Category Archives: Student Life

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!

Student SpotLight: How to ball On a Budget

This week’s Student Spotlight is written by Marly Narcisse. Marly is working towards a degree in Engineering and has a knack for learning other languages. She is currently taking German through NOVA Online. For most students, College is expensive. We get it. Marly is here to share
with us some tips on how to manage our finances.   

Greetings

Growing up my mother was not very financially responsible, and when I moved to the USA my family was not financially responsible. I decided that this wouldn’t be me, so I experimented with many ways before I found out the one that works for me. Below are the top five things I do keep my finances in check.

  1. Get A Spending Notebook

In this book I write down all my wants and needs. I also write down savings and financial goals. I have a job, but I also have bills. For better accuracy I write down everything that I must pay for each pay check and I cross them off as I go. I also keep track of how often I need the basics (toothbrush, shampoo, etc.) so I can plan accordingly.

2. Budget

Budget. I consider budgeting as the maximum amount of money I am willing to pay for things. I have a car, so I need gas. I tell myself based on my commute, how much gas do I need? It turns out, I could get by with $100 a month. I allocate $100 for gas every month using a gift card. Unless it’s necessary I will not go beyond my commute. Everything I need is on the way. I also do that for everything else, clothes, books, etc. I like to avoid surprises. My wallet doesn’t like them very much. 

3. Create Different Savings Accounts

I have three different savings accounts based on my priorities. I have an emergency account. I was told to have at least 3-4 months bills put away, so I am working towards that. I also want to invest money for residual income and I want to go places, it doesn’t matter where. I allocate some money each month for it according to importance. Suppose I save $100, 50% would go to emergency, 30 to travel and 20 to investment.

4. Spend Less

I only buy things I need. When I go to the store, usually Bed Bath and Beyond because I use their 20% off coupons, A LOT, I make sure I get things I really need. I’ll ask myself three times if I really need something before I hit the register, and I’ll put the No’s on the side. When I reach the register, I’ll ask myself, “do I need it?” one more time before I make final my purchase.

5. Save All Extra Cash

I get money for my birthday, work bonus or for whatever other reason. I used this money strictly for savings and I follow the same breakdown as before 50 for emergency, 30 for travel and 20 for investment.

These tips work for me. I live within my means and I can still afford to do things I want to do without feeling guilty. At the same time, I have a cushion for the future. If you have any additional tips or have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank You

Student Spotlight: Three Ways I Stay Mentally Healthy

Check out this week’s Student Spotlight from Jordan Boyd. Jordan is a double major in Business and Art History. As the 16 week semester starts to gear up, Jordan shares with us how she stays mentally healthy.

Three Ways I Stay Mentally Healthy

School is stressful. I don’t think there’s a person alive who has gotten through school with a 0% amount of stress. It’s so strong that it has an effect on your physical stature. Hunched shoulders, a stiff neck and headaches are just a few symptoms I’ve had to prove it. People have recommended trying new activities like running, taking walks and stress balls. I’ve tried them all but I’ve noticed that they only take away the physical pressure. We seem to help relax the outcome instead of the main source: the mind. School and other activities have taken its toll on me, but they’ve become less stressful due to a few techniques. Here are three easy (and free) ways I use to calm my own mind.

  1. MEDITATION~ Your mind has all the answers. Sitting down in silence and relaxing can leave you feeling calm and ready to continue on. There are days it helps clear my mind and other days it helps with breathing techniques for me to calm down. It definitely takes time to master, but every minute throughout the process is significant. So take a seat, think it through and you’ll be on your way.
  2. MAKING AND GOING OVER DREAMS AND GOALS~ There’s a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. My list can probably go on for days, but it gets me excited thinking about the many different things I want to do. Reminding yourself every day or every time you feel down can be that burst of energy you need to get back in the zone.
  3. KNOWING YOU’RE DOING FINE~ “It always works out”. That’s my mantra for every day. I say it in the morning, in the middle of the day and when I go to bed. It makes all the hard work, struggles and stress worth it.

