Missouri State University
Family Connection

Ask Priscilla! What tips do you have for families to share with our students about Spring Break?

This is a question I get a lot from family members.  Our students are excited to get a break from school while we as families hear the words “spring break” and we cringe.  It’s okay. Spring break is not everything you see in the movies. Our students are taking part in Bear Breaks, an opportunity for a student to spend their Spring Break with fellow Bears immersed in a local community, providing needed services, experiencing a different culture and meeting new people.  They are also working over the break, spending time with family, shadowing potential employers, taking part in mission trips and resting and relaxing with friends (very important).

This year, Spring Break will take place from Monday, March 13th to Sunday, March 19th.  University offices will remain open to conduct business.  Blair-Shannon, Freddy House, Wells House and Woods House will be closed for Spring Break (closing at 8am on March 11th and reopening at 8am on March 19th).  There is limited on-campus housing in open buildings. Encourage your student to review the Bear Break Housing Request.

Spring Break should be a fun time for our students to de-stress, rest, and relax. But their safety and well-being is important also.   Here are some tips you can share with your student so they do have a safe and fun break.

Visiting Home

  • Your student is going to be tired and will probably sleep a lot! This is a good thing. Getting lots of rest will get them motivated for the rest of the semester.
  • Your student is going to want to see some friends over the break. Make it a point not to plan every minute of the break for them.
  • Plan fun family time while your student is home. Family game night, movie night, favorite food night…these are all fun ways to get the family together to reconnect.
  • Start the conversation about your student’s summer plans. Ask questions like “What have you been doing to find a summer internship?”

Road Trips

  • If your student is traveling in their own vehicle, remind them to have the car serviced by a mechanic to ensure it can make a trip safely.
  • Encourage your student to plan a route based on heavily-traveled highways and interstates.  Suggest they familiarize themselves with the route before leaving.
  • Ask your student to let you know when he or she is leaving, when he or she will return, and the route he or she is traveling.  It’s also good to know where they are staying on the trip.
  • Have a conversation with your student about being alert and aware of situations and people they encounter.  They should not pick up hitchhikers, and they should be extremely cautious should they decide to stop for anyone on the side of the road.

Foreign Travel

  • Students should research their destination country carefully for information on safety, law enforcement, entry/exit requirements, food/water safety, etc. The U.S. Department of State maintains Consular Information Sheets that provide extensive details about travel in other countries. Travel warnings can also be found on the U.S. Department of State web site.
  • Special medical care, special vaccinations or medications to prevent common local diseases, may be needed before traveling to another country.  The Center for Disease Control provides comprehensive health and vaccination information by country of destination. The Taylor Health and Wellness Center on campus may be able to provide these services.
  • Encourage your student to make copies of all of their identification and plane tickets and store them in the hotel safe, not his or her room safe.
  • Make sure you know about your student’s travel itinerary. You might want to know hotel information and transportation information, and you might also want copies of all of his or her important documents (passport, visa, driver’s license, plane tickets, etc.).

Fun and Sun

  • Students should wear sunscreen with a “sun protection factor” (SPF) of at least 15 (higher if you burn easily or are taking medications that increase risk of sunburn).  Remind them to reapply the sunscreen after swimming, sweating, and after the recommended time on the bottle.
  • Sun damage and sunburns can occur even if you are not at the beach.  Students should wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy or they are doing any activity around water or snow (skiing, snowboarding, etc.) since they both reflect light.
  • They should wear sunglasses that block out harmful UVA and UVB rays, as well as protective clothing and hats.
  • Avoiding the mid-day sun is important.  The sun’s rays are most intense between 10:00am and 3:00pm.
  • Students should also drink lots of water to avoid dehydration if they are in the sun.

Final Tips

  • Students should make sure their name and address are not highly visible on their luggage so that people who know that you are away from home will not know where you live.
  • While traveling, students can put their foot through the strap of a bag or purse to prevent leaving it behind or having it stolen.
  • Students should be aware that pickpockets prey on people in crowds. They usually get close and bump into people without them noticing. Pickpockets also work in groups. One will distract while the other slips away with valuables.

 

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Max’s Musings – Get Mo’ Money at MO State

Hello Bear Family!

Free money is at your students’ fingertips. How does an average of $1,100 sound? This is possible through our General and Departmental Scholarship! Thanks to our wonderful donors and the Missouri State Foundation, we have nearly $2,250,000 available through nearly 1,000 scholarships to all current students! 

