Midterms: Teacher Edition

By: Isaiah Silva

Students are usually the ones who pop into everyone’s minds when the word midterm comes up. Other words that may come up are: time management, stress, and sleep. On the other hand, professors go through he same time management, stress, and sleep deprivation.

Professor Ana Lourdes is an Assistant Professor in the Journalism & Mass Communications Department and is going nonstop all semester

“Well, I am a very busy person because in the morning I get up and I have my breakfast, I feed my dog and my cat and I do everything I need to do at home, then I drive here. I commute from El Paso everyday. I teach my classes,” Professor Cardenas said, “Then when I finish my classes I try to grade some of the assignments,”

Professor Cardenas went on to explain that she is teaching two classes, which entails grading and preparing materials for each class. She will also be teaching a mini-mester class that will begin next week.

In addition, she is on track to become tenured at the university, so she has a lot of research to do. She is also a freelance journalist and has stories that need to get written.

As if that isn’t enough, she is taking an online class. She is studying the US-Mexico border. The class is a yearlong.

“It’s a one year certificate. It’s a lot of work, so I have to watch a lot of videos. I have to read papers and write my own papers,” Professor Cardenas said.

Like students, Professor Cardenas needs to keep her time management skills as sharp as possible. When she returns home, she has to walk her dog and then prepare her classes for the next day.

“It’s really a busy, busy semester. You know every semester is busy. I try to organize my life, I create my compartments. From 8 to 2, I do this; from 9 to 10, I do this, and that’s it, I usually go to bed at like 11 or 12,” Professor Cardenas said.

         When it comes to grading, Professor Cardenas deals with a lot of writing which can be time consuming. She said that she grades her assignments little by little in order to keep herself on track and keep her stress levels low.

“When I get an assignment I just start grading because otherwise it’s horrible when you accumulate those [assignments],” Cardenas said.

“For grading it really depends on the class. In the writing classes you spend a lot of time because of that. I mean you review the lead, the grammar, punctuation, AP Style, if the story makes sense, if the story doesn’t make sense, so then you have to write your comments and then send it back to the student,” Professor Cardenas said.

Professors have a lot on their plate even during spring break. Professor Cardenas will utilize her time to work as much as possible in order to alleviate some of the work that she has to get done before classes start up again.

“For this spring break, I have a lot of work. I have to prepare for an online class that I’m teaching for the first time, so it’s going to be a lot of work, and teaching an online class requires a different organization,” she said, “I have to write some stories and I’m trying to use this spring break to catch up with my research because I have been postponing some things that I need to do.”

The difficult thing now is choosing whether to push responsibilities to the side and have fun, or catch up on work in order to make things easier. For Professor Cardenas, she chooses to get ahead.

Constructing

By: Isaiah Silva

The Las Cruces Rotary Club recently gave NMSU’s College of Engineering a gift of nearly $128,000.

The donation was made to benefit the Alec and Margaret Hood Memorial Scholarship. The Las Cruces Rotary Club has now given NMSU more than $2 million.

During the men’s basketball game on February 4, 2017, Rotary President Christopher Dulany, former president Alex Keatts and Bill Harty presented a check to the NMSU Foundation and Chancellor, Garrey Carruthers.

“We are extremely grateful to receive such a generous gift from the Rotary Club of Las Cruces to support our students,” Lakshmi Reddi, College of Engineering Dean, said.

The Alec and Margaret Hood Memorial Scholarship was created in 1980. The scholarship awards and recognizes engineering students at New Mexico State with a GPA higher than 3.0. According to Bill Hardy, Rotary Club Treasurer, Alec Hood had an interest in mechanics and engineering. Through his will, he established the scholarship that has helped and will help engineering students.

“The Alec and Margaret Hood Scholarship has already benefited the lives of numerous students since 1985 and will now support more deserving students for many years to come,” Dean Reddi said.

A rotary club is a group of volunteers that want to help the community. According to lascrucesrotary.org, they “build, support, and organize. We save lives. We work locally and globally.” Thus, keeping true to their slogan, “Service before Self.” They devote a lot of their time being selfless and helping those in need. There are more than 1.2 million Rotarians around the world.

Rotarians get involved with their communities, connect with other professionals, share time and experiences with young people, support global causes, and use their skills to help others.

The Las Cruces Rotary Club was founded in 1923. Since then, it has kept its relationship with NMSU tight. Many of the buildings on campus are named after club members.

Alec Hood was a World War I veteran, owned a business in Las Cruces, and was a long time member of the Las Cruces Rotary Club. His wife, Margaret Hood was a journalist. She was also wrote mystery novels.

“We are exceptionally pleased to be able to increase our support of university students in honor of Alec C. Hood’s long and dedicated service to Rotary and our community,” Bill Harty said.

It is thanks to the selflessness of others that many students will get to further their education. For information on the Las Cruces Rotary Club, visit lascrucesrotary.org.

Geology Rocks

By: Isaiah Silva

A majority of faculty in the Geological Sciences Department at NMSU has been awarded National Science Foundation grants within the last year and a half, which adds up to more than $250,000.

