to sit down. Then unpack your food and drinks and enjoy your date.

My second suggestion is a customized movie night which I chose to experiment with. I gave this stay at home date night a modern and romantic twist. My date was having a particularly rough day since nothing was going as he anticipated. Especially when he was trying to glue his car made of construction gingerbread with frosting but it kept falling apart. After getting out of class and checking the date and time he ask me if I would like to have a movie night after he got out of his last class. I agreed.

From previously hanging out some outside of class, I knew what his favorite pizza toppings are. Recently I heard about flameless, battery operated, candles and already wanted to get some for where I live. I decided a movie night with pizza and a few flameless candles would be the perfect date night. I let my date pick the movie since I figured it would help cheer him up. I went to Dollar General and purchased a package of battery operated remote control candles since I felt they would add a relaxing element to this movie night.

I ordered a Domino’s pizza with his and hers toppings. Then, he texted me saying he was about to go and drop off his stuff before heading over. After looking around my residence I found enough batteries for two candles. I texted him to see if he might have any spare batteries. He offered to pick some up on his way over. I set two mason jars out and the pizza showed up.

Next, my date showed up and I ask him if he could take the batteries out of an extra control. He called me and I came to get the batteries and put them in the remaining candles then used the remote and turned all the candles on. I walked over to where he was waiting patiently and flipped off the over powering overhead light.

Finally, we walked into my living room where there was a flameless candle light pizza dinner with mason jars, we drank Dr. Pepper from, while watching the movie he brought. His expression when he saw how I gave a movie night a modern and romantic twist was priceless. Realizing I successfully pulled off the perfect date night and instantly turned his day around made this date night perfect. Seeing his surprised face made it all worth it in the end.

Here is a short tidbit about me for anyone who may not know me:

I was born in Texas and after I was a year old we moved to New Mexico. Then, we moved to another part of New Mexico after several years. I have lived on a ranch for approximately 19-years of my life aside from when I am attending Eastern New Mexico University(ENMU) where I study Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. Many of my dating ideas reflect my country background.

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NM Legislature & Proposed Changes for College Students

By: Sharna Johnson

Loan assistance for minority doctoral students in engineering, science or math fields, drastic changes to the Lottery Scholarship, college transfer credits and hazing laws are among issues currently being considered by the New Mexico Legislature.
The 2017 Regular Session runs from January 17 to March 18, with legislators under a deadline of February 16 to propose legislation.  Less than a month in, hundreds of pieces of legislation have already been introduced and – from introduction to committee where they either die or move forward to a vote – are in various stages of moving through the state’s law-making body.
Working in a heated political environment and under threat of state financial crisis, New Mexico lawmakers must tackle several critical issues this year, not the least of which include an already-passed series of budget solvency bills to address budget deficits.
Other hot topics include proposed recreational marijuana, the right-to-die, parental notification of abortions, hemp research and background checks for private gun transactions, to name a few.
In addition to legislation reflecting state and national issues, however, are some bills that specifically impact college students:

SB 276 Lottery Scholarship Awards & Applications:
This bill, sponsored by Sen. John M. Sapien, D-Corrales, amends the Legislative Lottery Tuition Scholarship Act and is scheduled for review by the Senate Education Committee February 10.
Currently available to all students who graduated from high school or received high school equivalency in New Mexico, under the proposed changes, students would be required to apply for the Lottery Scholarship. Also, rather than the current system of funding 90 percent of a New Mexico student’s tuition, the Lottery Scholarship would pay varying maximum tuition scholarships based on the number of program semesters a student has received the scholarship. For example, a student at a community college would receive 60 percent their first two and 100 percent their third semester, while students at comprehensive and research institutions would receive 40 percent their first semester, 50 percent the second and third, 80 percent the fourth and 100 percent in the fifth, sixth and seventh semesters.
The proposal attempts to address a reduction in the Lottery Scholarship fund which is anticipated a reduction of tuition coverage from the current 90 percent, to 70 percent or less in the 2018 funding year. Research institutions argue the formula favors community colleges and opponents also assert that requiring students to apply for the scholarship places poor and first-generation college students at a disadvantage.
HB 194, “Lottery Scholarship Full & Need Based”; HB 237 “Liquor Tax to Lottery Scholarship Fund”; HB 344, “Lottery Scholarship Full & Need Based”; SB 188 “Disabilities Students Lottery Scholarships”; and SB 192 “Transfer of Lottery Funds”, are other bills currently in the legislature which propose amendments to the Lottery Tuition Scholarship.
Click to read more or track SB 276