To get one of these scholarships, all your student needs to do is fill out an application! To begin the application, your student must first go to the Profile tab on their MyMissouriState account. Second, scroll down to the Financial Aid section and click General and Departmental Scholarship Application. Next, your student must select the application that corresponds to their academic year/status. Finally, complete the application Most of the questions are Yes/No, Select from a List, and Short Answer, so it is a very simple process! Additionally, your student does not need to do every single section. They only have to do what is applicable to them or what they want to complete. They can do as little or as much as they want to do! Completing a section will automatically put your student as a candidate for each one they complete once they submit it!

This may take some time for your student to complete, but this is a small investment of time to make that can yield great benefits. Your student has an excellent chance of receiving at least one scholarship! According to our Financial Aid office, last academic year 1 in 4 students who applied received scholarships with an average amount of $1,100. Any amount they receive will be granted to the 2017-2018 academic year. That can make a huge difference for you and your student. Tell them to apply for the General and Departmental Scholarship! The application closes this coming Wednesday, March 1st at 11:59 PM so they should not delay! For more information about the scholarship, follow this link to this Financial Aid information page: http://www.missouristate.edu/FinancialAid/scholarships/GeneralScholarships.htm

Thanks for reading and Go Bears!

~Max

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Zoë’s Bucket List…Call to Your Family Just Because!

All college students are guilty of calling their family when they are in “crisis mode”. This means calling when they’re sick, overly stressed, frantic, or an emotional mess. I also like to call these “comfort calls”, since we call with the intention to get comfort and support from our families. It is healthy to have these calls, as long as they come in moderation. These can take a toll on the person receiving the call causing them to worry about you. However, it does also make them feel needed and gives them comfort in knowing their child will still reach out to them. 

Another phone call is the “Yay Me!” call. This is when you call your family to celebrate good news. Whether its getting a good grade on a test, landing a job or having a great workout, these calls focus around sharing wonderful things happening in your life with your loved ones. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these calls. In fact, most families are overjoyed to hear their student is doing great things while at college. After telling her good news, I’ve had my mom say that, “I really needed to hear that, I’ve been having pretty terrible day.” It surprised me how much of an influence my day could have on hers. It really can bring a ray of sunshine into a perhaps cloudy day for your family member.

There’s one last call that, though rare, occurs occasionally. That is the “just because” call. It’s really pretty simple. You pick up the phone and dial a family member with the intent to engage in everyday conversation. Easy. You’re not calling to calm fears, to complain about a sickness or to ask for help with something, instead you are calling to chat about life. I try really hard to set aside time to call my parents to just see how they are doing. Perhaps this is because I am a frequent offender of  “comfort calls” and I feel like they deserve time where they are the focus. Regardless, I think it’s an important habit to get into. Families deserve just as much support as they give us because whether or not you believe it, they probably miss you at least a little bit.

So basically, Bears: CALL YOUR FAMILY. Remember, any type of call is nice, but an unexpected call to just chat is even nicer.

~Zoë

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Zoë Says…Sense the Speed of Spring Semester!

After talking to a few folks here on campus, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one that feels like the Spring semester seems to be in “fast-forward” mode. Even though both Fall and Spring semesters are the same length, it doesn’t shake the feeling that the days are just zipping by. Maybe it’s the smell of summer right around the corner or the plethora of holidays we get out of school for. Whatever it is, it can be hazardous for college students. 

I find myself having to pay extra close attention to due dates in the spring because the days seem to fly by, and I know I’m not the only one. As I have always said, I highly encourage students to keep an agenda and actually use it! A good way to stay on top of things is to not only write the due dates of assignments and tests, but also plan when you are going to study or complete those assignments. I know that if it’s in my agenda, I’m going to do it. To-do checklists are also a fun motivational tool to utilize, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as scratching an item off of a list.

Basically I just want to spread the word that yes, the Spring semester will in fact go by quicker than in the Fall. And with that knowledge, I hope students will prepare in ways that will add to their success here at Missouri State. There are many resources available if you feel behind or are not understanding material in a class:

  • Contact your Professor for that class and set up a meeting time-Their contact information is usually on the syllabus
  • Go in during your Professor’s office hours-They have them for a reason
  • Head to the Bear C.L.A.W. for a tutoring session-Check out their webpage for more specific information
  • Start a study group with students in your class-If you’re struggling, chances are others are too! It’s great way to bump up your knowledge and make some friends

All in all, communication is key. Try to address potential issues before you dig yourself in to too big of a hole to recover from. Professors and instructors are there to help you and (fun fact) they love what they’re teaching! So make their day, ask those clarifying questions, request for information to repeated, they’ll be more than happy to help and you’ll be glad you did.

