Missouri State University
The Family Connection

3 Tips to Start Your Networking Process

Networking. For some, this word confuses or terrifies. This article defines networking and provides three tips to make the process less terrifying.  campus

What is networking? At the basic level, networking is relationship building. Obviously, building relationships takes time. This is why the Career Center strongly encourages students early in their college experience to get involved in on- and off-campus activities, meet people, and develop relationships. Students can begin by exploring any of the more than 300 student organizations at Missouri State: (http://organizations.missouristate.edu/guide/) However, it never is too late to get involved and meet new people.

Why is networking important? The majority of job openings—some sources say as much as 90%—are never advertised. So how do people learn of job openings? Through “word of mouth,” which often is not a direct connection. Instead, we often learn of opportunities through more indirect routes—from “someone who knows someone who knows someone.” In your network of contacts you may discover someone who is willing to mentor you—giving you advice and helping you navigate turbulence in your career. Then after you begin your career, you can help others who are starting their careers. And the cycle continues.

Following are three tips for developing a network of contacts.

Tip #1: Start with the people you know.

Family and friends of family: Whether or not family members work in the career that you’re pursuing, they may know people in that field. For example, you may discover that a parent or sibling went to school with someone who’s now working in that profession.

Friends and family of friends: Because we share interests with our friends, it makes sense that we often gravitate toward the same professions. If a friend has established a positive reputation in his/her career, then a referral for you may open doors. In addition, we often don’t discuss the professions of our friends’ families, so this may be a helpful, untapped resource.

Current and former teachers: Teachers often stay connected with their former students, so they may be able to provide you with a contact.

Individuals in the community: You probably have already established several contacts with people in the community through volunteer organizations and religious and political affiliations.

Tip #2: Use social media.

LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites for networking at the professional level. Not only can you join groups related to your career and interests, but you also can connect with alumni. Social media is great for staying in touch with people from all over the globe and for establishing connections (for example, a Facebook friend of your friend could become your new connection).

Tip #3: Get away from social media.

Some studies claim that people who spend too much time on their devices have more difficulty when it comes to talking with people face-to-face. Although social media seems to have been specially designed with introverts in mind, too much time spent on devices could have negative ramifications for people who already struggle with meeting new people.

Get involved with campus and community organizations and events. When you attend events, talk to people. Ask them about themselves and get to know them. While social media is a good starting point to introduce you and keep you updated, it can’t replace the impact that face-to-face meetings have.

If the idea of talking to strangers feels too intimidating, then you might want to explore the advice offered by Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of Small Talk (http://www.debrafine.com/). In her book, articles, and website, Fine provides several tips. For example, when attending a function, we should prepare ahead of time three things to talk to people about, listen more than we talk, and make sure our body language communicates confidence.


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Ask Priscilla! Should I attend SOAR (Student Orientation, Advisement & Registration) with my student?

Family members are invited and encouraged to attend SOAR. And from my vantage point as a mother with daughters in college, I think you should go. Isn’t this when the “experts” say you should give your student independence? Yes, it is highly recommended that the student be given room to grow. But that doesn’t mean your involvement has to end; it’s just a different kind of involvement.  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

SOAR is a great example. Even if your grown-up student thinks there’s no need for you to be there, the truth is they’ll hardly know you’re around. During SOAR, you will not be with them the entire time — they go to the student program and you, of course, go to the family program. At various times throughout SOAR you’ll meet back up with your student to catch up and share what you’ve learned.

There are numerous reasons you should attend, but here are two important ones:

Attending SOAR with your student affords you one last chance to bond.

Even though you’re not together for the whole event, the time you do spend together during SOAR will help you find out what’s important to your student, what they’re interested in, what they’re concerned about, what they’re hoping for. It’s an opportunity for you to be there for them, to listen and learn and to help as needed.

The family orientation program offers you the opportunity to ease your mind.

At my oldest daughter’s orientation, I wanted to know about health care: Where do students go if they get sick? The family orientation program is designed to answer questions most pressing to family members. You’ll find out about student health services and wellness centers; learn about campus safety and student organizations; and meet the professionals at the university.

