Amber’s Recap on Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break – Roanoke, VA 

Amber Dunn is an online student working towards a degree in Film Studies. She shares her experience spending Spring break with Student Life in order to volunteer and give back to the community!

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Spring Break. A time to catch up with your friends. Maybe you and your besties hop in the car and go on a road trip. Or, your family might decide to soak up some sun rays on the beach. Whatever you do, you are having fun. Making memories with the people you hold close to your heart. Would you ever consider spending Spring Break with people you didn’t know? I’m talking about complete. Strangers. Would you be willing to spend Spring Break working? How would you feel if part of your Spring Break was spent getting dirty?

I was a little hesitant when the words “Alternative Spring Break” popped up on my screen. I thought, ”spend part of my time doing labor!” My best friend, Heather, convinced me. She exclaimed “Come on! It will be fun!” I decided “More time with my best friend, why not.”

The night before I left for the trip I was contemplating attending. At the time I was enrolled in an online course, and had a ton of work due plus an exam. I was worried I was not going to be able to finish the assignments, and adequately study. Then I reflected on the past month. I spent the entire month writing essays, and applying for what felt like 100 universities! I told myself, “you need this break.” The next morning, I was on my way to Roanoke, VA.

I did not except my life to be impacted within the three days. The first day we helped clean Mt. Zion AME church and settled in. The second day we helped Roanoke Rescue Mission. We helped package and give out food to families in need. It was a life changing experience because the quality of the food was superior. I have helped give back to families in need before, and the food these families typically received was non-perishables. The food Roanoke Rescue Mission gave out to their community in need was perishable and non-perishable. Food that had quality. Plus, they also provided dog or cat food. I was blown away by the food the community received. It was food with love.

Later in the day we went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. While we were there we helped clean the store, rearrange books, and move shelves. The best part was learning about the mission of Habitat for Humanity, and hearing about the lives it has changed through ReStore.

The last day we spent going to church for six hours. You read it correctly. Church, for six hours. Now, now. You are probably thinking, “Church? Six hours?” I know, I know. It was wonderful. The reason we attended Church was to experience a different element. Personally, attending Church spoke to me. Spring Break was at a time, two years ago I applied for nine universities. I was devastated my applications did not turn out the way I envisioned it. I did get accepted into one school, Spelman University, but I couldn’t attend due to a promise I made to myself over eight years ago. I promised myself I would graduate college debt free.

As I sat in Church I reflected upon how I improved since then. I made tremendous progress. I saw how all the rejections came together and led me in a better direction. After Church we went back to the Rescue Mission to help serve food to homeless families. One thing I noticed as I served these families was how polite and thankful they were. It warmed my heart when people looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank you. God Bless.” I could feel the sincerity behind their words.

Once we were done serving Pastor Ziglar took us on a mini-tour of the city. We drove to The Roanoke Star. As we approached the star we witnessed a breath-taking view of the city, and its life.

After we gathered our breaths, we grabbed ice cream and headed back to Mt. Zion. The next morning it was time to depart. By the conclusion of the trip I got to know my trip members better and see a new community. In fact, I was bummed the trip wasn’t an entire week. It felt amazing giving back and meeting new people. If you are ever given the chance between Spring Break or ALTERNATIVE Spring Break, take the latter. You never know how your life might change.

Amber Dunn aed2543@email.vccs.edu

Mango Languages – A Free Online Resource

Did you know you have access to Mango Languages, a fun & interactive language-learning software? Log in with your VCCS email, then you can use Mango Languages online or via mobile apps for Apple & Android.

Languages available include English, Spanish, Japanese, Farsi (Persian), Arabic (Modern Standard, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Levantine), and even Pirate! For a full list, see https://learn.mangolanguages.com/welcome/language/all

Brought to you by NOVA Libraries.

Advising Week Comes to an End – Let’s Review

As advising week comes to an end, now is a good time to reflect on the week and the progress you are making towards achieving your academic and career goals.  At the beginning of the week you were encouraged to do the following:

  1.  Reflect on your academic and career goals.
  2.  Review your Advisement Report.
  3. Communicate with an advisor about your academic and career goals.
  4. Put courses you plan to take in your shopping cart in NOVA Connect so you will have the specific information needed when it’s time to register.
  5. Participate in the NOVA Online Spring 2019 lunchtime webinar series.

