Student Spotlight: Engaging Your Community With Music

Check out our ELI Student Spotlight, Ronnie who is engaging his community with his musical talents. 

Hi! My name is Ronnie.  Since 2008, I have been a percussionist with the Loudoun County Symphonic Winds (LCSW).  A percussionist is a term for someone who plays different percussion instruments – snare drum, drumset, cymbals, triangle, chimes, etc..  LCSW is a community band that is based in Loudoun County and gives about 6 concerts a year.  The music director is Dr. Gilbert Corella, who retired from the Air Force Band after 25 years of service.  LCSW plays a wide variety of music for the concerts; from John Philip Sousa to Aaron Copland.  Each concert has a theme, and one of my most favorite was the concert where we played music from “space”.  At this concert, we played the music from  Star Wars and Star Trek (2009).

I enjoy playing percussion with LCSW because it is a way for me to bring musical enjoyment to our community doing what I love – play drums!  Its very common that for each piece of music, I play a different percussion instrument, and sometimes different instruments within the same piece of music.  If you would like to learn more about the Loudoun County Symphonic Band and how to get involved, please visit the LCSW website at http://www.lcbandinc.org/.

Are you engaging in your community? Send us an email at elistulife@nvcc.edu to share your story!

 

Happy Earth Month!

Happy Earth Month! With Earth Day being celebrated on April 22nd, we wanted to highlight service opportunities that support environmentally conscious efforts. Check out these great resources where you can find opportunities not only to give back to your community by volunteering, but also being mindful about the future of our planet.

The Nature Conservancy–  This organization is focused on nature conservation all over the world and focuses on the science of how our world works to determine the areas and projects that are in need. View this video to find out more about the mission and vision of the organization: Who We Are &What We Do. On behalf of Earth day, The Nature Conservatory is offering several volunteer opportunities across all 50 states and several countries in the world to help promote the care for our Earth! Visit the site to find out more about a volunteer opportunity near you!

VolunteerMatch.org– Volunteer Match provides a great resource for anyone looking for volunteer and community service opportunities. The reason this site is highlighted is not only due to its large database of opportunities, but also the ability to search virtual volunteer programs as well. Take a look at the site and type “earth day” in the search bar to find several in-person and virtual opportunities to volunteer to promote environmental action and green living.

How are you celebrating Earth Day? Did you know we have been celebrating Earth Day in the U.S. since 1970? We celebrate Earth Day each year to bring attention to peace, justice, and the care of the Earth!

Do you know of any other volunteer opportunities you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Graduation: Ordering Cap and Gown as an Online Student

Are you graduating this Spring 2018 semester? Are you out of the area but are needing to purchase a cap and gown?

If a student does not live near any of the six NOVA bookstores on campus, they may place their order via an order form. Students can email the NOVA bookstore at SM650@BNCollege.com stating they do not live near a NOVA campus and thus would like to email their order. For more information about purchasing items for commencement, students should also contact the above email address.

Here are some FAQ’s for graduating students:

-Commencement will be held in the month of May at Jiffy Lube Live; 7800 Cellar Door Dr, Bristow, VA 20136. The doors close once the ceremony begins; no graduates will be admitted after that time. Students and their guests are asked to conduct themselves appropriately for this most important occasion and to remain in their seats until the conclusion of the ceremony.

-Your diploma or certificate will be mailed up to three months after the last day of the semester to the address listed in your student record. Please make sure your address is current in the system before the last day of the semester you intend to graduate.

-You will receive only one diploma for each degree or certificate you earn. The College will reissue diplomas in cases of natural disaster (such as fire or tornado), printing error or name changes resulting from gender reassignment.

For more FAQ visit our NOVA Graduation webpage.

The Power of Appreciation

A survey conducted by Red Balloon for Corporate revealed that praise is the number one element employees desire to experience a good day at work! Although the survey was directed at professionals in the workplace, the outcomes can also be applied to the elements of a good day/experience in college.

Who can argue ‘praise’ as the number one element of experiencing a good day at work or college? Praise serves to motivate and encourage! Who does not love to get back an assignment with a comment stating, ‘excellent work’ or ‘you have an excellent understanding of the material we’ve been covering’? Likewise, we also feel proud and motivated when our supervisor provides praise for a job well done!

The survey went on to suggest ‘better managers’ as the number two element of experiencing a good day at work. Who wouldn’t want a supervisor that provides accolades and takes time to explain our role and consistently expresses appreciation? As a student, you may be able to parallel the role of a supervisor to the role of your professor. When we have a caring professor that provides plenty of praise and encouragement and takes time to ensure that new concepts and theories are clearly understood, we are motivated and inspired to study and do our best. Alternatively, if you have a professor or supervisor that promotes a culture of criticism, fails to provide direction and does not recognize your efforts and contributions, you will feel frustrated and may become apathetic in your class or job.

