Missouri State University
The Family Connection

Ask Priscilla – What are ways to adjust to an empty nest?

A month has passed since the excitement of move-in day and the house seems kind of quiet, right? Perhaps you have already developed a new routine, but those lonely feelings still creep in from time to time. The emotional transition to a home with no (or less) children has its ups and downs, that’s for sure. Here are a few tips on how to thrive in an empty nest. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

  1. Make plans. Your schedule no longer revolves around another person’s practices, homework and school activities.  It’s time to sit down at the piano, read one of the books that you haven’t had time for, take a cake decorating class, fish to your hearts content or take that cruise you’ve placed on the back burner for many years. Reflect on your dreams and interests and take steps to pursue those. There is no time like the present.
  2. Stay connected to your student. In this day-and-age, there are numerous ways to stay in touch without being overbearing. Phone, text (a favorite way to communicate for students), Skype, Facetime or Facebook are just a few ways to maintain healthy contact. Establish with your student a routine way to check-in with each other. Students have shared that Sunday afternoons are a good time to catch up with the family.
  3. Send care packages  and write letters (send your student stamps to write  you back). They go a long way to saying “I love you and I’m proud of you” and spur your student to contact you to say thanks and chat for awhile.
  4. Share your life with your student. Tell them about work, movies you’ve seen or a new hobby. The relationship with an “adult” child is different of course, so let your student get to know you on an adult level.
  5. Rekindle those relationships that you haven’t had a lot of time for the past few years.
  6. Get involved. Your child is not the only one who can be involved in campus life. Take advantage of opportunities on campus such as athletic events, Family Weekend, and theatre productions, just to name a few activities.  Make it a family outing. Invite your student to dinner (and we know a college student never turns down food) and a campus event with you. For example, invite your student to attend the 2014 Convocation Lecture with you on October 28th. This event will take place at on campus at Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. Learn more about this event here.
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The Stress of College Life – Encouraging your Student to be Healthy

Stress — it should be a four letter word. We all have it, hate it, and deal with it. It’s the reason we devour pounds of chocolate. Through the years we have learned ways of handling stress that work best for us.  0306.jpg.JPG.JPG

College students are a bit different though. They have been shielded somewhat from the stress of what we will call “real life.” As they grew up, yes, they knew some stress: the stress to trying to make good grades, succeed at extracurricular activities, and fit in with different groups of people. However, we as parents handled that stress. When they were stressing over being tired, we would make them go to bed. When they stressed over filling out college applications, we helped them. When they were stressed because they were not feeling well, we kept them out of school and nursed them back to health. That was our job as parents.

But that job has changed. We’ve gone from caretaker to coach. College student’s deal with the stress of meeting with new friends, demanding classes, living on their own, financial issues, campus jobs, changing values, research papers and much more. We aren’t with them every day and we don’t have the ability to immediately de-stress them. How can we help them?

First and foremost, let your student know you are there for her. You’re a good listener. You don’t mind talking through issues. Keep in mind there will be times when your student will call you and tell you that life is awful, she hates her school, her friends, etc. She is down in the dumps. After you hang up, you continue to worry and wonder if you should be calling someone. She, on the other hand, had a friend knock on the door. She’s gone out to dinner and forgotten what she was upset about. She is okay.

Here are steps you can take to help your college student find her way through the stress.