How did the week go?  Are you ready for your next semester or term?  Remember, NOVA offers many services and resources to support you.  Take a moment and review past blog posts to learn more.

As you move forward, below are some deadlines to keep in mind.

Registration

  • In progress for current students for Summer 2019 and Fall 2019.
  • Registration for any semester/term ends at 11:59 pm on the day prior to a session start date.

Payment

Summer 2019

  • If you enroll through April 22 payment is due by 5 pm on April 23 or your classes may be dropped.
  • If you enroll on April 23 or later payment is due by 5 pm the next business day after you enroll or your classes may be dropped.

Fall 2019

  • If you enroll through July 28 payment is due by 5 pm on July 29 or your classes may be dropped.
  • If you enroll on July 29 or later payment is due by 5 pm the next business day after you enroll or your classes may be dropped.

Information about payment methods is available at https://www.nvcc.edu/payment/methods/index.html.

Student Support Resources

As you are working to finalize your schedule, now is a good time to be sure you are aware of the variety of resources and services NOVA offers to support your academic success and well being.

As a NOVA Online student there are a variety of resources you can access to support you in your academic success without ever stepping foot on a campus!

Smarthinking– is free online tutoring available in variety of content areas.

Hoonuit– provides short, easy-to-view tutorials give you just-in-time answers to your “How do I do that?” software questions.

Student Lingo– provides video resources to overcome barriers to academic success, and help students reach their personal, academic, and professional goals.

Library Services-gives access to dedicated library services for students in online courses.

Take advantage of live and recorded webinars produced by NOVA Online staff with topics that can support you during the various critical points of the semester.

As a student you also have access to a wealth of technology resources that range from free software and cloud services, to Google Apps and even wireless discounts!

Sometimes life happens, making balancing personal and academic commitments difficult. The Financial Stability Program offers resources, services and referrals to help you gain academic traction through financial stability.

As the semester gets busy, make sure you are taking time to take care of yourself! Check out these blog articles for suggestions on how to focus on your emotional and physical wellness through self care even in times of stress. NOVA Cares can provide additional referrals to on and off campus resources to help support you.

Also be sure to take advantage of NOVA Online Student Success Coaches who are available to provide one on one support with stress management, study and test taking skills, time management and can make referrals for resources, services and tools that will best support you in your academic success. Please reach out by sending an email to onlinesuccess@nvcc.edu.

What resources have been most valuable to you as a NOVA student? Let us know in the comments!

Are Your Career Plans in Focus?

As you plan your schedule for your next term/semester, prepare to transfer, or get ready to begin a new job take a moment to focus on your career development.  Are you attending NOVA to pursue a certificate or degree, but unsure about what career options might be available to you? Have you decided on a major, but have difficulty answering the question – “What can I do with a major in _____?

Do you need to fine tune your skills or add to your skill set in preparation for a career change? Learn more about career options by utilizing FOCUS 2, an online interactive self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/major based on your interests and aspirations
  •  Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

FOCUS 2 is free for NOVA students.   Learn more about and access the system at NOVA’s Career Services website.

Don’t forget, in addition to daily blog posts, NOVA Online is offering a lunchtime webinar series this week focusing on topics to help you with preparing for your next semester.  All webinars are thirty minutes and begin at 12:15 pm.  Learn more about the series and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q16k19iv1fjyzmb/

 

Three Reasons to Communicate with an Advisor

It’s Advising Week – an excellent time to connect with an advisor.  Here are three reasons why –

  1. Confirm the program of study you are pursing aligns with your academic and career goals.

What are your academic goals?  What are your career goals?  Share these goals with an advisor.  Indicate the program of study you are pursuing.  Discuss whether or not the program identified is an appropriate choice to support you with achieving your goals.  Discuss your plan for achieving your goals.  Don’t have a plan – work with your advisor on developing one.