The number three element identifies, ‘more time with friends and family’ as important to workplace happiness and avoiding burnout. As employees and students, we all appreciate flexibility and opportunities to attend to family and friends. Likewise, if an emergency arises, we appreciate having a professor or supervisor that will be sensitive to our needs when emergency situations require our time. (To that end, as employees and students, we also have a role in staying on top of assignments and work deadlines so that when a need arises, we are prepared.)

Lastly, ‘greater trust’ is recognized as an important element to a good work experience. As a student, trust is also an extremely important factor to experiencing success and happiness. Recognizing that our instructor trusts our opinions and contributions also builds confidence and respect.

Do you experience these elements in your class? As we see the parallel, we can begin to appreciate how college can prepare us with experiences to transition from life as a student to the life of a professional. Along with theories and content, life lessons can be learned in the classroom. When a professor (or supervisor) fails to promote the elements referenced in this survey; you must believe in yourself and make the best of your environment so that you can bloom where you are planted! When you do experience these elements, learn from them and begin to live them out to encourage others!

DARING TO DECLINE: KNOWING WHEN TO SAY NO TO A JOB OFFER

by Samantha McGurgan

Congratulations—you got the offer! This is cause for a celebration! Except…why are you experiencing the sinking feeling of dread? You may feel obligated to accept the offer because you already invested so much time and effort in getting to this point, and starting over takes So. Much. Work. You might be thinking:

Is it ok if I say no? 
Who says no in this economy?
How do I even determine if it’s not right for me?

As someone who has said no to few offers over the years, I understand how uncomfortable and scary it is to say no to a perfectly good offer on paper. And I can also attest to the fact that I have never regretted saying no to job that didn’t feel right, and only have regretted saying yes. Here are a few questions to ponder through this decision-making process:

1.) How does your body feel? Stop analyzing, over-thinking, second-guessing, and Googling for the answer. Check in with your body: what is your gut telling you? Listen to it. Unapologetically. It’s never wrong. It’s normal to have a bit of nerves when facing a new challenge or embarking on new territory. But there’s a difference between distress (unhealthy) and eustress (healthy). Get to know how your body reacts to negative and positive stress by reflecting on the last time you experienced something of each type—how did it feel? How do those two experiences compare?

For me, I feel depleted, tired, and unconsciously withdraw when experiencing distress. I clench my teeth. Deep down I know it’s not right, but I run over it repeatedly in my mind trying to find a way to make it work. My husband says: You just got an offer—why aren’t we celebrating?

Conversely, I feel charged up, energetic, and motivated when faced with the possibility of a new and exciting challenge (aka a job I actually want). I feel inspired. I literally jump for joy after getting the call that I’ve been selected as the top candidate. I feel like everything was worth it after all.

Bottom line: If the offer doesn’t make you feel good, this is a warning sign. It’s worth it to wait for the job that won’t make you want to quit after three months.

2.) Are you running toward the finish line or being chased by wolves? Both of these instances involve quick, forward momentum. The difference lies within the motivation. My first question is always: Do you want the job or are you afraid that it’s your only option?

There are currently more job openings in the United States than people who are unemployed. The culture of scarcity that has been drilled into us since the Great Recession doesn’t reflect the reality of the job market. Given that you are qualified for the role you are seeking, wait for the job that will provide a sustainable opportunity for career growth, rather than accept the first one that comes along (if it’s not truly what you want).

Many of my graduating seniors who are in the midst of their first job plan on accepting a position as a safety net with the intent to keep looking for a better option. I ask them to think deeply about what is lacking in the opportunity, decline the offer, and seek one that is a better fit.

This doesn’t mean don’t accept an entry-level position. This means don’t settle for something okay when you could have something even better if you’d only waited another month or two. Or six. And don’t accept an offer with the intention to bail when something better comes up.

Bottom line: You’re going to find a job. Trust in that. And aim high. Do you really want to go through the interview process any time soon anyway? If you’re already planning to quit before a year or two, decline the offer.

3.) What do you want your life to look like?

If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself lying awake at night asking the Internet for a glimmer of hope or a strategy to make a non-ideal offer work with my life.

Ok Google: Is there a way to spend a two-hour commute that won’t make me angry and hateful?

I’m exaggerating, but the answer is no. For me. Because I have a family, and I know the excitement of a new role would quickly wear off after spending 12 hours each day away from home. Other people I’ve spoken to don’t mind their commute at all because they love their job so much. The question to ponder is, how will this job affect the rest of my life and therefore my happiness? How does this position relate to my ultimate goal? There are going to be sacrifices. Let’s make the sacrifices worthwhile.

Bottom line: The more you know yourself and your goals, the better you can discern if the position is right within the context of your life as a whole.

