Friday, September 19, 2014

An Introduction from Niall

     Hi everyone, my name is Niall Masterson. I will begin by giving you all some insight to my past and how life has taken me to Rogers State. So anyone that has met me will know that I sound a little bit strange, this is because I hail from the green fields of Ireland. I was born into a loving family being the youngest of three siblings. I grew up in Ballyboughal which is a small rural village in north Dublin. As you can imagine there is not a whole lot to do in a small village in Ireland but my friends and I always done a good job of keeping ourselves occupied. Spending all our time outside it was usually playing soccer that filled our days. At that time I played for fun, little did I know later in life it would take me to where I am now.

     After high school I had made the decision that I wanted to travel to the US and continue my education as well as play soccer for a university. So I began my pursuit in a small college in Dublin. I took part in a one year soccer course which was designed to get young student athletes across the pond to America. After a successful year I was lucky enough to get in touch with a coach from Coffeyville Community College, Kansas. Within three weeks of talking to the coach I was on a plane heading towards Kansas.
One of my last moments in Ireland before I left.
This was at the Cliffs of Moher, along the west coast of Ireland.

     You could say it was a little bit of a culture shock. The first thing I remember was getting off the plane and getting struck by ninety degree heat. This was a lot different than a comfortably low fifty degree climate. It wasn’t long before I started to adapt and was able to enjoy a new culture. I met a lot of great people in Coffeyville, they helped me enjoy my freshman year. At the end of my freshman year I heard about Rogers State University. Once I done some research on RSU I was highly impressed and wanted to visit the campus. I soon got in touch with Derek Larkin the head soccer coach. I finally got to see the campus and fell in love, it was perfect for me. Needless to say I acted quickly and got my transfer for the following fall semester, I was going to be a proud Hillcat.

     I began my RSU career as a sophomore in the fall of 2012. It has been extremely easy for me to settle in and I have met a lot of great people. I am now a Corporate Communications major and still represent the university on the men’s soccer team. I have made a lot of great memories here and will continue to do so in the remainder of my time here. 
My parents came to visit and watched me play for the Hillcats

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Choosing a Major

Choosing a major is a daunting task for most college students. If you've had trouble making a decision, I'll reassure you that the majority of people I know have changed their major at least once, and usually a few times, before finding the one they wanted to stick with. I've officially been an Elementary Education, Psychology, and Graphic Design major. Unofficially, I've claimed to be changing my major to Communications (corporate option, then arts) Community Counseling, and also briefly considered English. While you may think this makes me the LAST person you should come to for advice on making a decision, I promise, I've found a few tips along the way that just may help!

1. Take general education courses if you're unsure!
There are some classes that everyone has to take, regardless of their major. Taking these classes can give you time to consider your options and make a decision while you're still working towards your degree.

2. Try to make a decision... even if you're not confident in it.
Most majors have a few basic classes you are required to take before you can take the more specific ones. This can be a great opportunity to see if you find the subject interesting and worth pursuing. I think it's better to take the class and find out you don't like it, than wait too long to make a decision.

3. Keep careers in mind... but find something you love.
Most of my life I've wanted to be a teacher or an artist, and unfortunately, neither of these career paths are known for making much money. I've tried my best to find something I was both interested in, and would help me get a good job down the road, however... I always came back to what I loved. Graphic Design seems to be my happy medium. I can do what I enjoy, and it's more likely I will be able to find a stable job. So, be practical... but don't settle. :)

Just remember that changing your mind is not the end of the world. Many people go back to school and change careers in their 40's, 50's, and even later. I find that all the more reason to change my mind as many times as I need to find exactly what I want. Right now, that's studying art, but who knows what the future will hold.

Good luck and don't be afraid to try new things!

Gabby G.

Challenge of the Week: Having three tests and an art critique while I was sick.

Pic of the Week: 
I had to take pictures of clouds for my Physical Science class, and this was one of my favorites!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Semester Goals

We hear all the time how goal setting is important for success, well I am here to echo those words. As a college student it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with life’s decisions and lost within all those choices. Goal setting helps to ease that overwhelming sense by gradually achieving goals and simultaneously building a better person.

This year is a little different for me because it’s the infamous college senior year. My place here at the university is comfortable and fixed, changing only by means of my own with little variation.  So this semester my goals have changed concepts slightly. This year my ultimate goal is to be the change I want to see.