Continue reading “Geology Rocks”

Elena Davidson: Computing Her Future

By: Isaiah Silva

Before her junior year of high school, Elena Davidson had many different ideas of what she wanted to do in the future. She toyed with the idea of being a lawyer, a teacher, and even an engineer, just to name a few. Once summer came, all of those ideas went flying out of the window.

“There’s a camp here at New Mexico State University called the Young Women in Computing Summer camp and when I was a sophomore in high school, my mom and an AES facilitator sort of ganged up on me and forced me to do the computer science camp,” Elena said.

Now a sophomore at NMSU majoring in Computer Science, Elena says that thanks to that camp, she knows it is what she wants to do for the rest of her life.

“I thought computer science was going to be hard; I thought it was going to be boring. I thought it was going to be scary. I thought I wasn’t going to be good at it, but they said to just go and try it, and I went for one week and I absolutely fell in love with computer science,”

The decision to pursue Computer Science as a career has really paid off for Elena. Elena is one of the recipients of the Conroy Achievement Scholarship.

“My graduating class year is the first year that it was awarded to anyone. Basically you don’t have to apply, it’s pretty cool. In high school you were designated as a National Merit or National Hispanic Recognition scholar, you are eligible for this scholarship,” she said, “It’s an incredible scholarship because not only does it provide you with financial help and pays for your tuition and it gives you a housing stipend, it gives you this really unique network of other Conroy scholars that you get to hang out with and talk with.”

In addition to receiving her scholarship, Elena believes that NMSU has had a big impact on her success and opportunities. Elena started at a different, much larger university. She was there for one semester, decided to transfer to NMSU, and does not regret the decision one bit.

“About halfway through that semester, I realized that wasn’t the university for me, it wasn’t the right feel and it just wasn’t the right fit for me. So, I called my mom, I think around Halloween and I told her I was transferring and I would see her in December.”

Since arriving at New Mexico State, Elena said her whole perspective on college and how it should be changed. Here she found a community that was inviting and welcoming.

“College all the sudden was challenging and it was fun. There was never a dull moment. It was exciting and engaging. There’s definitely days where it’s difficult and it’s challenging, and I mean its not easy, but its hand down the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” Elena said.

One thing Elena loves about NMSU is how personal her education has been. She says that her professors know their students by name and what they’re involved in.

“The CS Department at New Mexico State is wonderful. The professors know you by name and talk to you in the hallways, and they really want you to succeed. They’re willing to meet with you one on one to make sure you understand everything,” Elena said.

“I have to include Dr. Chaiken in there. I’ve never had one of her classes but she’s just been so supportive. Whatever question I have whether its some little question about housing, or something big like my stipend isn’t showing up on mynmsu, she always responds to me super quickly. She knows all her students by name, what they’re involved in, she’s incredible. She’s honestly like a superhero.”

Elena continued on to praise her professors such as Dr. Cooper. She has had two classes with him and she says he is very big on getting to know his students. He in encouraging and helps students on things that will help them after college such as resumes.

“He’s not just a professor, he wants his students to succeed not only in his class, but in college,” Elena said.

“If I had to include one more, I would have to do Daniela Miranda. She’s just been so encouraging and so supportive. Whatever I needed whether it was a letter of recommendation or a quick question about a workshop, she always got back to me really quickly. She was one of the first people to tell me to go for it when I’m questioning whether or not I should try something.”

Elena’s support system doesn’t stop there. Her family has been there for her every step of the way.

“I cannot speak highly enough about them [friends and family]. They have been the most incredible support team for me. My dad would stay up with me to help me study for a physics test and my mom would proofread my English essays, so they’ve always encouraged me,” she continued, “My little sister is incredible too. She called me her role model once and I think I teared up honestly. She’s my best friend.”

“All my friends have just been so supportive. I don’t even know how to word it beyond encouraging and supportive,” Elena said.

When looking to her future, Elena has many big plans and she says she would not be where she is within the field of Computer Science without NMSU.

“It was because of the Young Women in Computing organization that I even got the scholarship to attend the conference where I got the interview with Google, so without that

whole spiral of events I wouldn’t have the internship that I do. Not only that, but NMSU is a very involved community. They allow you to get involved really early in your college career which can kind of be uncommon at other universities. The CS department has given me incredible skills,” Elena said.

Elena was given an internship with Google for the summer of 2017. In late May, Elena will journey to Google’s head office in Mountain View, California. She will be participating in their engineering practicum internship.

“I’m crazy excited for that because it’s super hard to get into Google. I’m still in disbelief. It’s just an amazing, surreal opportunity.”

Also in Elena’s future, is a hope for happiness. Of course, she wants to graduate, hopefully with Honors, but above all to enjoy herself and be happy with whatever position she finds herself in.

“During the first semester where I was at the university where I wasn’t happy, it taught me that instead of planning everything out like I had before, it’s more important to have a direction rather than a step-by-step plan,” she said, “You can have goals and achieve them along the way, but I think it’s important to remember that the direction is the most important part and realizing that it’s life and plans change.”