SB 103 Transfer of College Credits:
Designed to assist college students, particularly transfer students, in fulfilling graduation requirements, this bill sponsored by Sen. Gaye Kernan, R-Hobbs, would amend the Post-Secondary Education Articulation Act.
In addition to changing the definition of “articulation of credits” to “a transfer of courses to fulfill graduation requirements”, the bill removes the requirement that the general education core have at least 35 credit hours.
Under the proposed amendment, the Higher Education Department would be required to develop a statewide general education core curriculum of not less than 15-24 credit hours for an associate degree or 30 hours for a bachelor’s degree including lower-division courses that provide a liberal education. All courses included in the general education core would be required to be transferable and to fulfill general education requirements wherever they are transferred.
Click to read more or track SB 103

SB 197 Loan Repayment for Certain Students:
This Act, proposed by Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas, repeals portions of an existing program, revising it to broaden its applicability and allow greater discretion to the Higher Education Department regarding student need and qualification. It has cleared the Senate Education Committee and is now under review by the Senate Finance Committee.
The original Minority Doctoral Loan for Service program was designed to increase the number of minority or female faculty in specific fields at New Mexico’s public postsecondary institutions. Students who have successfully completed a doctoral degree program at an eligible institution in the fields of engineering, physical or life sciences or mathematics and have been hired to a full-time, tenured position at a New Mexico public postsecondary institution can receive loan repayment assistance from the Higher Education Department.
According to the Higher Education Department, the current program requires students and institutions to make employment commitments prior to a student completing their doctoral degree, which is extremely difficult because most students must complete post-doctoral work in their field before they are qualified for faculty positions. Only five candidates are enrolled in the program for the 2017 funding year.
Click to read more or track SB 197

HB 200 Anti-Hazing Act:
Introduced by Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, the Anti-Hazing Act boasts 14 sponsors in the House and is currently located in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee.
Under the proposal, the act of hazing would become a misdemeanor, subject to up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Knowingly participating, aiding or assisting in hazing resulting in death would become a fourth degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment.
Hazing, as defined by the act, is requiring a student or other person to perform any act for the purpose of induction or admission into or continued good standing in groups, organizations, teams or societies associated with an educational institution.
The act prohibits any activity that, “recklessly or intentionally endangers the health of a student or other person, including requiring the consumption of food, yelling, humiliating, harassing, belittling, cursing, sleep deprivation, forced calisthenics, drug or alcohol use, striking, beating, paddling, slapping, blindfolding, pushing or maiming; threatening to require sleep deprivation, forced calisthenics or drug or alcohol use; threatening to strike, beat, paddle, slap, blindfold, push or maim; or requiring any morally degrading, illegal or indecent action.”
Click to read more or track HB 200

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Choosing Classes for Next Semester

By: Marissa Tijerina

That time of year is upon us. It’s time to choose classes for next semester, if you haven’t done so already. I always have the hardest time picking classes. I know that having an advisor comes in handy when it comes to choosing courses. They can help tell you the courses that are in rotation for your degree plan and their advice comes in handy, no doubt. However, they can’t always tell you whether a class will truly interest you.

Friends and classmates can come help tremendously when it comes to choosing courses. Your friends have at least some of the same interests that you do, so ask them what courses they have taken. You’ll be surprised at how interesting your friends can describe a class that they have taken. They can make a class sound more appealing than the course catalog description.

Your classmates may not have the same interests that you do, and they may only be your classmate because they are majoring in the same discipline as you. That doesn’t mean that they can’t help you pick classes. Your classmates may or may not make a required class sound more appealing than the course catalog. If they can’t sell you on a required class, they can at least give you tips on how to navigate through it. They could also recommend different professors that make required courses more entertaining.

