September 2014

In the Know

Aug. 31-Residence Halls Open
Sept. 2-New Student Day
Sept. 3-Classes Begin
Sept. 5-Make payment arrangements with Business Services
Sept. 6-Service Saturday
Sept. 11-Last day for registering/adding classes
Sept. 23-Last day for withdrawing/dropping classes with partial refund

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Grand Selfie Station*

In each issue, we’ll ask you to send us a selfie of you doing something pertaining to your first year of college. Get creative… prizes are involved.

Send us a selfie in your favorite study spot. It could be your room, the laundry room, the library, the Academic Support Center, your car… you name it! Send your selfie to gillette.vaira@msubillings.edu or 406.794.7593 by September 22 in order to be considered for the prize. Provide your first and last name, as well as a description of the selfie. We just might include it in the October issue of The BuzzFeed.

*Editor’s note: Please do not take a selfie as you are driving or operating machinery. Please send only appropriate selfies.

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Live on Campus

Close. Convenient. Affordable. We’re talking about the MSUB residence halls. Call Housing & Residential Life at (406) 657-2333 to reserve your room on campus.

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Finding Mr./Ms./Dr. Right

Let’s say you have an emergency that will cause you to miss class, but you don’t have your professor’s contact information. Take matters into your own hands. Do a little research on the MSU Billings website. You can find contact information for almost any employee from City College or the University Campus here.

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Check It Out... Check It Off

Don’t let attending college get overwhelming. We have designed checklists to help you as you prepare for and experience each semester at MSUB. From reserving your books at the Campus Store to checking your final grades… you won’t miss a beat.

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The Long Haul

You might consider putting these items in your bag if you plan to be on campus for extended periods of time.
-U-Card: Don’t leave home without it.
-Power cords: Long hours and short battery lives don’t mix.
-Wet wipes: Embrace your OCD self. React to sticky situations.
-Tennis shoes: Head to the gym between classes or walk a couple of laps around campus.
-Water: Dehydrated brain + Studying = Difficulty absorbing information
-Healthy snacks: Jaunting to Stingers between classes may not always be an option.
-Change of clothes: Imagine being hit by a sprinkler or spilling your coffee. Create options.
-Extra study materials: Make good use of time between classes.

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Get Involved!

College is more than just hitting the books. Your involvement on campus could land you a job after college, too! So join a student organization. Check out these two groups:

The Student Activities Board plans entertaining and educational events for the general student population. Members schedule artists, work with agents, promote events, and more. Apply to be a member of SAB.

The Residence Hall Association serves as the voice for students living on campus. The group coordinates entertaining and educational activities for students living in the halls. Pick up your application in the RHA office on the second floor of Petro Hall. Contact Alison Adams at (406) 657-2588 for more information.

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Logon Help

Be prepared for logging into all of the accounts you need during the academic year. MSU Billings Information Technology can help you. Just visit msubillings.edu/logons/, stop by the College of Education in room 401, or call (406) 247-5755 for help.

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Need a Job?

Career Services could be your new favorite spot! Register for CareerLink to check out jobs and allow potential employers to view your application materials. Plus, attend Yellowjacket Market to visit with local businesses who want to hire MSUB students! Meet them on September 9 at the City College Commons or September 10 at the University Campus LA Building from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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Work-Study

Get paid to study at your job on or off campus! Just check with the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office to see if you qualify for work-study. Learn how one MSUB student is earning some dollars while studying on campus through a work-study job.

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Academic Support Center

Visit the Academic Support Center in the SUB on the University Campus or in the Tech Building at City College. The ASC provides free tutoring for math, writing, reading, science, psychology, foreign languages, and more! They even offer online tutoring. Use their computers, printers, and copy machines. You don’t need to make an appointment.

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First Year Seminar

Register for A&SC 101 or A&SC 111. You’ll learn about campus resources, build your résumé, and make new friends. Contact the Advising Center for help with registering.

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Disability Support Services

Any student who believes he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact DSS. They offer assistive technology, sign language interpreters, note takers, test taking accommodations, and other services. Visit College of Education 135 or call (406) 657-2283.

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Tobacco Free at MSUB!

August marks the second year anniversary of MSUB being tobacco-free! Call Student Health Services at the University Campus at (406) 657-2153 or (406) 247-3027 at City College if you need help with quitting tobacco.

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Jacket Fact

Classes first started at Eastern Montana Normal School on Sept. 12, 1927. School officials required students to study between 8 and 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This year, classes start at MSU Billings on Sept. 3. Studying is optional, but recommended.
(Yellow-Stone & Blue)

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Please send any BuzzFeed questions, comments, or ideas to gillette.vaira@msubillings.edu.

MSU Billings logo

Who You Gonna Call? University Police!