  1. Review your academic performance.

How are you doing in your courses?  Are you making appropriate progress towards earning your certificate or degree or completing courses for the reason(s) you are attending NOVA?  Through NOVA Connect, students can view their grades and an advisement report.  The report indicates requirements that have and have not been satisfied for a certificate/degree of interest.  It also indicates courses that can be used to satisfy program requirements.  Prior to enrolling in courses each semester it is a good idea to review your report.  Confirm the report indicates the correct certificate/degree.  Review requirements and check the progress you are making towards completion.  If you have questions about the program, concerns about grades, or any of the information provided on the report – share questions and discuss concerns with an advisor.

  1. Identify challenges you have encountered and discuss solutions to address the challenges.

How would you describe this semester?  Are you earning the grades you intended to earn?  Are you making steady progress towards completion of a certificate/degree?  Are you making progress towards achieving your goals?  NOVA offers many services and resources to support students.  Communicate with an advisor about the challenges you are or have encountered.  An advisor can work with you to address challenges, connect you to appropriate resources, and provide referrals when appropriate.

Refer to the following website for information on how to connect with an advisor: https://www.nvcc.edu/advising/my-advisor.html.

Don’t forget, in addition to daily blog posts, NOVA Online is offering a lunchtime webinar series this week focusing on topics to help you with preparing for your next semester.  All webinars are thirty minutes and begin at 12:15 pm.   Learn more about the series and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q16k19iv1fjyzmb/

Advising Week is Here!

 

 

 

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.

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

  1. Reflect on your academic and career goals. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan visit NOVA’s Career Services website.
  2. Review your Advisement Report. The report indicates requirements that have and have not been satisfied for a certificate/degree of interest. It also indicates courses that can be used to satisfy program requirements.
  3. Communicate with an advisor about your academic and career goals. If you are pursuing a certificate or degree check with your advisor to make sure you are pursuing a program of study that aligns with your goals. Also make certain the program of study listed on your advisement report is the program of study you are pursuing.   It is a good idea to have a copy of your academic plan, advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with an advisor.
  4. Put courses you plan to take in your shopping cart in NOVA Connect so you will have the specific information needed when it’s time to register. Registration for the summer term is in progress.  Priority registration for the Fall semester begins on April 1.  Open registration for the Fall semester begins on May 1.
  5. Participate in the NOVA Online Spring 2019 lunchtime webinar series. See below for the webinar schedule.  The webinars will begin at 12:15 pm EST and end at 12:45 pm.
    • Getting Ready for Your Next Semester – Tuesday, April 2
    •  What Can I Do With a Program of Study In . . .? – Wed., April 3
    • Support Services and Resources for Students – Thurs., April 4

Learn more and register at

https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q16k19iv1fjyzmb/.

Throughout Advising Week the NOVA Online Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions.  Programs to support you will also be offered across the College. Take advantage of Advising Week events online as well as on campus as you plan your schedule and prepare to register for courses.

Becoming a Leader in Group Projects

Check out this week’s Student Spotlight blog post  from Monica Lizarazo. Monica is an international student studying English. Group projects are never easy, but stepping up to take a leadership role within your group can be very rewarding. Monica shares three concepts that spark successful group leadership. 

Becoming a Leader in Group Projects

We all want to be a leader at some point in our lives, and it may be more important to want to be a leader while in college. You feel you need to lead group projects, participate a lot in your classes, explain lectures to other classmates or listen to your teacher, hey! Great job. All of these are signs you are loving that course. Thus, do not stop or get frustrated because your group does not work as well as you would like. Remember, leadership could be harder when you share different cultures, ages, and backgrounds. The key is to train your native leader to manage team-work based on three concepts: empathy, problem-solving, and synergistic communication.

If you are already in charge of a group, the first step you should study is empathy. This skill means to approach to the others’ thoughts; colloquially, being in others´ shoes. Consider that a project´s success will not be measured by the number of directions you could give to your classmates. This depends on how understanding you can be with them because they struggle as much as you do, but; you are their leader. Think in some questions such as who is my group? What are their other roles? Do they work or are they only students? Are they Americans or from another country? What are their majors? As much as you know your partners, you will get good ideas about their capacity and interest in the project to do the best team-work.