There is also an emotional component to attending SOAR. When a student leaves for college, the entire family goes through a transition. At SOAR, you will meet other parents who are not exactly sure what’s in store. You will also meet parents who have “been there, done that” and can serve as a wealth of knowledge and support. You can share stories, make connections, learn how to encourage your student while still letting them grow, find dates of important campus events such as Spring Family Day and Family Weekend. Family Weekend is a great time to return to campus, visit your student and the school through his or her eyes. And yes, take them shopping while you are in town!

As you can tell, I’m a strong advocate for attending SOAR. For me, it was an important part of the process of raising my daughters and allowing them the freedom to follow their dreams. At each orientation, I learned how things worked on campus and what my daughter’s first-year experience would be like. I made new friends. Most importantly, I came away with a sense of peace. I wasn’t as anxious as I had been because I saw the school (rather than just touring it), met the key players, and discovered that the faculty, staff, and administration wanted to see my students succeed as much as I do. That made everything worthwhile.

Here is some practical advice to help you get the most out of SOAR:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes! You will be doing a lot of walking.
  2. Come prepared to get lots (and I do mean lots) of great information and many pamphlets, flyers, etc.
  3. Bring a sweater (for some reason conference rooms are all cold, no matter where they are).
  4. Accept that you will need time to process everything you hear.
  5. Plan on being tired (but the good kind of tired).
  6. Most importantly, encourage your student and enjoy yourself!
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What’s Going on at the Meyer Library

Meyer Library is sponsoring, “Sustainable Agriculture: A Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the People”, April 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm11008409_809472109121354_1157570979258783374_n.  The program will be presented in Room 101 (Auditorium) of the Library.  Dr. John E. Ikerd, a native of Southwest Missouri, will be presenting the program.  He is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, at the University of Missouri, Columbia.  Everyone is welcome and it is free.   This issue is especially applicable to Missouri.

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A Conversation with Justin – Spring at Missouri State

Spring seems to be a crazy time here in Springfield. As the cold begins to fade, the campus becomes more lively in all sorts of ways. The beautiful weather keeps students out all around campus throughout the day. Not only do students come out in full force, but so do many campus wide activities.

The largest event for Fraternity and Sorority life, Greek Week, takes place in mid March each year. During Greek Week, the FSL community donates tens of thousands of dollars in nonperishable items, competes in Greek Jam, an eight minute dance routine,  and takes part in community service in the Springfield community.

Student Government elections are also a major focus for the student body. Student Body President and Vice President as well as improvements for campus are brought forth for a vote so we as students can make a difference here at Missouri State.

Lastly, the week before finals, the Student Activities Council hosts May Day. The SAC brings in carnival type rides, a petting zoo, and free food for all students to enjoy between classes.

The spring semester always seems to be a busy time but we as students are renewed due to the excitement of the change in weather and all of fun things offered by this wonderful university.  IMG_2113


Justin Roberts, a junior year with a double major in Philosophy and Organizational Communication, is from Frisco, Texas.   He is the Family Orientation Coordinator for SOAR 2015, the first to hold this student position in the office. Throughout his time at Missouri State, he has been a SOAR Leader, involved in the Missouri State Disc Golf Club, Student Government Association, and a social fraternity where he served as the chapter president.

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Ask Priscilla! How can I support my student as the end of the semester approaches?

Spring is here which means the end of the semester is just around the corner. Your student has a lot going on in her life and the stress could be setting in as she finishes projects, gets ready for final exams, makes plans for the summer and still enjoys a social life. UniversityParent.com offers the following strategies for supporting your student.  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

