The Alleyway

Sometimes you just have to admit stuff happens and move on. This is a statement I follow for a lot of things. Work, school and life in general: it all just happens. Customers get angry because of something that’s not my fault; it happens. I don’t understand the point of finding X plus the square root of an imaginary number, especially as a communications major. But I will admit, some of this stuff “just happens” for the best.

My parents worked in the fast food industry throughout college, and I learned some important lessons from their stories. Always tip, don’t be rude, honey lures flies better than vinegar, self-control and a healthy use of sarcasm when you are done working is vital.

And working in retail has made me realize more of these basic lessons of letting go and all the things my parents told me. Such as don’t judge people by the way they look.

Normally the girl dressed in black with piercings all over is actually sweeter than any other person I will deal with for the week. The couple dressed in pastels and buying the Bible can be really mean.

There was the lady who threw the book Heaven is for Real at one of my coworkers. Just flat out chunked it at her because she got tired of waiting. Didn’t even buy it, and the friend she was with just laughed and said “serves you right” to my coworker. She was in the middle of a custody battle, but these women didn’t care for anything other than themselves.

It ticks me off that people act like this. Show some amount of respect and kindness. Would you like to have a book thrown at you? Do I go to your workplace and throw frisbees and footballs around and leave them there? Is it an option to leave Starbucks cups all over your house and make you clean it up? I’m not your housekeeper.

I would have hoped the general population would be a bit nicer, but working retail, you kind of lose faith in humanity. When families bring their kids and let ‘em loose in the store, screaming and running, it gives me a headache. If the kid is young, I get it. But at 10 years of age, I’d hope you were taught better.

This one family had six kids, all had to be 12 and up, and these kids were running around, screaming and crashing into things. You would not believe the mess they made. Movies everywhere, latex masks in the books area. Seriously, could someone just properly deal with these children?

My fellow worker in that department that day went to the parents and told them they had to leave. How dare we suggest their children were unruly in the least?! Geez, get a grip on your family.

Now I’m not saying all consumers are bad. We have regulars at my store, and they are fantastic. There’s a motorcycle group, a wrestler and an oil field worker who always make me smile while I work.

One of my favorite moments at work was when this little boy and his dad stocked some of my inventory while I went to search for a few movies they wanted.

I didn’t ask them to, but when I came back, my inventory looked perfectly done. I was so happy, and they were so nice. And it’s sad that niceness has become a rarity nowadays.

I remember a customer who started cussing me out one day in July. All I was doing was sorting the things I needed to put up before I went home and here comes this big guy who is up in arms over the fact that my store is set up so you have to go around the registers to exit. Did I deserve it? I don’t really think so, but I just have to shake it off and move on. If I let it bug me too much, it will get in the way of my work.

Right after it happened, the customers in line told my manager when he came in that I had been cussed out by this random guy. Whenever something outwardly rude happens, and we have a bit of a line, the next customer I cash out will say something nice to me.

Another time, this little eight-year-old girl heard the Frozen soundtrack come on in the store and sang “Let it Go” through the whole thing. It was so sweet, and I even saw a few older customers singing and smiling. She wasn’t messing things up or getting in the way; she was just enjoying a moment in her life and shared it with us.

On Sunday mornings, there is a man who comes in and buys all the workers a soda from Sonic. He doesn’t have to, but he understands what we go through. After I moved here from home, he kind of became an adopted uncle to me. It was nice to have someone simply be kind.

Sadly, there aren’t as many stories of common decency when people work menial jobs. When did you last tell a janitor thank you for literally cleaning up feces? Did you ever actually give your teacher an apple, or say something nice to a stranger?

You don’t know if your waitress has to work two jobs to pay for her rent and child, you don’t know if the cashier just had a horrible breakup. Sure, in general, most of the population doesn’t care, but put yourself in his or her place for a moment.

Athenian Restaurant takes ‘colossal’ fall

Greece has finally come to town in the Athenian Restaurant. At first glance, the restaurant’s front looks like it has old columns classic to the long ago era.

The Grecian inspiration is present. A closer look at the restaurant reveals the columns are just slanted slabs of concrete to create the distance effect.

Inside, the restaurant looks classy with statues in the fashion of old Greek art. There are panels on the walls giving descriptions of the Greek gods, such as

Hestia and Poseidon. Each table has folded black fabric napkins and a lit boxed candle. The clientele seemed to be older and the menus were basic laminated papers held by three silver rings.

A family member accompanied me, and we were seated immediately. The head of house pulled out my chair for me, which no other restaurant staff has ever done for me. It had a soothing atmosphere and wasn’t crowded.

The bar was through another entryway, and I could see it wasn’t very busy.

It was decorated with an old Hollywood Spartan helmet. Greece was obviously emphasized at every angle.

As a recent addition to the culinary experiences of Midland, the new restaurant does its best to impress. And in design, it certainly does.The restaurant’s front sign states “It’s all Greek to me” and says it all for the menu.

