Dear New York Times, This is the Real Mizzou

Dear New York Times, This is the Real Mizzou

A response to the article that did not tell the whole truth about a great university

On July 9th 2017, The New York Times released an article discussing how students are shunning the University of Missouri due to the events that transpired here in November of 2015.

This article discussed how enrollment has spiraled downward by 35% in the past two years, university employees are losing their jobs, and budget cuts are being made. The hardest hitting part of this article was the deep-seated notion that students are avoiding coming to Mizzou in fear of being targets of racism and bigotry.

I am here to tell you firsthand why choosing Mizzou is one of the best choices I have made and to shine light on the other side of the story: the side of actual student life at a great university.

The protests at Mizzou happened my senior year of high school. I had not yet chosen a university to attend, but Mizzou was one of my top choices. Watching the news, I was never concerned that Mizzou might not be the right choice for me but I can understand why it would factor into the decisions of others. Did it concern me that a portion of the student body was involved in such a negative and distasteful riot? Of course. But ultimately, I chose to attend due to the fantastic journalism school that Mizzou is known for and I have never regretted my decision.

I had many classmates in high school ask if the events that had happened at Mizzou factored into my decision to attend. Honestly, they did not. Writing off an entire university due to an unfortunate event that happened there is much like choosing a book based on its cover. You are only seeing a small portion of a large entity. If every student chose not to go to a university due to a negative incident that occurred there, every university would be in trouble. While Mizzou got a lot of media attention during these events, we often forget that the media preys on negative news because it sells (trust me, I'm a J-School student!). All around the country, the media tends to report on Greek life deaths from drinking or sports team scandals, but rarely the achievements of the student body that represent the greatest portion of a university. You don't often hear of the amazing things that go on here so I will be that voice.

My first week at Mizzou was an experience I will never forget. There were so many activities and seminars I had to attend, one of which was solely based on the events of November 2015. This seminar emphasized that Mizzou is one big inclusive family and after attending for a year, I can truly say that is correct. Not once did I witness racism firsthand or hear from anyone who encountered it. In fact, I felt more open to approaching my classmates with different backgrounds than myself and truly enjoyed making friends with those of different ethnic groups. While I myself am not a minority and do not want to speak for those who are, to me, Mizzou feels like the perfect place to build relationships with people of every color, background, sex, gender, etc. Mizzou tries hard to ensure that every student feels safe and like they have a place at this university.

The events of November 2015 are also not something that we consider taboo on our campus. I had many professors encourage discussions and debates based on these events and there never seemed to be any palpable tension during them. Students seemed genuinely concerned for each other's feelings of belonging and wellbeing at Mizzou. Why? Because we are all here for one reason: to get a good education from a great university. And Mizzou definitely does not disappoint in that aspect.

While this article in the Times does not put Mizzou in a positive light, it gives us the opportunity to fix ourselves for the future and prove that our campus is a safe and inviting place to get an education and build friendships. So, if you are considering coming to the best college in the Show Me state, let us SHOW YOU that we are a family that all take pride in being Tigers and we are determined to prove that our university is more than its past mistakes.

#WeAreOneMizzou



Cover Image Credit: Mizzou News

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How Speed Dating Helped Me In A Class Where I Knew No One

In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

Upon the beginning of a new semester, the start of new classes means there are a lot of new people to meet.

At my university in particular, our community is huge (40,000 undergrad), and we all have had many enormous lecture halls where it is basically impossible to get to know every single person in the room. However, there are certain classes where the amount of students is significantly downsized, and different types of students will have different reactions to this.

When I arrived on my first day of English-15 class (the required English class for every student in attendance at the university), the initial moments were awkward and somewhat nerve-racking. As I sat in my seat surrounded by 22 unknown faces, my professor instructed that we were going to play a game. In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

My professor then said that we were going to be “speed-dating” with others in our class. I had always thought that the term “speed-dating” was to be used in a romantic sense only, and in my eyes, the classroom was not the appropriate place for this. As we were quickly organized to sit face-to-face with complete strangers, I was all of a sudden intrigued.

