Missouri State University
The Family Connection

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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More Than a GPA – Seven Qualities That Matter

Throughout high school, your student worried about his GPA in order to gain admission to college.  Throughout college, students worry about their GPA in order to get a good job, make Dean’s List (or maybe to avoid academic probation), or to graduate with honors.

Grades matter.  They always have, and they will continue to matter for the foreseeable future.  Testing matters, extracurricular activities matter, inteFutureStudentsrnships matter.  Whether your student is in high school looking at college admission or in college looking toward a career, there are many factors that come into play.

In spite of the importance of all of the many factors that students must balance as they participate in school, we’d like to suggest seven qualities that will serve college students well.  They are certainly not the only important characteristics that will help your student succeed, but they are a foundation.  Talk to your student about his college career and his focus on GPA.  Don’t discount it, it matters, but help him to think about some other qualities that will help him succeed – and that will serve him well as he looks for a job and as he navigates his career.


Your student’s ability to adapt to new situations, new requirements, and new people will be important. Students adapt constantly to new professors, new styles of classroom management, new living situations, and often new policies or rules.  Help your student think about how to maximize this quality and to translate that flexibility to new situations once he graduates.


Creativity, originality, the ability to think “outside of the box” will be crucial as your student navigates an ever changing work world.  Encourage your student to foster his own original thinking as he goes through his college experiences.  How can he take what he is learning and find new angles, application, or approaches?  Creativity takes practice.  Help your student start practicing this skill early.


Patience is a difficult quality for this millennial generation to master.  Our college students have grown up in an age of rapid everything, of “instant.”  Learning to slow down, to take small steps, to allow something (including a career) to develop, and to watch something grow slowly is extremely difficult.  Talk to your student about maintaining patience without boredom.  Slowing down doesn’t mean stopping or stalling.  (Perhaps we, as parents, need to work on this quality as well?)


Does your student have a sense of purpose?  Does he know where he is going and why?  Does he have a clear sense of what matters to him in life?  It is a tall order for a college student.  Some students know exactly what they want early in their college careers (or even before).  Other students may not yet know where they are headed, or may experience a major shift of direction.  Although your student may not know where he wants his life to go, it is important that he know that a sense of purpose will be important eventually.  Help your student think about how to go about finding a sense of purpose. (And help your student remember that his sense of purpose may or may not drive his career choice.)  Each student’s timetable will be different, and the journey to discover purpose may be as important as the destination.


Whether your student is still searching for her sense of purpose or striving toward a specific goal, the quality of being able to stick-to-it is essential.  Persistence in the face of failure and disappointment is sometimes not a strong quality of this generation.  As parents, we have protected and supported our students to the extent that they may not have enough experience picking themselves up from the dirt, dusting themselves off, and continuing toward their goal.  Encourage your student to realize that failure is an important part of learning and success.  Help her learn not to give up in the face of roadblocks.


One of the key concepts students are encouraged to embrace is networking.  Students are encouraged to reach out and make connections.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the social networking that students participate in encourage extending connections.  But perhaps helping your student think about how and why those networks can work – or fail – is equally important.  Help your student think about identifying with other people, understanding how they feel, looking at the world from their perspective.  Your student may have hundreds of people in her network, but if she doesn’t truly connect with them, she will not be able to expand her horizons.


This is one quality that seems to come more easily for this emerging adult generation.  Our students see the world as a world of possibility.  Help your student continue to see the good in the world, to see the room for growth and understanding, to view the future as the place where he will be able to make a difference.

Your student’s college years are a time when many of these qualities will be essential and a time when these qualities can be discovered, practiced, and solidified.  As a college parent, you may need to help your student realize the importance of these qualities.  Sharing your experiences may help.  How have these qualities affected your life’s path?


(reprinted from College Parent Central, http://www.collegeparentcentral.com/2014/02/more-than-a-gpa-seven-qualities-that-matter/)

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Ask Priscilla…What is a Living-Learning Community & why should my student consider an LLC as a housing option?

That’s a good question. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MOLiving-Learning Communities are special living environments that offer social and academic resources to students with varied interests areas and specialties.  In this program, students gain knowledge and skills to be successful both in and out of the classroom. Students are offered opportunities to work with campus and community leaders to enhance their knowledge offering resources that help them with curricular and co-curricular settings. There are currently twelve LLC’s on campus and these range from the Bear Business Community to Future Health Care Professionals, Fit and Well, and First-Year Bears, just to name a few. You can find more info about the LLC’s here.

What does this mean to students? To get a clear view on how students feel about LLC’s, we asked some current residents to share their thoughts and how they benefit from this type of community living.