  • Suggest your student select healthier foods and never skip breakfast. Breakfast can improve energy levels, help maintain focus in the classroom and increase the overall quality of a student’s diet. Students should choose leaner protein options, make half their grains whole grains and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. The MSU Dining Centers have some great choices for our students. Suggest your student visit the Dining Services website to find out more information.
  • Remind your student to stay physically active. Missouri State has a state-of-the-art campus recreation center. The Foster Family Recreation Center offers numerous ways students can be physically active at all hours of the day. Encourage your student to take a tour of the fitness center, try a BearFit class or take advantage of adventure trips. Physical activity is a great way to manage stress and meet new people. Refer your student to the Campus Recreation website to see a full listing of activities.
  • Encourage your student to recharge with sleep. It is recommended that students get 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Sleep is crucial for optimum performance inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Remind your student to take advantage of the Taylor Health & Wellness Center. At Taylor Health & Wellness Center, your student can learn take care of her whole self. Share the Taylor Health & Wellness website with your student.
  • Address signs of stress early. Forgetfulness, moodiness and fatigue can all be early signs of stress.  Our students need to make stress management a part of their everyday college life to avoid the side effects.
  • Express confidence in your student’s abilities.
  • Remind your student of a time she managed a stressful situation with a positive outcome.
  • Create a care plan. If emotional concerns of mood, anxiety or substance use have been a part of your student’s past, ensure you have a plan for how these emotional care needs will be met.  The Counseling Center can help you navigate the best treatment options.

Let your student know you understand that and you will always love and support her. That, for college students, is so very important to know.

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Missouri State Family Association Bear Notes – August 2014

Welcome to the Missouri State Family

It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over and classes for the fall are about to begin! Fourteen two-day SOAR sessions zipped by rather quickly and about 2800 new first year students will soon be calling MSU home. We are SO excited that your student (and all of you) will be part of the Missouri State University BEAR community!  Read more...

Get your Family Weekend Football Tickets Today!
Campus Recreation Spotlight BearFit
Get out of your Room
Let the Good Times ROAR at Homecoming 2014
An Open Letter to New Students
Join the Missouri State Family Association
Developing Good Relationships with College Professors
Taylor Health & Wellness – Why Accreditation is Important to your Student
Career Center Connections
Haven – Helping Students Understand Sexual Assault
Create your Own Major
Join us in reading The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy Seal by Eric Greitens


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Ask Priscilla: What are some ways I can support my student in the first year and beyond?

College is a time of change for our students.  They are learning to make independent decisions, accept responsibility for themselves and others, develop consideration for others, and become financially independent. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MOWe are parents are learning to change our way of thinking, allowing our students to grow.

Some common issues our students deal with are:

Living with others

College residents are often asked to share less-than-roomy quarters with strangers, possibly for the first time. For most students, this requires significant adjustment. While they’re making the adjustment, they may sound cranky and out of sorts.

Managing their time

Difficult academics, appealing activities, a brand-new living environment—all these new realities may make your student feel pulled in several different directions. At the same time, your student must now manage time and set priorities alone, without adult family members and teachers to do it for her or him.

Finding their place

Starting in the first semester, students are becoming acquainted with a new, exciting, multi-faceted social scene. As they progress through their college career, students continue to discover where they fit in amid developing relationships with Missouri State students, faculty and staff.

Supporting your student

  • Be a coach. Let your student know you’re supportive and approachable. Your student may need to think of you and talk to you not just as a parent or guardian, but also as a friend, a supportive onlooker and a sympathetic sounding board.
  • Don’t be judgmental. It may be tempting to ask your student, “Are you doing your homework?” But that’s a question better directed at a high school student. Instead, open-ended conversation starters such as “what organizations have you gotten involved with? or what’s your room like? and which class is challenging you the most? Why is that?” encourage your student to share his or her experiences with you.
  • Show respect. Acknowledge your student’s new independence and growing intellectual sophistication by asking his or her opinion on general social issues, current events and even family matters.
  • Get in synch. You can be more supportive if you know the academic pressures your student is facing, such as midterms and finals. Become familiar with important upcoming academic dates.
  • Expect some changes. Exposure to new people and a diverse environment will enrich your student’s development, but it may also influence how he or she views the family. Be prepared and don’t be hurt if your student seems dismissive or critical of typical family activities or routines.
  • Stay connected. E-mails, IMs, cell phone conversations and text messages are great, but today’s tech-savvy students love old-fashioned letters, cards and care packages as much as college students ever did.
  • Revisit the Parent & Family website. Our website will keep you up-to-date on campus activities and offers resources you can refer to you as you support your student. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/missouristatefamily and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bearsfamilies

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to Ask Priscilla at familyassociation@missouristate.edu or at (417) 836-3060.