  • Celebrate successes, big and small. Is she pulling up her grade in biology? Was a piece of her artwork chosen for a campus show? Maybe she resolved a problem with a friend, or made a contact that might lead to a summer internship. All these things take hard work of one kind or another. Let her know you’re proud — send flowers, or tuck a gift card in a handwritten note.
  • Remind her to take care of both physical and mental health. If she’s panicking as finals approach, encourage her to drop by the Counseling Center. She may hesitate if she hasn’t done this before, but just by putting it out there as a commonplace stress management option (which it is!) you normalize it. Check in with her about sleep and nutrition, too. Remind her that her health is more important to you than anything.
  • Send one last care package. Yes, our students always want candy. This time, though, stuff the box with nuts and dried fruit. Put in a pair of flip-flops or sunglasses, a letter, and a fun magazine to read under a tree in the sun.
  • It’s not too late to adjust study habits. When spring fever hits, it can be tough to motivate your student in the direction of the library. Encourage her to try one new thing to reinvigorate her studying. She could join a study group connected to one of her courses or find a new place to study, like the a library or coffee shop off campus.
  • Give her permission not to be perfect. If she sounds overwhelmed when you talk, or if she’s being too hard on herself, listen and be a sounding board but then don’t hesitate to speak up and help her regain perspective. Remind her that it isn’t all about grades, about having the best room on campus next year, etc. Circle back to celebrating her accomplishments.
  • Fit in a quick, no-strings visit if you can. If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of your student’s campus, let her know you’d like to come to one of her home lacrosse games or her spring choral concert. If she wants you to take her out for a meal afterwards, great — if not, cheer her on and then be on your way.
  • Treat her to a study break. If you don’t live close by, send her a gift certificate to a local restaurant, or bus/train fare for an afternoon off campus.
  • Support, if needed, with summer job search efforts. If she hasn’t found anything yet, there is still time to take advantage of the resources at the Career Center. If she doesn’t have time, neither of you should fret. It will come together when she’s back home.
  • Finalize end-of-year travel plans. Make sure she’s got a plane ticket, or you’ve picked a day/time to come collect her. Be prepared for her feelings to be all over the map as the year winds down. Finally, schedule something fun on the family calendar to welcome her back (after she’s had a few days to catch up on sleep!)

(portions reprinted from University Parent, www.universityparent.com, Diane Schwemm)

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A Conversation with Justin – Traditions

As we celebrated the 110th birthday week of Missouri State University, traditions seemed to be the huge focus on our campus. Not only are traditions a unique way to take a look back at how our school has thrived for the last century, it’s also a perfect avenue for us as students to take a break from our studies and connect with the rest of the student body.  justin1

A huge part of traditions is our alumni. They set the groundwork for these traditions we celebrate as well as being incorporated into the celebrations when possible. We don’t come to this university simply to get a college education, as I’ve said before, we’re here to be a BEAR. That comes with being engaged in different aspects of our culture and making a difference here at Missouri State.

Another avenue for us as students to become engaged in our traditions is our sports teams. Our sporting events allow for traditions to be ever-changing and alive and well on our campus. Most of these events are free to us as students which makes it that much easier for the student body to make an impact on continuing old traditions as well as laying the groundwork for new ones.​


Justin Roberts, a junior year with a double major in Philosophy and Organizational Communication, is from Frisco, Texas.   He is the Family Orientation Coordinator for SOAR 2015, the first to hold this student position in the office. Throughout his time at Missouri State, he has been a SOAR Leader, involved in the Missouri State Disc Golf Club, Student Government Association, and a social fraternity where he served as the chapter president.

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Finishing Strong (And Preparing for What’s Next)

Many students are of the mindset that once spring break’s over, the whole semester is as good as over, and they “check out”. But Spring break is actually the mid-term point, and there are still plenty of points to be earned (or not earned) in each of their classes. Indeed, even if your student has allowed him/herself to drift into mediocrity in the grayness of winter, there is plenty of time (in most cases) to turn things around. And, on the other hand, if your student is feeling really pumped about how well she/he is doing, there is still plenty of time to pull defeat from the jaws of victory! Even if the sun is shining and flowers are blooming and birds are singing and sitting in class seems like unbearable drudgery, the semester isn’t over until it’s over!  chair_study

The old saying about springtime turning students’ thoughts to love seems to be quite accurate (though for that matter, on campus, any season will do!), and if you haven’t hada chat with your student about romantic relationships on campus, it would do you well to ask her/him what they’ve been observing and what he/she thinks about the all-so-common “hook-up” culture that is so prevalent. The conversation doesn’t have to be as awkward as your initial “birds and bees” talk (you HAVE had that chat, haven’t you?), but to talk honestly with your student about authentic relationships at college and beyond can be really important for both of you. Though parents often feel that what they say doesn’t matter, studies indicate that even during their college years, parents are extremely influential in shaping their opinions and attitudes, e.g., http://cpr.iub.edu/uploads/AIR%202009%20Impact%20of%20Helicopter%20Parents.pdf–don’t


worry about the title of the study; no one is accusing you of being a “helicopter parent”!). You can help your student to understand that the best long-term relationships grow out of real friendships, rather than passion or romance or obsession.