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RoomSync – Finding a Roommate for 2015-2016 Academic Year

We are looking forward to your student joining us for the fall 2015 semester!  We’re excited to offer them a new method of finding potential roommates.  RoomSync is a Facebook app. Your student should have or wreslifeill shortly receive an invitation from our office to join RoomSync and see what roommates are available through this application.  By integrating Twitter and Instagram profiles, RoomSync is able to capture a broader representation of each individual student and their tastes, preferences, and lifestyle.  This integration also furthers a very unique component of finding a roommate:  Personality.  It is impossible to decipher a person’s personality from a vague paper questionnaire.  RoomSync already overcomes this challenge by using Facebook to capture a person’s true identity.  But, with the use of a running stream of thoughts from Twitter and a visual porthole into activities and interests from Instagram, RoomSync is now able to offer an even deeper picture of who a user is.  roomsync

These features aids RoomSync’s efforts thereby creating honest and promising matches that will stand the test of time.  For a quick introduction into RoomSync and its workings, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVuqrR-5_GA

Having a mutual roommate request has taken on a new meaning this year!  In April, we will allow incoming student who have a mutual roommate request to go online and select their own room for the 2015-16 academic year! No more waiting on our Department to assign your student to a room or suite…they will be able to do it themselves.

Happy Syncing!

Visit the Residence Life, Housing  & Dining Services website for  more information.

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A Conversation with Justin…Time Management

Time management is quite possibly one of the most important skills we as college students can obtain. It is especially important as we begin to get involved outside of the classroom.  I believe that one of the biggest aspects of time management is determining how many different things you can get involved with. If you, as a student, require more time for studying and doing homework, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to go and join multiple organizations or work too much. Furthermore, with time management, get involved in things that you are going to be able to engage yourself in.  IMG_2113

A helpful tool for me to stay on top of my to do list is maintaining a calendar. I personally use Google Calendar to set up all of my classes and meetings for each week. I try to plan out at least a few weeks in advance so I know when to be where and when to have assignments ready to turn in for class. The university planner is also a vital tool to manage your time successfully. Available at the Bookstore, these planners come laid out with all university events and breaks to better control your schedule.

​Trial and error has possibly been most successful for myself and many people I know. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see whether you are able to stay on top of all of your requirements. This helps you become more well rounded and better understand yourself and your capabilities.


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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Career Expo 2015 – An Opportunity for your Student to Connect

Encourage your student to attend the Career Expo 2015 hosted by the Missouri State Career Center, Tuesday, February 24,1:00 – 5:00 PM at JQH Arena.  The Career Expo provides the opportunity for students and employers to connect. More than 140 employers from all areas of all industries are registered to attend. Employers will be looking to fill internships and full-time positions. Students of all majors and all class levels from Missouri State University, Drury University, Evangel University, Southwest Baptist University, and College of the Ozarks are invited to attend this all-inclusive career fair.  d9b0b833-2002-435a-9fed-c92db958df3b

Your student should bring copies of their résumé to distribute. Professional dress or business casual is recommended. A list of employers who are attending is available on the Career Center’s website: http://careercenter.missouristate.edu/CareerExpo.htm

Remind your student to show their professional side at the Career Expo. Below are some tips from the Career Center you can share:

Professionalism includes a wide range of characteristics that involve displaying appropriate behavior in the way we behave, dress, and speak. Examples include treating people respectfully, dressing appropriately, avoiding gossip and negativity, staying calm during stressful or crisis situations, and behaving ethically and with integrity.

The Career Expo on February 24 provides students the opportunity to meet and network with a large number of employers, so ensure that the first impression you make is a professional one. Effective time management skills, well prepared résumés, and appropriate attire are ways in which students can demonstrate their professionalism.

Allow plenty of time. Career Expo will be from 1 to 5 pm, so plan to arrive toward the beginning rather than the end. Many people underestimate the amount of time they need to spend at career fairs. If you wait until 4:45, some employers may have already left or be putting away their material.

Use your time efficiently. Sometimes employers have a waiting line of students; if you choose to wait your turn, be patient and observant. However, you may want to take the opportunity to visit with another recruiter and return to the first one when that line is shorter.

Do your research. Visit the Career Center’s website to view the list of employers planning to attend. Each recruiter includes a link to the company or organization website. Visit their websites to learn more about them, their services, and products. Make a list of the employers you want to target during the career fair.

Be prepared. Make sure your résumé is correct and updated, and bring plenty of copies to distribute. Some students also like to include business cards with their résumés. During Career Expo, ask recruiters for their business cards. Employers may want to look at your LinkedIn profile, so make sure it is developed and updated.

Dress appropriately. Wearing business attire that is clean and pressed sends the message that you’re responsible, capable, and ready to be hired. On the other hand, dressing too casually may leave employers doubting your qualifications or preparedness. Even though some recruiters will be wearing business casual, others will be wearing traditional business attire. It’s preferable to dress too conservatively than too casually. Read more about the different levels of business attire: http://abt.cm/1DmTA3v

Demonstrate confidence. Sometimes students arrive at Career Expo with friends or classmates, but once you check in, show your independence and confidence by interacting with employers on your own. Your friends and classmates may be your competition, so you want to make sure that you stand out and are not “lumped together.”

Be courteous. Practice your handshake; make sure it is not too strong or too limp. Feeling nervous is normal, but smile and be personable. Most employers will try to put you at ease.  Say thank you and please. Be respectful of others: don’t cut in line or be rude.

Follow up. After Career Expo, send thank-you letters (or thank-you cards) to recruiters (another reason to collect their business cards). In addition to thanking them for their time, take this opportunity to express your interest in the position and organization and to emphasize your qualifications.

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