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Charting their Career Path: Freshman through Senior Year

Remind your student it is never to early to utilize the Career Center and make use of the resources available.

Step One (usually during the freshman year)

  •  If you have not declared a major or are unsure of a selected major, make an appointment with a Career Counselor to clarify your career goals. This usually includes self-assessments &a follow-up appointment to review assessments.
  • Join a campus organization (preferably related to your major or career interest).
  • Begin and/or continue developing skills that employers seek in job candidates.
  • Research occupations and industries by reading books, periodical articles, and websites on careers. Learn realistic statistics on salary, locations for jobs, and entrance requirements.
  • Participate in a job-shadow experience; conduct information interviews; talk to people working in jobs that interest you. Learn about their education, experience, and skills.

Step Two (usually during the sophomore year)

  • Locate an internship, volunteer experience, or part-time job that related to your career field and will help you develop important communication and work-related skills.
  • Access internship postings on JobTracks.
  • Enroll in IDS 120 for an in-depth course in career exploration and preparation.
  • Make an appointment with a Career Advisor to learn how to market self in a resume & cover letter
  • Continue researching career choices, learning about the skills needed to be competitive; work on developing those skills.
  • Build your network of contacts, including those made through job shadowing and information interviewing.
  • Participate in campus organizations; find opportunities to develop strong leadership & communication skills.
  • Develop a portfolio to showcase your accomplishments and skills.
  • Attend activities and events sponsored by the Career Center: Resume Madness, Exploring Careers Panels, Etiquette Dinner, Mock Interview Day, and Career Fairs.

Step Three (usually during the junior year)

  • Continue participating in campus and professional organizations (get involved / take on leadership roles).
  • Continue gaining experience in your field through internships, part-time or summer jobs, and volunteer experiences.
  • Research employers who hire in your major. Learn what they seek and where the jobs are located.
  • Conduct information meetings with professionals working in careers that interest you. Build your network.
  • Gain interviewing tips and learn what to expect from employers in the interview process.
  • Continue developing your network by contacting potential mentors or references.
  • Upload resume & look for internships on JobTracks (FREE): attend career fairs & participate in on-campus interviews.
  • Enroll in IDS 320 for a job-search class

Step Four (usually during the senior year/graduate school)

  • Update your resume/use walk-in hours or come to Resume Madness for resume critique.
  • Access job listings using JobTracks.   Have you uploaded your resume into JobTracks yet?
  • Participate in a Mock Interview through the Career Center. Also, participate in Mock Interview Day.
  • Participate in on-campus recruiting and to apply for jobs electronically through JobTracks.
  • Attend Career Center activities: Networking Events, Etiquette Dinner, Career Panels
  • Don’t wait until after you graduate to begin looking for a job.   Job search may take 3-6 months.
  • Continue building your network of contacts. Use your participation in professional organizations and clubs to make connections with people who may provide you with job leads.
  • Researching potential employers. Find out as much as possible about them – “Why are you interested in this company?”

For more information, visit careercenter.missouristate.edu or contact the Career Center at careercenter@missouristate.edu.

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Letting Grow – Tips for Family Members

Moving to college for the first time is both an exciting and frightening journey. This journey will probably make your student a different person, but don’t forget that this is a journey for you as a parent as well. You share in the happiness, sorrow, success and failure. You aren’t letting them go, you are letting them grow. Here are some tips to let them grow.  0075.jpg.JPG

1. Don’t ask if they’re homesick

The power of suggestion is amazing.  The minute you ask if they are homesick, they are. We know the first few days and weeks of school are activity-packed and overwhelming. The challenge of meeting new people and adjusting to new situations takes up a majority of a freshman’s time and concentration. Students will certainly miss you, but homesickness is usually a desire for the comfort of a familiar routine.   Try not to tell the student how much you wish they were eating dinner with you at their favorite restaurant. Offer support rather than open arms to run back to.  Remind your student to enjoy the experience. Encourage your student to take advantage of campus resources.  Look over the Missouri State Guide for Parents for information on campus resources.