Has your student decided where she/he is going to be living next year? It’s time to seriously look into that. Living environments (especially housemates) can have a great d



eal to do with students’ abilities to succeed. These days, apartments are going up all around campus, which are very stylish and high tech and EXPENSIVE. The going rate seems to be $600 per month per bedroom with bath, and then the student shares living space and kitchen with three other individuals she/he probably won’t know. With the relatively easy student loan money available, students often see “close”, “wi-fi”, “health club”, and sometimes even “free Starbucks” and dive right in. I have no real estate interests to promote, but can tell you that there are plenty of less-expensive places to live not all that far from campus.

So, you’re getting close to having your student gone for a whole school year—how much has that impacted you? Are you comfortable with your life apart from your student’s proximity? Are you possibly enjoying (guilt-free!) some more personal time? As an older, wiser friend of mine said when I was getting anxious about my second (and last) daughter moving away, “The downside of the ‘empty nest syndrome’ has been WAY over-reported!”

Happy Spring!

 (David Embree is the director of Christian Campus House and teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University. You can contact him via DEmbree@MissouriState.edu.)


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Justin’s Bucket List for Students – Intramurals

Get together with friends you have made across campus, whether that be in your residence halls or maybe in the classroom, and make an intramural team. This is a great way to be involved on campus and get to know other students across our campus. Even better, it is a way to have fun, get good exercise and get away from classwork for a while! Our recreation center offers many different sports in the Fall and Spring semesters to accommodate to all students. No matter what sport you enjoy playing, odds are we offer it here at Missouri State University. justin1


Justin Roberts, a junior year with a double major in Philosophy and Organizational Communication, is from Frisco, Texas.   He is the Family Orientation Coordinator for SOAR 2015, the first to hold this student position in the office. Throughout his time at Missouri State, he has been a SOAR Leader, involved in the Missouri State Disc Golf Club, Student Government Association, and a social fraternity where he served as the chapter president.


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Leaders in Community Service Program – An Opportunity for your Student

The MSU Leaders in Community Service Program (LCS) is seeking selective students who have a strong interest in community service and are looking for an alternative to student loans or want to earn additional money while attending MSU. LCS is a student organization that allows MSU work study students to work for non-for-profit organizations an average of 10-12 hours per week while being paid an hourly wage of $9.00. LCS members are paid by Missouri State through the Federal Work Study program.

If your student is work-study eligible or has received a Pell grant, they may qualify for a position on the team!  Members must have 24 completed credit hours and a minimum of a 2.5 GPA to qualify. painting

Encourage your student to attend an informational recruitment meeting March 30th from 4-5 p.m. in PSU 317.

Applications for the 2015-2016 academic year are being accepted through April 8th.

To learn more about this elite program and to print an application form, refer your student to the LCS website at http://organizations.missouristate.edu/lcs.  The completed application can be submitted to the Student Employment office located at 113 Blair-Shannon Residence Hall, emailed to lcs@missouristate.edu, or faxed to 417-836-7608.

Membership selections are competitive, so students are encouraged you to apply now!


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A Conversation with Justin…Registration

justin1It’s that time of year again. The time where we as students must begin preparing for our road to graduation. The most important step for all students, no matter what year, is to meet with our faculty advisor to ensure that we are staying on track, but there are a few other things to do beforehand. One of the most under-utilized resources in my opinion is the Degree Audit. The university just made major changes to this application and it is extremely useful for determining what courses to take. The Degree Audit takes into account your major as well as what requirements you have already completed and which classes you still need to take to graduate.

From there, I would work with the newly renovated Trial Schedule Builder. Even before meeting with an advisor, this tool is helpful in confirming which courses are offered in the upcoming semester as well as giving a preview for what your weekly schedule will look like. From there, the advisor meeting should finalize any last questions you have about courses and scheduling.

Lastly, comes registering itself. Keep in mind that our system is set up to allow students with more credit hours to register first so just be sure to check which day you are eligible to register.


Justin Roberts, a junior year with a double major in Philosophy and Organizational Communication, is from Frisco, Texas.   He is the Family Orientation Coordinator for SOAR 2015, the first to hold this student position in the office. Throughout his time at Missouri State, he has been a SOAR Leader, involved in the Missouri State Disc Golf Club, Student Government Association, and a social fraternity where he served as the chapter president.

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