As a Greek restaurant, the dishes have the names given by its homeland. The descriptions are not helpful if you don’t have previous knowledge of Greek food.

The servers seemed to know the menu and were helpful, but I still felt lost. Restaurant menus should give good descriptions since the servers will be busy bustling around the other customers and getting orders.

Greek is not a common language or popular culture in this area, so I doubt many people know what a tzatziki is. It is a yogurt dish with cucumber and garlic, but the menu did not say this. All it said was tzatziki.
I did not know any of this type of cuisine going in, and as I later discovered from the lackluster taste and looks, I wouldn’t want to.

When we were going to order our drinks, our waitress said no Dr. Pepper was available, and the waitress didn’t seem to possess a great knowledge of drinks. They had no specialty drinks or even lemonade.
The first dish was an option of soup or salad, and I picked a soup. It was not warm, and the leaves of basil were big. In one spoonful, I got a leaf the size of my thumbnail, and it was not pleasant.
Cooking programs where fresh spices are used always warn about cutting leaves small. It’s just not pleasant to me, but that could be a personal preference.

For the main course, I had a beef dish where meat and rice were wrapped up in grape leaves, with Greek potatoes and spanakorizo as sides.

The menu had no description for any of the side dishes and no section on available drinks. Thanks to having no descriptions, I found out spanakorizo is a spinach and rice stew with lemon only after being served.

Holding nothing against spinach or rice, I gave it a try. The texture was a bit slimy for my taste.

Everything else on the plate had far too much dill. Potatoes with dill, meat showered with dill, rice with dill – it was just gross.

The potatoes were sliced, cooked and spiced, but biting into it revealed a slight sour taste.

One of the five potato slices was undercooked, and this was the only thing I could finish.

As for the grape leaves around the meat, they were sitting in yellow liquid “sauce.” When I scraped my fork through it, the liquid acted more like a gel and had a waxy feel.

Dessert was simply okay. Baklava, a dish that tastes of cinnamon apples and nuts, is something I at least recognized. It wasn’t ambrosia, almost too sweet on the first bite, but at least it washed out the dill and was good.

Online, the Midland Reporter-Telegram said the restaurant was open at 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The menu said it was open at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. This causes confusion, and negatively affects customers. I couldn’t find an official restaurant website either to get a peek at the menu. My only sources were Yelp and the online MRT, and the information did not match up.

The Athenian Restaurant looks nice, but has poor advertising and food that is just not up to its prices.

Ice bucket challenge mimics illness

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge trend is taking the world by storm. Midland College students are vaguely familiar with the challenge, but the majority of students have minimally responded to it.

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge was originally known as the “Cold Water Challenge” which started in the middle of 2013. Originally, the nominees could donate to any charity that they wanted.

According to golfchannel.com, the challenge did not become associated solely with ALS until the hosts from a golf program, Morning Drive, did the challenge live on air. After their Ice Bucket Challenge aired, the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge increased dramatically.

According to alsa.org, ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; it is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after a major league baseball player who had ALS. ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS will inevitably lead to death because of the fact that it causes, in most cases, complete paralysis of the body.

Hastings employee Cody Parrish said he knew that the Ice Bucket Challenge was to raise money for Lou Gehrig’s disease and that the significance of the challenge was that the ice water simulates the effects that the disease has on the body.
However, he did not know of anyone, personally, who has done the challenge, that turned out to be a common trait among students that were interviewed.

The main reason that ALS became associated with the Ice Bucket Challenge is because the ice water simulates, to a certain degree, some of the involuntary movements that come with ALS. Of course, the water does not come close to the severity of the symptoms.

The rules for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge are: nomination for the challenge, and completion the challenge within 24 hours.
A participant can either chose to have a bucket of ice water on his or her head or donate $100 at alsa.org. Even though it is one or the other, the majority of people tend to do both.

Midland College student Saul Rodriguez said that he would not like to be nominated for the challenge because he would not want to have to dump cold water on himself. Both he and fellow MC student Rachael Harris agreed that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a good idea and is for a good cause.

Celebrities and social media have been a part of how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has spread across the world.

Celebrities such as Misha Collins, Robert Pattinson, Selena Gomez, Joey Graceffa, Taylor Swift, and Christiano Ronaldo have all participated in the challenge, sharing their videos on social media and educating others on the cause.

MC security officer Bobbie Kerrigan was nominated to do the challenge by fellow members of the Permian Basin Bicycle Association and accepted the challenge. She said that the challenge is a great way to raise awareness of the disease and to raise money for ALS research.

Midland High Senior Jamie Bryant was surprised when she was nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a few days before school started. Bryant accepted the challenge and got her family to help her dump the ice water on herself, posted the video to Facebook and nominated a few of her friends.

However, none of the friends she nominated participated in the challenge at all, which shows that some people completely disregard the challenge as a whole.

In one month’s time, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised $98 million for research for ALS; that number has now surpassed $100 million.

Participants are becoming more successful with fundraising by selecting leaders who respond with humorous tactics, officials said.