2. Send mail and care packages

Although freshmen are typically eager to experience all the away-from-home independence , most are still anxious for family ties and the security those bring. Most freshmen, although they might never admit it, are eager for news from home and their family.  It may seem mundane, but there is nothing more depressing than a week of an empty mailbox. Though they may not answer your letters, they will be grateful for them.  Encourage family members to also send letters.  When you move your student in, leave some note paper and stamps as a small gift for them. Remind them family members like to get mail also. Send care packages. Every student loves to get a package, the bigger the better!

3. Ask questions

But not too many. College freshmen are trying to be “cool” and tend to resent interference with their new lifestyle, but most still desire the security of knowing that someone is still interested in them. Family curiosity can be viewed as comforting or obnoxious, depending on the attitudes of everyone involved. Try to avoid the “I have a right to know” questions with ulterior motives. Honest inquiries will do much to further the parent-student relationship. Ask open-ended questions instead of questions that encourage a one-word answer.  Questions such as “What are some ways you plan on maintaining your physical health at Missouri State?” will start the conversation.

4. Try not to worry (too much) about panicky phone calls

Often when troubles become too much for a freshman to handle (a flunked test, the end of a relationship, etc.), the only place to turn is home. You are their rock in a storm. Unfortunately, this is the most common time that students get the urge to communicate, so you never hear about the paper that got an A or the great date last night.

Try to be patient with those “nothing is going right, I hate this place” phone calls, letters or emails.

  • Be reassuring.
  • Explain that you are there for them, but won’t necessarily come drive them home.
  • Tell them you have faith in them.
  • Remind them of campus resources such as the Bear Claw for tutoring.

You are providing a real service as as an advice-dispenser, sympathetic ear or punching bag. It may heighten your worry radar, but it works wonders for a frustrated student.

5. Visit

Visits by parents (especially when accompanied by shopping sprees and dinners out) are another part of the events that freshmen are sometimes reluctant to admit gratitude for but appreciate immensely. These visits give students the chance to introduce some of their important people to each other. Parents can become familiar with new activities, commitments, living environment and friends.  Invite their friends to join you for dinner or another activity. Encourage your student to plan the visit. This gives him the opportunity to showcase his “home away from home.”  Spur-of-the-moment, surprise visits, however, are not usually appreciated. It’s best to schedule a visit with your student.  Plan to  visit during Family Weekend (September 12-14)…you may even get to see a clean room!

6. Try not to say “these are the best years of your life”

Freshman year is full of indecision, insecurity, disappointment and, most of all, mistakes. It’s also full of discovery, inspiration, good times and friends. It takes a while for some students to accept both the positives and negatives of growing up and accepting themselves. It sometimes takes longer for parents to realize this.  Any parent who believes that all college students get perfect grades, know what they want to major in, have activity-packed weekends, thousands of friends and lead carefree lives is mistaken. “College educated” doesn’t mean mistake-proof. Perpetuating the “best years” stereotype is working against the student’s already difficult experience. If you accept and understand the highs and lows of reality, you’ll provide the support and encouragement needed most.

7. Take time to discuss finances

Most college students are still financially dependent upon their parents to some degree. Sit down and discuss your family’s financial situation. Students need to know how much money will be available to them and how much fiscal responsibility is theirs. Discussion about credit cards is especially important. Students are bombarded with credit card applications promising free stuff:

  • Teach them how to see through the empty promises as credit card companies target students.
  • Show them exactly what 21% interest means.
  • Set spending limits.
  • Warn about frequent trips to the ATM.

Remember that once students move to campus, you won’t be able to tell them “no” when they want something.

8. Expect your student to change

Freshmen are especially eager to try out different identities while trying to find their individuality. They will change, and that should be a positive thing. Students are at college to learn and grow as educated citizens. They may come home with different-colored hair, but there also may be a subtle maturity in their conversations and new found passion about a studied subject.