For twelve rounds, we were given about three minutes to talk to each of our classmates. While about half of the time allotted was filled by obligatory small-talk (i.e. where the other person is from, what they plan to study, how old they are), the other half of each conversation continually turned into something different each time I spoke with someone new.

I talked about many different topics of varying importance and seriousness, but the interesting part was that I created these conversations with people I had never even seen prior to the start of class that day.

Although it was nine o’clock in the morning and I would have usually left class feeling sleepier than when I arrived, this first day of class was far from what I expected and I felt energized by the end of it. Although it was difficult to keep track of what I talked about and with whom I talked about it, speed dating largely improved the dynamic of the classroom and made the situation a lot less awkward than most first-day-experiences I had previously been a part of.

Although talking to strangers has its way of making some people feel initially uncomfortable, it really is the most efficient way to break the ice among students.

As educators of all different levels are actively creating new teaching methods for this generation of students, being a student myself, I feel as though the beginning of academic success begins with comfort inside of the classroom. Although the terms “speed-dating” and “learning” don’t traditionally go together in an academic sense, they helped create a pleasant environment in our classroom that will ultimately motivate me to feel comfortable around my peers and my professor alike.

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I Rented My Textbooks From Chegg And I Saved Hundreds

Say Goodbye to overpriced books, and say hello to cheap ones!

Textbooks have to be one of the worst parts of college. I love to learn, I love my classes, but I hate the textbooks that come with them. It has nothing to do with the content, but the price tag.

In college, you pay a ridiculous amount of money for textbooks because professors either have you buy the newest edition where there isn't a rental or used book to purchase, they make it available only in an E-book format, or they have you buy the textbook that comes with an additional $100 access code just so you can do your homework. It's stressful and ridiculous and I always find myself spending over $200 for textbooks each semester. Yeah, not per year, per SEMESTER.

This semester, I decided to take a little more action when it came to my books. Instead of ordering my books through the school bookstore, I did some research. I tried Amazon, but they were about the same price as the bookstore if not more at times.

So, I scratched that off my list. Then, I turned to buying used books from other students. It worked with a couple books, but a lot of people didn't have the version of the book I was looking for or were also selling it for a ridiculous price. With only two of the six textbooks I needed in hand, I was at a loss for what to do next. Then, I heard about this website called Chegg. I actually stumbled upon it while looking on Pinterest for "Cheap College Textbooks." I had always heard of Chegg, but I always figured it was too complicated and chose to never use it.

Let me tell you, that was stupid. I looked up the three books I needed and the total price for the three of them had my jaw dropping. My total came out to $85, which was the price of just one of my books at the bookstore.

Below my total, Chegg told me I was saving over $200. Can you believe that?! On top of that? They also offered me free shipping and it would be in my hands in 2-3 days. Also, instead of having to return my books the last week of school, I had a whole extra month to do it. I mean, I probably won't need that long, but hey, life happens sometimes and you forget!

They also send you a label to print off and you just have to pack the books up and ship them off! No return lines, no waiting, just returning your books on your own time.

There are also many other features to Chegg that include free E-books of the textbook you just rented, study tips, and lessons that go along with the books you rented. It really helps when it comes time for homework and tests!

There is a Chegg App that you can download to keep track of your orders and you can also use it for some of these features and to sell some of your own books that you might have!

One last thing that made me just fall in love with Chegg is that when I opened my box, it had a bunch of free goodies inside! There was a sample bag of tide pods, a coupon for MORE tide pods (I can never get enough of those honestly), gum, some coupons and even some gift cards that could be used for cute things for my room and also for some meals! It was just a really nice thing to find because it made me feel like more than just a college student trying to get cheap books.

It actually made me feel like a real person. That may sound odd, but it's true! By them just putting in something extra in my box, it helped eased my stress and mind about all the book troubles I had and it showed me that the people who work at Chegg actually care. They could have just sent my rental books, but they took the extra mile, and I think that's what every textbook rental place should be doing. I ordered my textbooks from Chegg and I'm telling you, I'm never using any other rental place.

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