If you are still having trouble picking courses, step out of your comfort zone. Look at courses in different disciplines. I ended up having to enroll in a second eight-week course this semester, and stepped out of my comfort because of it. I never thought about taking courses in criminal justice, but I am surprised at how much I like the course that I enrolled in. I enjoyed it so much that I picked another criminal justice course to enroll in next semester.

No matter what courses you end up registering for, just remember to make the best out of them. You may end up meeting new people because of it. You may find out that you actually enjoy psychology, sociology, archaeology, or any other ology course that’s offered.

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30 Hours

By: Samantha Smith

Living 30 hours from home is most definitely not the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m sure anyone who moves away from school will agree, going from seeing your family every day of the week to not seeing them is one of the most difficult things to do in life. My freshman year away from home was hard to say the least. I can recall other kids going home on the weekends when they missed their family while I was stuck in Portales doing homework and watching One Tree Hill on repeat. Luckily I had my older sister, Taylor, here to make things feel at least a little bit like home. Now, almost half way into my junior year, I believe I finally have the hang of things as an international student so far away from home.

I used to get jealous of the kids who could drive a few hours and sleep in their own room, at the house they grew up in, surrounded by the ones they love. The same ones who could go home on the shorter holidays and eat home cooked meals while bonding with cousins, nieces, nephews, you name it. Whenever I came to school, I was always afraid to call home too many times or bother my family because I wanted them to think I was capable of being independent. I now realize that was never an issue, as they believed in me then just as much as they believe in me now and they missed me just as much as I miss them. Some days I’ll call home so many times in the day I lose track of just how many calls I’ve made. My little cousins were babies when I left to school and now are all talking, walking, playing as they grow up. Missing out on family bonding sucks more than one could imagine, but with the help of their moms and FaceTime, I am able to talk to them, see their little faces, and feel included as they get older. I’ve made plenty of friends while I’ve been here, and actually had a few from home follow me all the way to New Mexico. One friend from Manitoba hosts Canadian Thanksgiving every year where a few of us all have dinner and bond like I usually would with my family.

Though being 30 hours from home sucks some days, leaving home was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself. Some days are better than others and some days are worse, but a picture from home, a call from my mom, or a video message from my dad never fails to make any day a better one.

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Online Courses and How to Manage Them

By: Marissa Tijerina

Throughout my three years here at ENMU, I have taken a multitude of online courses. I’ve taken Art Appreciation, Astronomy, Applied Writing for Media, Human Growth and Development, and many more. Some classes were easier than others. Some required more time than others. Some were more interesting than others. I’ve learned a lot from taking online courses. The main thing I’ve learned is that they are not for everyone, but there are ways to help you get through them.

Some people told me not to take online courses because they require more work than in- class courses. Some people told me to take online courses because they allow you to complete all of your work from the comfort of your own home, omacbook-1526449_1920r dorm. I personally enjoy taking online courses more than in-class courses. It’s more convenient for me to do my work from home because I do not live close to campus, or in Portales for that matter. I try to take as many online courses as I can every semester. For the record, it is not easy taking multiple online courses at once. They do require a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation to complete the assignments on time.

I would recommend finding out exactly what the online course requires of you. Some courses require you to login at certain times on certain days to complete assignments or tests. Other classes are more self-paced with specific deadlines at the end of the week or month. If you are not able to find out these details before the class begins, then read the syllabus as soon as it’s available. Most online instructors will tell you exactly what they expect for their course when it comes to time requirements. If they do not include this in the syllabus, then email the instructor to find out. You do not want to be overwhelmed with time requirements three weeks in and unable to drop the course without it effecting your transcripts.

If there is no getting around the time requirements for an online course because it is a class that you have to take for your degree plan, then there are still things you can do to make the class more manageable. When an assignment is due plan out time during the week to complete the assignment in small portions. Read for the assignment one day, take notes on another day, start the assignment a few days before it’s due if possible, and complete it on the day that it is due. If you break down the requirements for each assignment it makes it easier to complete before or on the due date.

If you are still having trouble with your online class, just email the teacher. Chances are they will be willing to work with you.