9. Prepare for their return

When the academic year ends and your student returns home for the summer, plan to discuss the rules of living at home. Parents need to respect the individuality their student has worked to achieve. Students need to know there are rules and courtesies to be observed at home no matter how independent they were at school.

10. Trust them

Finding yourself is difficult enough without feeling that the people whose opinions you value the most are second-guessing you. One of the most important things parents can do is let their students know they trust their judgement and will be there if that judgement creates less than desirable results.

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Spotlight on Family Weekend 2014 – The Duane G. Meyer Library presents “The Library – Past, Present and Future” Family Event

We are counting down the days until Family Weekend, September 12-14, 2014. There are many activities for you and your family to participate in while you are on campus. One such event, “The Library – Past, Present and Future” Family Event presented by Family Weekend partner Duane G. Meyer Library is today’s spotlight event.  photo(1)

The Meyer Library and Flat Boomer are excited to welcome you and your family to Family Weekend and to the library. The staff has planned many activities that will entertain, engage and educate you on all the library has to offer to you and your student. The activities are as follows:

Library & TRiO

  • Self-guided tour of the Library with a specially designed map of the building
  • Special Collections, 3rd Level – Library history display with pictures and Ozarko year books
  • CRC, 2nd Level – Storytellers
  • Maps, Lower Level – Pinpoint where you’re from
  • Music and Media, Lower Level – Music
  • Carillon Bell Tower 2nd and 3rd Level entry – tours of the Jane A. Meyer Carillon, the tallest carillon in the Midwest. Lear more about the Carillon Bell Tower here.
  • Administration Display, 1st Level – Long range plan for the library
  • Activities, Lobby area – Big Jenga; Paint your library with paint markers and chalk; make your own button
  • Refreshments, Lobby area – Fresh popcorn; organic lemonade
  • Ask Us Any Question, 2nd Level – Reference Librarian will be available to answer any question in a booth hosted by Computer Services
  • Drawings for gift certificates and coupons: Andy’s Frozen Custard, Gillardi’s restaurant, Grad School, Aviary Café & Creperie, Bistro grocery store, Mexican Villa, Trolley’s, Regal Movie Theatre, limited edition “Flat Boomer at the Library” jigsaw puzzles (pictured above).

Bear Claw

  • 1st Level – Front desk person to answer questions and hand out item

Access Technology

  • 2nd Level – Sandwich boards, display table with pamphlets

Computer Services

  • 2nd Level – digital art coloring pages; message to Boomer shared on social media

Visit the Family Weekend 2014 page to find out more information and register. If you have questions, please contact Priscilla Childress at pchildress@missouristate.edu or at (417) 836-3060. We look forward to seeing you on September 12th.



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Ask Priscilla – Does my student need a car on campus?

Ah, the question that haunts parents and students think is a no-brainer. This is a question that has been asked through the decades.  The decision comes down to personal preference, feasibility and taking a good look at Missouri State’s transportation plan.   Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

Missouri State has the Bear Line for your student to utilize.  The Bear Line offers a convenient way to get around campus and downtown Springfield. Jump on from any of the well-lit, covered shuttle stops conveniently located across campus. Shuttles are climate controlled and offer a comfortable ride. No individual fares will be charged to any passenger. Buses are specially equipped for persons with disabilities.

Commuter students can leave the driving to the Bear Line.  Bear Line can help take the pressure off finding a parking place in crowded lots. Simply park in one of the spacious, covered parking garages — Bear Park North, located off John Q. Hammons Parkway with entrances on Cherry and Elm Streets, and Bear Park South, located at the intersection of Holland and Grand — and catch the shuttle. Just be sure to arrive about 15 minutes early to allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

What is the cost of a parking permit? Is there a lot of parking on the campus? How far is the campus from home? Will they have an off-campus job? These are all questions for your student to be asking as he makes the decision about having a car on campus.  Visit the Safety and Transportation website to find out more about parking on campus.