Have a great semester y’all!

~Zoë

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Keeping our Students Healthy – Important Information to Know about the Mumps

As of February 10, 2017, at least 15 college campuses in Missouri had reported a suspected mumps case during the past six months.  As we know, college students are at a higher risk for contracting mumps than the general population because they are more likely to have congregate living arrangements, such as a residence hall or shared house.  Mumps have been circulating on college and university campuses in Missouri since Fall Semester 2016.  The largest number of cases at one campus is at the University of Missouri-Columbia, with 334 confirmed and probable cases reported as of February 8, 2017.  Fourteen other Missouri campuses have had at least one case reported during this time frame. Missouri State had two reported cases in December 2016.

It’s important for students to understand mumps and to take precautions in their every day life to stay healthy. You, as a family member, are key to getting this important information out to your student.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has partnered with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to share helpful information that encourages students to protect themselves from contracting mumps and spreading the virus to others. Please share the following with your student :

Disease Information

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that is spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva, or spit.  It is commonly passed through coughing, sneezing, or talking.  It can also be spread through contact with objects that others have touched with unwashed hands, or that come in contact with saliva, like eating utensils.

The most recognizable symptom of mumps is parotitis, or swelling of the glands around the jaw.  Other symptoms include:  pain with opening or closing the jaw, fever, fatigue and malaise, headache, and earache.

Treatment for mumps involves reducing symptoms through hydration, rest, and fever/pain reliving medications, but the only way to cure it is to wait for the body to fight off the infection.  Most people with mumps recover completely within a few weeks.

Prevention

The best way to prevent mumps is to get the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, if your student hasn’t already had two doses and does not have a medical reason not to get the shot.  Your student’s medical or shot records should show when they received the vaccine, which is commonly given in childhood.  Students can also avoid sharing items like eating utensils or cups that come into contact with saliva.

Students should stay home if they are sick with mumps to avoid spreading it to other people.  A person with mumps can spread it for at least two days before and for five days after symptoms begin.

Taylor Health and Wellness is available to answer any questions you might have about the mumps. They can be reached at (417) 836-4000. Encourage your student to take advantage of the Taylor Health facilities and utilize the resources available.

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It’s Time to Think about Housing

A question you hear on campus this time of year is “where are you going to live next year?” This question also applies to housing for summer school, Spring Break and of course, our new Bears, the Class of 2021! There are lots of options for our student. Check-out this important information provided by Angie Strider, Assistant Director-Residence Life, Business Services! 

Re-Application – It’s time to be thinking about where to live next year! Students will be re-applying to live with us during certain times in the month of February. Check out our re-application website with details on when your student can re-apply.  If your student is still deciding where to live next year, they can re-apply and cancel their contract before April 1 with no penalty. As long as your student doesn’t have any room damages this year, the $100 housing deposit you already paid will transfer over to next year.  There are lots of great reasons to stay on campus!

Summer School – If your student will be taking classes during the summer, we offer Summer School and Intersession housing. Students can sign up to live on campus during the summer term by going to their my.missouristate.edu and selecting the summer housing application to get signed up. Again, your student’s $100 housing deposit can carry over for summer as well.

Spring Break Housing – If your student needs Spring Break Housing because they live in a closed building (Blair-Shannon, Freddy, Wells, or Woods), they can sign up through our main housing office or online https://forms.missouristate.edu/reslife/BreakHousing.php

Future Bears – Make sure to complete your housing application. You need to pay your housing deposit, have your parents e-signature on file if it’s required, and have met the meningitis requirement to complete your contract. You can check if you have paid your deposit or met the meningitis requirement by going to my.missouristate.edu to view this under the Housing Channel – Application Summary. You can cancel your housing application before July 1 with no penalty (and receive the $100 deposit back). Meningitis vaccination records can be faxed to 417-836-4133. Assignment notices are sent to the student’s @live.missouristate.edu email only, so be sure to have your student check their email.

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Ask Priscilla! Are there leadership opportunities available for my student on campus?

College is such a great time for our students to embrace their leadership qualities and step outside their comfort zone to take on some added responsibility. At Missouri State, we have numerous avenues for your student to do just that. I can’t even begin to count how many student leadership positions are available on campus. With more than 400 student organizations, I’d say your student can find an opportunity that fits their style and personality, with just a little effort. 