“You’re not defined by your GPA, or that one test grade, it’s all part of your journey, so just kind of embrace it. Life’s fun and messy and wonderful so just go with it,” Elena said.

With all of her achievements, it’s hard to believe Elena is in her second year of college. She is a role model Aggie with a lot of potential.

Why Is Winter Break So Long?

By: Isaiah Silva

Classes have begun once again at NMSU, and it seems as if students and faculty are more motivated to make their spring semester better than the fall. A new semester often instills a new excitement and drive in students.

It will be a while before we have to worry about midterms or even finals, but students are not choosing to sit back and relax. Many have said that they are more motivated to do better this semester which includes studying more, and trying and raise their GPA’s.

“When I come back from the summer, I’m still in summer, but whenever I come back from the fall I’m always more motivated to do better than I did that first semester” Tessa Zayas, a sophomore at NMSU, said.

Many students could say that the fall semester gets a little bit tough, especially with Thanksgiving Break being so late in the semester. This could lead to grades dropping and potentially even confidence sinking.

“I just come into spring with more motivation like, ‘Get better grades than I did in the fall’,” Blake Lowary, a sophomore studying Journalism, said.

Typically, in high schools, students only get about two weeks off for winter break, but how did we get so lucky as to get a break that lasts five weeks? According to Slate Magazine, we owe it to the energy crisis of the Carter era. It ultimately became a way to reduce spending.

During the 1970s, many institutions found themselves in some financial troubles and it was predicted that as much as a fourth of the colleges would have to shut down. Extending the break helped alleviate heating costs at a time where oil prices were really high.

In the past, there were also other calendars that universities would follow. An agricultural calendar that centered around harvest times, or a religious calendar, are some examples.

Many universities make the most out of their time on break. Some will rent out their facilities for conferences, meetings, etc. Sometimes staff are furloughed during break in order to help save some money.

As crazy as it may seem, some students believe that a shorter break would benefit students more than having such a long break.

“I like a longer break, but I think academically, I think it [the break] should be shorter because we lose focus on what we’re doing,” Zayas said, “So, I definitely think it should be shorter.”

For students, going into your second semester may be tough. Fortunately, there are many students who are willing to help out with the transition from the fun of winter break into the obligations of a new semester.

“Do what you did in the first semester, just learn from your mistakes, and improve on what you think you did wrong. If you don’t think you studied enough during the fall, study harder in the spring” Lowary said.

“I think especially for the freshmen that are coming in and they’re going into their second semester and they’re all scared, I think that they should just know that its always tough your second semester,” Zayas said, “When you come back from break, its really throughout you just have to keep yourself motivated and remember why you’re getting your degree in the first place.”

The effects of break will be felt for some time, which is understandable. Students should always remember that college is a very rewarding experience, despite having to do their fair share of waiting.

The Season of Finals is Upon Us

By: Luis “Luigi” Finston

Tis’ the season to be stressed. Finals are here and the moment to “show what you know” from the semester has arrived. With classes wrapping up, everyone is in a mindset of completing everything before it’s late.

Students run around trying to accumulate any last minute extra credit opportunities and seeing if their professors will allow any submissions of previous work. At this point grades stand where they are, but anything to raise a percentage is something that anybody would like to obtain.

Tests are the stuff of nightmares. The average student doesn’t go to class and loves taking a final. And let’s be honest. Tests are stressful. According to the NMSU Student Success Center, 20 percent of college students have moderate cases of test anxiety, enough to lower their GPA by one full point.

There are many symptoms of Test Anxiety. Some of these include worrying about the test a week in advance, having trouble concentrating on studying, panic attacks when being timed or under pressured, waiting until the last moment to complete something, and having a rapid heartbeat, nausea, or dizziness.

The cause of Test Anxiety varies depending on the person but a few causes may be having a fear of failure, an excessive need to please people, setting high-expectations for yourself, being an over-achiever, or having moments of self-doubt or low self-esteem.

Every student on campus is feeling some type of pressure or worry about finals week. There are strategies and ways to cope with Test Anxiety though. Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

For example, you can use the approach from the centering technique; say three things you see, say three things you hear, say three things you feel (physically). Breathing and stretching exercises such as deep breathing, bending, doing the windmill, and purifying breath are also encouraged.

The Center for Academic Success in Hardman and Jacobs, offers students a unique approach on tips for taking tests. According to the Undergraduate Learning Center there are multiple choice questions, matching questions, true/false question, sentence completion questions, and essay questions.

books.pngAnd there are ways to break up these types of tests into sections so it does not become too overwhelming. In the example of Multiple Choice Questions there is a four-way method of approaching the question:

-Do all the Questions that you know first, then go back to the ones that you don’t know.

– Use key words to help you determine the answer

– Read all possible answers before you answer

– Use the process of elimination

In the end, finals are something which should not be taken lightly. Finals affect grades dramatically. But it’s a strategy to not get overworked and upset about the outcome. The main focus is to try the best that you can with the knowledge that you have obtained and previously knew to knockout the exams.

For more information on the NMSU Student Success Center, Please Visit Room 128 at the Hardman and Jacobs Learning Center or visit ssc.nmsu.edu or call 575-646-3136