And don’t forget bikes! Bicycles are a wonderful way to get around campus and get some great exercise at the same time. Bicycles are welcome at Missouri State, offering fantastic bike paths, maintenance stations and plenty of bike racks. Encourage your student to take responsibility for their bikes and register their bike with the Safety and Transportation Department and remind them to lock their bikes at all times.

Missouri State also has the Green Bike Program.  The Green Bike Program, developed by the Residence Hall Association and funded partially by Student Government Association’s Sustainability Commission, was officially launched at Missouri State University in the spring of 2011. The program allows students living on campus to rent bikes for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase a bike. The program encourages students to reduce their carbon footprint by offering an environmentally friendly way to travel to off-campus destinations, such as nearby groceries stores or downtown attractions.  Remind your student to stop by Rec Fest 2014 and take advantage of the Green Bike program. On August 22, at the Foster Recreation Center, students will be able to rent a bike from 3-6pm. Bikes are rented on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Suggest to your student that they check out all the campus has to offer for student transportation.

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Family Association Newsletter – July 2014 edition

Welcome to the Missouri State Family

We are thrilled that your student has selected MSU for their college experience. It is always exciting to welcome new students and their families to the BEAR community!

As family members, you will find that Missouri State University is a very special place filled with outstanding faculty and staff ready to encourage and support your student on this stage of their journey. In addition to challenging academic coursework, MSU offers a student-first approach that focuses on a positive, holistic learning environment. Our motto, Follow your Passion and Find Your Place, is at the very core of the work that we do.  Read more…

Get your Family Weekend Football Tickets Today!
Campus Recreation Spotlight Rec Fest 2014
Be a R.E.A.L. Bear!
The Bear Claw – A Partner for Student Success
Welcome Weekend – Time to Get Moving!
Taylor Heath & Wellness – Specialists in University Health Services
To Be or Not-to-Be in a Fraternity or Sorority…That is the question!
The Benefits of Student Employment
Living Learning Communities at MSU
Is College a God-free Zone?
Missouri State Bookstore – Tax Free Weekend
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The Benefits of Student Employment

There are multiple benefits of working as a student employee. Having some extra cash while attending school is always a plus for a student, however, there’s more to student jobs than making money. Other benefits include developing time management skills, gaining valuable work skills and employment experience that will enhance a resume’, and developing professional relationships that can lead to future letters of support and recommendation. During the last academic year, Missouri State University had in excess of 2,700 student employees who provided over 1,000,000 hours of services.

What is work-study? The Federal work-study program is based on financial need as determined by a student’s completed federal aid application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FASFA. Work-study students are paid through federal funding that is allocated to the university. Work-study student employees are paid the same as any student employee; a direct deposit is set up through the new hire paperwork process and all pay earned is distributed accordingly. A student can use their earnings in any manner they see fit; they are not required to use the money to pay on their tuition account. However, they are welcome to do so if they choose!

Unfortunately, the number of students who qualify for work-study is much greater than the allotment that the university receives. If a student doesn’t qualify or is not awarded work-study, there are still many jobs both on and off campus for which they can apply. If their financial aid awards did not include work-study, a student can apply for any job postings that indicate “work-study optional” or “off-campus employers.”

There are a large variety of job opportunities for students. Most departments on campus have student employees and there are in excess of 500 off-campus employers that use our applicant portal to post off-campus positions. The automated application system at MSU makes viewing and applying for jobs an easy process.   To access the online applicant system, use the following web address: www.missouristate.edu/findajob

The first step in this process is to create an applicant profile. Once a profile is created an online application is completed that can be used to apply for multiple jobs. The completed application remains on the student’s profile and is available to upload to desired postings at any time. Once a job is obtained, it’s important that the student bring their driver’s license and social security card or passport to campus. These items will be required when completing new hire paperwork before starting a new job!

Contact the Office of Student Employment with any questions:
Phone – (417) 836-5627
Blair Shannon 113

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