It’s fall semester 2014. You need to go to your night class, but you don’t want to walk across campus by yourself. Who you gonna call? You guessed it. UPD.

The University Police Department has eight sworn officers who have the same authority as Billings City Police Officers. They’re available 24-7 in order to help with a variety of issues, such as motor vehicle assistance, lockout services, lost and found, and safety escorts.

They recommend taking general precautions to stay safe on campus, such as walking in pairs, as well as locking the doors of your residence hall rooms and vehicles even while you’re inside the location. They also suggest being extra vigilant during finals and over the holidays, when thefts tend to increase.

Save these University Police numbers in your phone before you start classes: (406) 657-2222 and (406) 657-2147. You and your family can also receive text/email alert messages by subscribing to the university’s Wireless Emergency Notifications System.

Jaclyn Tobin Photo

Wingin' It

Columnist Jaclyn Tobin, Third-Year Yellowjacket

You might be wondering which rumors about your first year are true and which aren’t. I’m here to help you with that!

  • “It’s not like high school—you can’t slack off.” This one is, indeed, true. Sure there are some seasons where it might feel natural to just let the tasks fall to the wayside, but, believe me, the extra ten minutes of free time isn’t worth the stress when they’re gone.

  • “I hope you like the taste of Top Ramen—that’s all you’re gonna be eating for a while!” You may like the taste of Top Ramen so much that you want to eat it for the next nine months straight, but there are other options if you don’t. The Rimrock Café has the BEST variety and the BEST quality of food a hungry college kid could ask for! If you don’t have a food plan, no worries; there are thrifty ways you can make bang for your buck! (For more information, stay tuned for next month’s column!)

  • “When you get lost, don’t expect to get help. This isn’t high school. You’re on your own now.” College isn’t a place filled with students who are operating in separate orbs. College is filled with students who can ask questions, seek relationships, and build connections with others. There are services on campus for homework support, clubs and teams for building relationships, and an overall atmosphere of community. All you have to do is tap into it! 

Contact education major and student leader Jaclyn Tobin.

College Corner

By Bryan Grove

John Schreier

Bryan Grove made a friend in college that he still has to this day. “We met in the residence halls and bonded over things that ONLY happen in residence halls,” he said.

You’ll discover more about a College Success Specialist and his or her awe-inspiring collegiate experiences in each issue. Soak it up. You can’t get this kind of quality expertise just anywhere.

I knew just about all 2,000 students in my high school. Seriously. So I expected to make friends really fast in college. I wanted to meet new people, experience different activities, and be on my own. But when I arrived on campus, I learned that my expectations were in for a jolt.

After the first week or two, I realized that everyone around me came to college with friends they knew in high school. They weren’t looking for new friends. This was quite a shock, especially to someone as outgoing as I was. My expectations of college changed.

I gave up trying to make new friends and get involved on campus because my experience was different than what I had imagined. I turned to my high school friends to keep me going. I went home every weekend and sometimes after class during the week. I got to know a few people in my residence hall, but not very well. Do you know why? EVERYTHING happens on the weekend. Resident Assistants planned all the hall outings, floor mates stayed up late watching movies and eating pizza, and epic Capture the Flag battles would happen between floors. To be honest, I don’t really know what happened because I wasn’t there. But everyone on my floor always had great stories to tell of what they did over the weekend. Why wasn’t I there? It’s because the transition to college was tougher than I expected.

This went on for the first few months of my freshman year. But something changed during Spring Term. Maybe classes were harder and forced me to stay on campus to study. Or maybe I added up how much gas cost me to drive home every weekend. I don’t know what changed, but I became motivated to make the most of my time in college. I played tennis with someone on my floor, which led me to organize a tennis tournament for my entire residence hall. I played intramural softball and completed a few beautification projects around campus with the environmental club. I even attended a formal dinner at our residence hall with my new friends. I got to know people because I stayed around on the weekends and I adjusted my expectations of what college was really like. I had a great overall college experience because I got involved.

Remember these pointers as you make the transition from high school to college:

  1. Be patient. Your experience might not match your expectations right away. Don’t give up.
  2. Be flexible. You may have to change your expectations. Life is often different than we expect, and that’s OK.
  3. Get involved early. Do as many activities as you can in the first month of school. Go to on-campus activities, don’t go home on the weekends, and stay out late once or twice.

Transitions can be tough. Challenge yourself to try new things and meet new people. It will help you stay focused on where you are going, not where you have been.

Contact Bryan Grove at (406) 589-4441.

John Schreier

Columnist Elizabeth Almann, Financial Education Success Specialist

The first semester can be a real test of college students’ abilities to manage money. Once living expenses, tuition, and school supplies are covered, students have to make what’s left of their money last until the next semester. This can happen by having a spending plan, also known as a budget. It puts you in control of your money. It lets you make informed spending decisions so that you use your money for the things that are really important to you. 