Besides understanding your team, if something falls on the way, you should never blame someone. You make them work together to figure out possible solutions, you are the problem solver. One more question is, ask yourself in silence to think better, what happened? Why did not we understand our goal? What are our options to fix it? Looking for someone to blame won’t help you, but it will make you waste time. Mohandas Gandhi said, “As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him” (qt Borton). If she or he did not send their part of the assignment; well, you are the leader. Did you have a plan b? For example, if you know who they are, you may have known she or he works and has a family (husband, wife or children). It meant they could not get on time to the presentation. Did you ask him how she or he was doing? Try always to be the problem solver and move on. Sometimes, they just need some support and they will do as much as they can.

Likewise, communication implies different levels and synergy infers to transmit a message from the receiver’s world. You cannot assume they understood your ideas only because you talked or wrote about it. You need to figure out how they communicate to create your own proper ways of communication. For example, if one of them learns by listening, you should verbally explain and call her or him. If the person does not speak English as a first language, you explain and email her or him. The synergistic communication allows you to make the others feel an important part of the group dynamic because you are giving a message in a way they enjoy. You will see you are a synergetic communicator when the project is done. Keep in mind, you are their leader, you need to take the initiative and work with your team.

Identification, solutions and active communication are keys to help you become a respectable leader. Although there are diverse leadership styles, you should choose one that best reflects your personality. However, you would not forget to enjoy the process because you are still in college. While you are studying, you have the right to make many mistakes that in real life may have bigger consequences. Your errors will always make you a better professional and human being. I loved to be the chief in charge when I studied my bachelor’s degree in Colombia. Now, I am starting over, so I am the listener.

Work Cited
Morton, Brian. “Falser Words Were Never Spoken”, published in The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2011. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/opinion/falser-words-were-never-spoken.html. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.

Online Students Participate in Alternative Spring Break

This weekend Student Life participated in their third annual Alternative Spring Break Volunteer Experience. Students from every campus, online learners included, rode down to Roanoke, Virginia to stay with Mt. Zion AME Church. They were able to donate their time and energy to The Rescue Mission, a local homeless shelter, Habitat for Humanity, and to various projects around the Church. They immersed themselves in a different culture by staying in a city surrounded by The Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Students reflected on the privilege they all have and how important it is to serve others. The experience was an exploration of personal heritage and values while learning about some of the social justice struggles in the United States.

We are so excited online learners participated in this valuable experience! Learning online does not exclude you from getting involved with Student Leadership and College Engagement.

#NOVAServes

Where to Find Student Life Opportunities

Student Life is a great resource that connects you to a wide range of opportunities at the College that are often FREE.
  • Civic Engagement
  • Leadership Development
  • Community Involvement
  • Personal and Professional Development

Taking online courses does not exclude you from these opportunities. Not only can you take advantage of campus based events, you also have Student Life Online opportunities available to you.

WHERE do you find out about these opportunities?

There are a variety of ways to find out about engagement opportunities. See below where you can find information about Student Life.

Student Life Offices

A physical Student Life Office is located on all 6 campus. For online students, a Student Life Coordinator is available virtually and via email.  Typical Student Life staff is available 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday depending on what events are taking place.

View Student Life locations and contact information HERE.

Never hesitate to stop by a Student Life Office or email the staff! We are here for YOU!

This Week @ NOVA Emails

An updated list of programs is sent your student email (@email.vccs.edu) from Brian Anweiler every Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters.

Every campus, NOVA Online included, is updated weekly. There is a lot of information on the email, but you can pick and choose which opportunities you want to follow.

Social Media

NOVA Online has a Twitter and Facebook account @NOVAElife

Flyers, updates, and other important information is shared regularly through Social Media. It’s also a great way for you to communicate directly with staff and other students!

Don’t forget to also follow NOVA’s main account at @NOVACommCollege

Other Campus Student Life Accounts can be followed at: @AL_Student Life , @ANStudentLife , @MAStudent_Life , @ShoutoutLoudoun, @NOVAWoodBridge , @NOVAMEC

NOVA Events Calendar

The NOVA Events Calendar is found at https://calendar.nvcc.edu/    You can even narrow your search by selecting a campus, topic, or event type.

There are tons of ways to get involved at NOVA weather you are taking online classes or traditional classes, there is something for every one. #GetInvolved #DontBeBored!

The NOVA Online Student Blog