Academic- This semester I will strap on my big boy clothes complete with lab coat, goggles, and closed toed shoes, so I can brave the laboratory while performing my own research project.
  1.  Goal- Don’t cause any major laboratory explosions.
  2.  Goal- If explosions happen……….. get them on video.
  3.   Goal - Contribute something back to the scientific community through my research.
  4.   Goal- Don’t procrastinate class work.

Interpersonal- Make a positive impact on someone’s life.  The opportunities RSU has provided, built my skills in such a way that I feel obligated to give back to others. Without the past three years here at RSU I wouldn’t be as confident or prepared for life. In a way RSU gave me the opportunity to be thankful.
  1. Goal- Make a stranger laugh. (Note: I’m not inventing a new weird laugh. I want to make a person I haven’t met laugh.)
  2. Goal- Organize a fundraiser here on campus.
  3. Goal- Use my leadership skills to create a positive difference in the organizations I am a part of.
Peak of the Week- Floating the Illinois with my friends.
Challenge of the Week- Focusing on Calculus Homework
Quote of the Week
               "Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more, believing in yourself. Think of it this way; every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us?"  -Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone is having an excellent week back! Tomorrow, Welcome Week will come to a close. I don't know about you, but I've been super happy to be back. Summer was fantastic, but I'm glad to get back into routine again.

At first, I was skeptical of all the changes this year. I have different professors, a different dorm room, and a brand new dining hall with a new system. However, I have been pleasantly surprised! So far, I love my new professors, my dorm, and the dining hall is a big improvement! I love being able to get fruit and a salad with lunch and dinner everyday. While I'm still tempted to get a brownie and ice cream, I feel like overall the options are much healthier. Plus, there's always enough seating for everyone.

Whether you're a freshmen or a returning student, I'm sure you're facing many changes. At least for me, it can be a bit overwhelming. If this week is making you feel a bit anxious, I'll offer a few tips to help with the transition!

First of all, try to stay in a routine. Even though my class times differ, I try to get up at the same time every morning. This can be challenging. Especially when I'm exhausted and I know I could sleep in another hour, but it will help in the long run. I don't have to change my alarm every night, and even after a few days of waking up at the same time, I wake up a few minutes before my alarm.

Second, try to stay healthy. It can be difficult, but getting enough rest, water, and healthy food can really help you feel less stressed. I always carry a bottle of water in my backpack, and when I eat at the dining hall, I try to get a glass of water instead of soda. The only exception I allow myself is coffee in the morning. Speaking of coffee, it's super important to eat breakfast! Even if I just eat a bagel, I can focus in class much better than on an empty stomach.

Lastly, find comforting things. Personally, it makes me feel much better if I remember to text or call my parents at least once a day. I let them know what's going on at school and hear about home, and it makes me feel a lot less homesick. Also, talking to my roommates or texting my best friend really cheers me up. We exchange stories about our day (happy, sad, and stressful ones!) and everyone can let off a little steam.

Have an excellent first semester!

Gabby G.

Peak of the Week:
Moving back into my dorm and seeing all my friends... on a regular basis!

Challenge of the Week:
When there was a confusion about where our science class and lab were, and a few friends and I ended up awkwardly walking in late. Also, twice this week I found myself walking into the wrong dorm room, thinking it was my friend's.

Quote of the Week:
"I draw because words are too unpredictable.
I draw because words are too limited."
--Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian)

Pic of the Week:

My desk after I decorated! However, I never decorated the rest of my dorm... or finished unpacking. This is the only part of my dorm worth seeing.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Have a Great Summer!

Finals are FINALLY over! Now, everyone will get a chance to relax. Whether you're out for the summer, or having a break before the summer semester starts, you don't need to worry about homework... at least for a little while.

Now is when everyone likes to reflect on the previous school year and feel kind of nostalgic... at least I do! The seniors have presented their capstones, and are now graduating. Having only completed my freshmen year, that seems so far away for me... but I know it will sneak up on me before I know it. From what I've heard, four years go by pretty quickly!

I know this year has certainly gone by fast. It's hard to imagine that only a year ago, I was graduating high school and had absolutely no idea what college was going to be like. I had no idea who my roommates would be, if my classes would be too hard, or if I'd like my professors. Now, it's hard to imagine life away from RSU. I will miss it and all the amazing friends I've made, but I definitely can't wait to catch up on some summer reading, Netflix, and eat lots of snow cones!

Now that finals are over, Kelsey, Austin and I are going home! You won't hear from us for awhile, but we'll be back. Make sure to have an amazing summer! Hopefully, we'll see you around campus in August!

Gabby G.

Peak of the Week:
Getting a chance to start on some FUN reading! (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)

Challenge of the Week:
Having to say goodbye to my AWESOME roommates as we all move out! It's super sad.