How can this be done? Well, first and easiest is for students to look within the organizations they take part in on campus. If your student hasn’t become involved on campus, I recommend they visit CampusLink to find the group that suits them. Here are some othe opportunities available for our students:

Leaders in Community Service – Leaders in Community Service (LCS) is a student organization dedicated to serving the community while earning valuable experience and a paycheck. Applications for 2017-2018 Leaders in Community Service are due March 31st.

Peer Leaders – A Peer Leader is a student who uses his/her positive attitude, exemplary academic work, interpersonal skills, and personal experience to assist first-year students in their transition to university life.  Peer Leaders pair up with GEP 101 instructors and help educate students on topics including campus involvement, time management, critical thinking, campus resources, the public affairs mission, and more. Applications due March 1st.

Immersion Programs – Our immersion programs feature the opportunity for students to spend their breaks (spring, summer, fall) volunteering, immersed in the community. These experiences allow students to learn more about a community, immerse themselves in the culture and social issues that a community faces, and grow as a volunteer into an Active Citizen.

These are just a few of the many opportunities on campus. Encourage your student to follow @MoStateLead on Twitter for more leadership opportunities.

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Max’s Musings – Academics

Hello Bear Family!

Today’s topic is about the biggest reason your student is here at MO State: academics. “What’s your major?” is probably the most common question college students get asked. A student’s major is an important symbol. It gives insight into aspects of their character such as what knowledge/skills they have, the classes they take, the people they know, and the future careers they can pursue. However, the most fundamental part of higher education can be one of the most difficult choices. Many students have not declared a major yet and many others change their majors.  Furthermore, there are others who have doubts about their current field of study and consider changing. At this point in the year, it’s common for students to feel this way as they reflect on their experience thus far. Academic indecisiveness is a very common aspect of the college experience.  img_4648

I was the king of being academically indecisive when I was an undergraduate. When I committed to being a Bear, I was intending to be an Athletic Training major. When I arrived at MO State, I became a double major in Socio-Political Communication and Broadcast Journalism. The following semester I became a double major in Entrepreneurship and Dietetics. At the start of my sophomore year, I dropped Dietetics. The summer before my senior year (yes, senior) I changed to History. Later that same semester, I changed back to business as an Administrative Management major, which I graduated with a degree in this past December. As you can tell, I was all over the place going through college. It was not easy going through 7 semesters of academic indecisiveness. It was a really tough journey and it took a lot of support to get through.

If your student ever feels academically indecisive, here are some tips from my experience for effectively helping them through it:

  • Go beyond “How’s school?”

This is the second most common question that college students get asked. Every student has their routine answer to this question. I strongly urge you to be specific in your questions about academics to your student. Questions such as, “Do you like what you are learning?” and “Are you looking forward to your upper level classes?” will tell you so much more about what your student is experiencing. If your student doesn’t like what they are learning and not looking forward to learning more about the subject in the future, they are probably not in the right major.

  • Challenge but don’t criticize

Your student is already going through lots of internal turmoil if they are academically indecisive. They feel great pressure from inside their mind and from their environment to make this huge choice. They may even know that switching is the right decision, but it can be terrifying to go in a new direction. However, it’s important that your student critically thinks through their situation. Challenge your student to think about what sparked their doubts, why they want to do something different, what they want to get out of their classes, and where they see themselves in the future. Your student may not have the answer to all of these questions yet and that’s ok. Keep asking these questions over time. Assure your student that you are trying to be constructive and not criticizing by asking these questions. Criticism will only make them feel worse about their indecisiveness. Helping your student figure out the root of their academic indecisiveness is a huge step to defeating it.

  • Encourage your students to make a plan

It can be really easy to live in the moment and have an “I’ll figure it out later” mentality in college. This was a huge mistake I made for those first 7 semesters of my undergraduate life. Changing a major is a long-term commitment. A major can turn into a career that can last decades. I switched majors every time because I realized I didn’t like the future I was getting into with the major I had. Your student needs to know what the future looks like for each academic decision they could make and evaluate if they are willing to accept the outcome if they switch. Our Career Center is a tremendous resource for not only choosing a major, but what to do with it after graduation. I have been to the Career Center many times and the staff is incredibly helpful and will do everything in their power to help students succeed. Here is a link to their webpage with excellent information to give your student direction on choosing a major: https://www.missouristate.edu/advising/58894.htm. Your student should set up an appointment ASAP after looking over this information. By establishing and maintaining an ongoing connection with a Career Center staff member, your student will have professional help in planning their future.