My message to you is to keep your mind clear and healthy. Don’t focus on the bad stuff. Surround yourself with things that make you happy. A yoga class. A bag of candy. A good playlist. Maybe you can try looking back on your accomplishments and feel proud of yourself. You’re unique, so what you choose might be different from mine, but I promise you that if you take the time, you’ll find what helps you. Don’t let the stress get to you because what you’re going through is only temporary. You got this!

Adult Career Pathways Open House

You are invited to the Adult Career Pathways Open House on Wednesday January 30, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Come learn about the Adult Career Pathways Program and how to become part of this growing and dynamic support program at Northern Virginia Community College!

See the flyer below for additional details and RSVP at https://bit.ly/2RxfqQ3.

Bookstore Purchase Process via Financial Aid for Spring 2019

Students who wish to purchase books and supplies at a NOVA Bookstore using excess financial aid must complete the Bookstore Authorization e-Form each year on their NOVAConnect “To Do List.” The bookstore purchase period begins on Saturday, 12/29/18 for online purchases and on Wednesday, 1/2/19 for purchases made on campus, and it closes on Monday, 1/28/19. A second bookstore purchase will be available from 3/2/19 – 3/24/19 for students who still have excess aid that has not disbursed.

Before attempting to use your financial aid at a campus bookstore, be sure to review the checklist below.

Are you enrolled in classes?

Do you have an approved financial aid award large enough to cover tuition, fees and books?

Do you have a valid NOVACard?

Is your account free of holds?

If the answer to any of the above is “no”, please review you NOVAConnect “To Do List” and visit a campus financial aid office or contact the 24 Hour Student Support Center at 1-855-323-3199 if you have any questions.

New Student Orientation – Alexandria Campus

Spring 2019

New Student Orientation for Adult Learners

businesspeople with tablet computer

Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019

Time: 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Location: Alexandria Campus, Bisdorf room AA158

The program includes an orientation to the College, information for academic planning (including career/transfer), an overview of campus resources, and information about student success.

Consider attending this Orientation program if you are a degree-seeking student who is:

  • First-time to college and age 25+;

•             Transferring into NOVA from another college; or

•             Returning to college-level studies after a leave of absence

Questions?  Contact 703-933-5073 or alcounseling@nvcc.edu.

Students who are GPS/First Year Students (first time to college & 17-24 years old) or in the Pathways program (from high school) must attend a different orientation.  Go to www.nvcc.edu/orientation for more details.

If you need accessibility accommodations for this program, please contact disabilityservices@nvcc.edu. 

5000 DAWES AVENUE | ALEXANDRIA | VA | 22311

Government Shut Down may affect your FA Eligibility

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The financial aid application process is currently underway for the 2019-2020 academic year. However, the ease of applying for aid could be in jeopardy because of the partial government shut down that is underway. When applying for aid, applicants need to submit copies of tax returns. These can be obtained on the IRS’s website. But, online requests are not currently being generated. According to the Department of Education, copies of tax returns and written statements of non-filing are being accepted for verification purposes in lieu of IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms. Read more about how the partial shutdown of the IRS could affect your eligibility on the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators website.

Calling all NOVA Gamers!

NOVA has developed a new varsity collegiate esports program to compete against other colleges nationwide!

We have built a new high-end esports arena on the Annandale Campus for the athletes to practice and compete in. The current varsity games include League of Legends and Overwatch. Aside from the varsity program, we will be having intramural esports with League of Legends and Overwatch as well as many other popular games such as Rocket League, Hearthstone, Rainbow Six, and a few others! For more information join our discord at https://discord.gg/JVmJd5M as well as our social media @NVCCEsports. Tryouts for our varsity program are right around the corner on December 19th, so sign up for a time slot fast at http://www.novaathletics.com/sports/esports/2018-19/releases/2019_Esports_Tryouts. For any other information or questions feel free to contact us through discord or email cgaul@nvcc.edu.