Quote of the Week:
"Some infinities are bigger than others." - John Green

Pic of the Week:

A few friends and myself at the Honors Senior Night! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air!

For RSU students, finals are just around the corner! Whether you're Hillcat or still in high school, I'm sure everyone is buried in homework and anxiously awaiting summer. However, that doesn't mean you can't still have a little fun!

Lately, I feel like I can't get enough of the outdoors! Whether it's playing games at Big Things Day, or just taking a walk in the nature reserve, I have been enjoying the good weather whenever I can. In my last post, I talked about when stress is good... but sometimes it gets to be too much! I think this is how everyone starts to feel around finals time. So, if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, here are a few things you can do to relax and take advantage of those sunny days (whether you're on campus, or not!):

  • Grab a book, a journal, or a sketchbook and spend some time in the nature reserve! I love to sit out by the pond and watch the water. You're bound to see turtles, deer, and birds of all shapes and sizes.
  • Play volleyball! Or basketball... or any type of outdoor game! Exercise definitely helps to relieve stress, and it's fun too. 
  • Go take a walk or run around the Claremore lake! Or.... you can be like me, and grab some ice cream and sit on the swings...
  • Spend time with friends! My roommates and I spent Saturday morning shopping, then we spend the rest of the day outside, playing with my roommate's dogs and sitting by the pool. We had a great time!
  • Geocaching! If you haven't heard of it, you should check it out here. It's basically like a treasure hunt.
These are just a few of the ways I like to take some time off, but the possibilities are endless. You should take the time to find out the best way for you! 

Good luck on finals and all end of the year activities! 

Gabby G.

Peak of the Week:
Watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in Cinema. It's one of my favorites and I was really surprised we got to watch it!

Challenge of the Week:
Having to do an impromptu speech in my speech class. We had to take a piece of paper with a category out of a bowl, and then had only five minutes to prepare!

Quote of the Week: 
"I thought girls were supposed to be cleaner than boys, but then I saw their dorms." - Jerry Hogue

Song of the Week:
"Lean on Me" by Bill Withers

Pic of the Week: 

To go with the outdoorsy theme, here is a picture of a few friends and myself right before heading to the Honors/PLC Olympics last Sunday!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stress... but the good kind!

Usually, it's best to avoid stress. You don't want to stretch yourself too thin, but sometimes a little stress isn't a bad thing... as long as it's for the right reasons.

I have a tendency to want to take on WAY more than I can handle. It may seem like a bad idea the nights that I get home from a long day of class, work, and theatre rehearsals at ten or later, only to stay up doing homework, but I can promise you, it's rewarding. I do feel quite stressed from time to time, but I wouldn't trade any of the amazing experiences I've had at RSU for anything! Sometimes it IS worth it to take on a bit more than you thought you could handle.

I think one of the very best examples of this is theatre. Last semester, the very first production I was involved with was Lion in the Winter. I was responsible for purchasing and painting props, and helping out with scene changes during the show. Overall, it didn't seem like a lot of work, but the show happened to be around midterms, and I already had a lot on my plate. I remember it was two of the most stressful weeks of my life! I really regretted committing myself to so much. Then, opening night, I was absolutely terrified. I was sure I would forget how to move the props, or trip and fall in front of the audience while moving things around. I was a nervous wreck! We went through the show, and I did mess up once... BUT it wasn't a disaster. Before I knew it, the final scene came to a close, the actors were going out for the curtain call, everyone was clapping... and it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I had never felt so accomplished and proud of everyone who had helped put the show together! In that moment, I knew it had all been worth it, and I couldn't wait to do it again.

This semester, I remember that moment anytime I feel too overwhelmed. I learned so much through all the experiences I had because of the opportunities I took. I now have even more to do than I did those two weeks that seemed so awful, but this time I know everything will turn out alright! Now, today is the opening night of the first play I've stage managed, Speech and Debate, and it had been MUCH more work than helping with props... but, I know how amazing it will feel when we finish that final scene!

The thing is, you don't have to be in theatre to get that feeling. You just have to find what is meaningful to you, and work hard at it. I have that feeling when I get a good grade on a test I studied hard for, or when I give a tour to someone and can help them learn more about what they're interested in.

Peak of the Week:
Opening night!!!!

Challenge of the Week:
Trying to lower a disco ball and turn on a fog machine at once... and timing it right.

Quote of the Week:
"Hey guys, let's do something crazy." - Hayley Gipson

Song of the Week:
Love Club - Lorde