  • Understand that it’s their choice and support them

At the end of the day, choosing a major is your student’s decision. No matter what major they have, your student is trying to follow their passion and find what makes them happy. Sometimes it takes trial-and-error and a lot of time for your student to find their direction. This is one of the most important decisions they will make in their life and it shouldn’t be rushed. Let your student know it’s ok for them to be academically indecisive and that you will help them find their way.

Academic indecisiveness is a completely normal feeling to have going through college. Don’t let your student accept unhappiness or be afraid to change their major. There are too many people who have these doubts all through college and get stuck with a degree in a field they don’t want to work in. College is the best time for your student to explore their interests and discover what they truly want to be in life. Every student chooses a major so they can venture into the adult world with the knowledge and skills necessary to do what they love for a living post-graduation. Even if it takes your student extra time, it will be worth it for them in the end to have a degree they are proud of.

Thanks for reading and Go Bears!

~Max

Max Wagner, the new Parent & Program Specialist, is from Overland Park, KS and a December 2016 graduate of Missouri State University with a degree in Administrative Management and a minor in History. Max will be entering the Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) Masters Program here at Missouri State University in the summer.

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Zoë’s Bucket List…Be a part of the URSA Experience!

The Ursa Experience has been growing rapidly here at Missouri State, not only in numbers but also in opportunities! I have broken down the entire program to help show how you can get involved!  U1

URSA MinorsThese are incoming freshmen students who sign up to attend a 3-day, 2-night orientation to the non-academic side of Missouri State. We like to say, “if SOAR is the academic side of orientation, URSA is the social/involvement side”. Here, new students will learn MSU traditions, our public affairs mission, how to #BearUp and so much more! There are limited seats available, so if you’re coming in Fall 2017, be sure to look out for the sign-up start date!

URSA MajorsThese are Missouri State students, with 60 credits (after high school) and above, who help facilitate groups during URSA. The application for this role can be found at here. Ursa Majors will have a partner and a small group of URSA Minors. This is a great leadership opportunity and a way to be involved in our new students’ first look at what it means to be a Bear!

 URSA Mentors-These are Missouri State students, sophomore or above, who love Missouri State and people! Each URSA Mentor will get their own small group of URSA Minors to mentor throughout their first year. This will create an instant connection and resource for all URSA Minors. Mentors will plan hangouts, activities, share personal experiences, showcase resources and encourage mingling between all the groups. Applications along with the position description for this role will be available February 15th so keep an eye out on Family Association social media!

 URSA CrowdfundingThis is for any person of any age and/or student status! We want to make sure every new student has an opportunity to attend Ursa. Our very own Priscilla Childress, Assistant Director of New Student and Family Programs, is heading the campaign to raise money to offer scholarships to students to help them attend. Our current goal is $5000, and every penny counts! If we reach out goal, Priscilla will be hoisted up in the air and put on a high ropes course to complete (did I mention that she’s afraid of heights?). Please support this great fundraising event.

Hopefully this breakdown gives you a better idea of the URSA program and how YOU can be a part of it! If you have more questions make sure to check out social media (www.twitter.com/bearsfamilies, www.facebook.com/MSUfamilies, www.missouristate.edu/ursa, www.missouristate.edu/newbears, www.missouristate.edu/bearsfamilies and www.twitter.com/MSUUrsa) and feel free to contact the New Student and Family Programs office at (417) 836-3060!

~Zoë
Member, Ursa Experience Planning Committee
Family Assistant
Member, Social Sorority

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Tradition of the Month – Dine at the Union Club

The Union Club is a hidden gem on campus!  Located on the fourth floor of the Plaster Student Union, the Union Club offers a salad bar, soup and an entree that changes daily.  UnionClub

A favorite spot of faculty and staff, it’s a great space for our students to connect with their professors or Missouri State staff.  Not only is the food delicious, the view is lovely!

Each day, the Union Club menu is posted on the Dining Services website. From yummy fried chicken to breakfast for lunch to a delicious dessert, you can’t go wrong dining at the Union Club!

The Union Club is open Monday-Friday, 11am – 1pm and they do accept Boomer Meals!

(shared from the Traditions Council Bear Facts, 2016-2017 edition)

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