Samantha McGurgan is a career counselor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and college success adjunct at Cuesta College. Her greatest moments of joy involve expanding the career horizons of first generation students and supporting military-connected students in their transition to civilian careers. She holds an M.A. in education, with a specialization in counseling and guidance in student affairs from Cal Poly SLO, and a B.S. in human ecology from The Ohio State University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Do I Have the Time?

Do you know where your time goes? It seems that the older you get, the more responsibilities are put on you. Take this brief quiz via Virginia Tech’s website to determine just how much time you have to dedicate to your studies. If the time left over is not equivalent to at least twice the number of credits you are enrolled in, you do not have enough time allotted for your studies.  But, there are things you can do; such as reducing the time spent on some activities/responsibilities, adjusting your work hours, or adjusting the number of credits you take in a semester.

When one can’t reduce their time on activities or responsibilities or work; that leaves the number of credits one should take in a semester. Many students I talk with want to be able to do it all – work full-time, go to college full-time, take care of their family, etc. Course load is often the only factor that can be manipulated; but students do not want to delay their educational goals. This is certainly admirable; but, if one does not have enough time to complete their course work accurately and on-time, and study effectively for exams; one’s grades will suffer and it can take longer to reach your goals.

So, I encourage you to take the quiz and see where your time goes. Do you have enough time in the week to dedicate to your studies? Are you using the time efficiently? Or do you find you do not have enough time? What can you reduce or eliminate from your schedule to make more time? Watch the Time Management: Strategies for Success video by StudentLingo to obtain some great tips on managing your time effectively!

-Written by ELI Counselor, Kim Burkle

Advising Week 101 Wrap up

That’s a wrap for our Advising Week blog series, but that doesn’t mean it’s over! Still have questions about summer or fall registration? Let us know!

Take some time to reflect on what you have learned this week. Go back and review past posts to dig a little deeper. Missed any of the live sessions? Request a recording.

Here are a few tips to help you move forward:

Use the Student Success Planner to build your academic plan and compare your plan to program requirements.

Take a moment to facilitate a time study. Summer sessions will run at an accelerated pace, so make sure you are planning your schedule around the shorter session length availability. For fall, you have different options for session length (16, 12, or 8 weeks). Make sure you have enough time to devote to the courses you take on. What has worked in the past? What hasn’t worked? Check out StudentLingo and ELI webinars on time management.

Review your Advisement Report. Access NOVAConnect to run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.

Take a moment to reflect upon your career planning. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan. Go back and review past blog posts to help you Focus on Career Planning, and take advantage of Free Job Search Tools!

Communicate with your advisor about your academic and career goals. Be sure to take a moment to review your plans for both the summer term (registration is occurring now) and the fall semester. Plan to have your academic plan,  advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with your advisor.

If you have not declared a program of study or are not pursuing a specific program at NOVA connect with an academic counselor or advisor for assistance.

Ready to enroll? Follow this tutorial to help you add your courses in NOVA Connect.

Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

 

Getting Ready for Next Semester

Are you in the process of selecting courses and planning your schedule for the summer term or fall semester?  Do you have questions about what to take next?    If you answered yes to either question, consider joining us this afternoon at 12:15 pm for a Getting Ready for your Next Semester webinar.

This 45 minute webinar for NOVA students will focus on answering key questions students have about preparing for their next semester.  Topics covered will include program identification, course selection, college resources, schedule planning, and registration/payment tips.  The webinar is free; however, registration is required.  Learn more and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q1v98s7j0o4822k/.

Advising Week 101

Advising Week is offered every fall and spring at NOVA as a time for students to reflect upon their academic goals and career development in preparation for planning and evaluating their schedule for next semester. Advising week for Summer and Fall 2018 will be held this week – April 2 – 7.

Get the most out of Advising Week by following the steps below:

  1. Attend the Advising Week Webinar Series: Getting Ready for Your Next Semester webinar will be held on Wednesday, April 4 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm. Learn more about the webinar and register for the session.
  2. Use the Student Success Planner to build your academic plan and compare your plan to program requirements.
  3. Review your Advisement Report.  Access NOVAConnect to run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.
  4. Take a moment to reflect upon your career planning. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan consider contacting our career counselor at elicounselors@nvcc.edu
  5. Communicate with your advisor about your academic and career goals.  Be sure to take a moment to review your plans for the spring semester. Plan to have your academic plan,  advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with your advisor.

If you have not declared a program of study or are not pursuing a specific program at NOVA connect with an academic counselor or advisor for assistance. Open registration for the summer 2018 term began on Tuesday, March 27.  Priority registration for continuing NOVA students for the fall 2018 semester begins Monday, April 2.

This Advising Week Series will focus on academic planning, connecting with your advisor, and preparing for your upcoming terms. Throughout Advising Week the ELI Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the process. Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.