Making a spending plan is simple. Just write down your sources of income (savings, financial aid, paycheck after taxes, etc.) and subtract your savings and your expenses from that amount. What's left is your discretionary spending money, which is the money you can spend how you like. You can easily figure out how much money you can spend each week, month, or semester. Go to www.getmoneysmarts.org and set up a free account and use an easy online budgeting program.

There are many benefits to having a spending plan. You can identify money "leaks," such as buying a specialty coffee drink every day. This may not seem like much money until you add up the costs. For example, if you spend $4.50 for coffee 31 days in a month, you would end up spending $139.50. Ouch! A spending plan protects you from impulse buying or overextending yourself. It can help you avoid getting into unnecessary debt, which can cause stress. You can use your spending plan to put money aside for an emergency fund or a special purchase.  

As you start your educational journey, it's always good to keep the end goal of earning your diploma in mind to help you stay on track. However, you also want to have a good experience along the way! A spending plan sets you up for success so you have enough money for the things that matter. 

If you would like help creating a spending plan, make an appointment for financial coaching. It’s free! I'm here to help you be successful.

Contact Elizabeth Almann at (406) 657-1795 to get financial fitness tips.

By John Schreier, Veterans Mentor

John Schreier

My years in the Army have taught me a few things about getting along with new people, especially when you suddenly find yourself living with them in close proximity. Everyone has a sacred story. Try to savor, understand, and respect each other’s stories.

Some are willing to spill as much of their story as you can handle in the first 10 minutes – kind of a gush of nervousness. “Maybe if I give you all this information at once, you will see that I’m a significant person.” Give these folks enough acknowledgement to put their mind at ease. Show a willingness to be a friend. I learned that some people have never known what it is like to have a friend without strings attached.

Some are like a vault. “I’m not offering to sacrifice the security of privacy for the vulnerability of revealing who I am.” Help folks feel safe around you by protecting any information you have. Realize that it may take some time to be able to let down the guard.

Some are a façade. “Others won’t like who I really am, so I have to be something else more acceptable.” Notice who they really are and affirm their value without dictating changes they would have to make in order to make the cut for friendship. You don’t have to change your values for everyone else’s, but you can give people the latitude to see that you are real and willing to see them as real. One key tactic is to break through your own façades.

Close living quarters with your roommate will begin to allow you to know more about them than you probably want. They will have the same opportunity to see your best and worst in the raw. You can create deep and lasting relationships by including the vital ingredient of trust. The golden rule is the best policy; treat others the way you would have others treat you.

Remember to be an encourager and pay attention to others. Say what you appreciate about people. Make it real. Your attitude sets up the conditions for relationship. Don’t fake it. Look at what is valuable about your roommate. It will amaze you how powerful a little effort can be.

Meet MSUB’s new Veterans Support Coordinator, Seth Allen, in the next issue. In the meantime, contact Schreier or Allen at veterans@msubillings.edu or (406) 581-5953.

A Parent Perspective

Carrie Klippenstein felt unfazed when her parents dropped her off at Rimrock Hall for her freshman year at Eastern Montana College. Coming from the small Montana town of Flaxville, she was ready for college life in Billings. But it wasn’t until she took her two sons to college years later that she understood what her parents must have been feeling.

John Schreier

The Klippenstein family visited Greece together during the summer of 2013.

“Part of the shock is that you’re using so much energy on high school graduation, the party, and the family,” she said. “You’re packed with the entire senior year and the summer going into freshman year. All of that build up and then you’re like, ‘We’ve got to leave him here and drive away now?’”

Her oldest son, age 22, attended MSU Billings as a music performance major. Her other son, a 19-year-old Pro Golf Management major, is beginning his second year of college this fall at New Mexico State University.

“It’s very hard not to tell them what they should do, but offer them advice when they ask,” she said. “When you push it on them, they just put that wall up and say, ‘I don’t need you. I can do it on my own.’”

But she said the toughest part for parents is not having daily interactions with their students.

“You’re used to asking them about their school day, their work day, and now it’s overbearing if you do that,” she said.

Klippenstein’s sons kept her up-to-date via Facebook, Snapchat, and text on occasion.  

“And when he would go long periods without communicating, I would find some joking way to connect,” she said. “I would ask, ‘Are you alive down there? How’s it going?’ Usually he was in the groove of things and too busy. But I did learn not to call.”

She said just a little communication can make a major difference in parents’ first-year experiences, too.

“Don’t forget that your parents are wondering about you,” she said. “Just reach out once in a while to put their minds at ease.”

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