Fans experience the spirit of the desert at rock concert

The heat turns up, and the sun goes down as fans of bands such as Skillet, Newsboys, and Benjah await the next performance to take the stage at Rock the Desert 2014.

Food trucks and stalls pull in fans to buy hand-crafted goods, band merchandise and food that is not your average fare. Youth groups run around offering free hugs. This goes on well into the next morning.

Rock the Desert is a Christian concert that goes on for three days every year starting the first Thursday of August. Hundreds of fans come with groups of friends or churches to partake in the biggest annual music event in Midland. There is a pond where fans can be baptized during RTD. On the second day, nine people had already been baptized.

RTD normally has 500 volunteers, 250 of whom stay on the grounds 24/7 during the weekend. MC math teacher Barbara Willis and her family have worked as volunteers for Rock the Desert since 1999. She gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the creation of the event that people flock to from states as far away as Washington.

One of Willis’ favorite volunteer stories was about a man named Bob. This man flew out to Midland on business and he saw the land RTD uses filled with volunteers.

He asked what all these people were doing in this desert plot of land. When the volunteers told him about it, he helped them out the entire time he was there and came back with his family to volunteer for the next eight years. He died of cancer a week after his last time at RTD.

For three days of good music, it’s $25. People have the option to camp on site.

A group called Disaster Relief provided free showers to the campers. They provided soap, shampoo, towels, hair dryers and power strips to charge electronics as well.

One of the new additions for RTD 2014 is a skate park. A drum set was available for those willing to show their stuff; it was used by kids as young as eight years old, along with some teens and adults who rocked out to the happy crowd. It is available to rent and is open year round.
Many people came in for the air conditioning, as well as skateboarding and drumming. When it first opened on Aug. 7, four toes were broken, which is why skaters have to sign a waiver.

Thankfully, volunteers with medical experience worked in the medical tent to help skaters and overheated concert-goers. This is Texas in the middle of the summer, and with only tents as shade, the medical tent had quite a few patients who overheated.

Sponsors got a special parking area and a beautiful view from a hill overlooking the crowds. Some donors were especially generous, providing land, equipment, golf carts and so on, but they liked to remain anonymous to the public. Wal-Mart also donated truckloads of drinks and food for RTD.

This musical celebration of Christianity is almost completely put on by volunteer efforts, and the result is very professional. It was amazing to see how all of these strangers banded together to make this happen.

Meeting people from other states and learning about all the organizations that work together to make this happen simply amazed me. There was a vendor from Africa, a motorcycle club, and hundreds of others I didn’t get to meet.

While I went in thinking this was going to be some boring preacher convention, I’m glad to say I was completely wrong. It was fun, even if it wasn’t my normal brand of music.

Music, food draw students together

Back to school not only means time for studying, but also time to hang out with friends and meet new people. That is exactly what Midland College students did as they met up by the sand volleyball court at the MC block party at the beginning of the semester.

Students ate free hamburgers and hotdogs, danced to the cupid shuffle and other dance music, and enjoyed kicking or throwing a ball around.
The block party by MC Student Government kicked off the semester as the first event hosted.

Once students arrived at the event, they signed in and received a ticket for a door prize, which included T-shirts and gift cards.

Every time students attend a future event and sign in they are also entered into a drawing that will be held at the end of the year for a large prize.

Tina Friesen, both a MC and Early College High School student, said that she had fun at the event.

“There should be more events like that in the future and one after finals to celebrate the end of the semester,” Friesen said.

As an ECHS student, Friesen said that the high school students can feel like they don’t belong and especially feel out of place around the older students.

Friesen said she felt different at first, but then she said the event helped bring students together. Friesen also encouraged other ECHS and MC students to attend future events, saying “All students should go, because we are all classmates.”

Stephanie VanCuren, student activities coordinator and Student Government adviser, and Daniel Aldana, Student Government vice president, helped organize the event. Both of them are responsible for planning activities for MC students.

Aldana said that he wanted MC students to enjoy “fellowship and have some clean fun.”

VanCuren said she is looking forward to this year’s ideas for events, and students should expect “great ideas” which will be broad in order to include most students.

This not only includes social events, such as the block party, but events which are educational and service oriented.

According to VanCuren, the Student Government will be hosting educational activities, such as promoting awareness of AIDS in December, and getting students together for community service projects. These activities and projects will help connect the student body as well as educate them and get them to be more involved with helping others.

Student Government president Owen Key, was also at the event. He said he has high expectations for Student Government and its activity this year.

“I want the events to be vibrant where all students can come together for fun; I want to create a true campus atmosphere at MC, one somebody could not achieve just by sitting in classes,” he said.

He also emphasized that the events are not only for students who study and live on campus, but online students are included as well.

“Students should come out to the events! They will be unique and fun, definitely what you [students] want, and there is free stuff,” Key said.

The biggest advice that the MC Student Government has for students is to “come out and get involved,” VanCuren said.

From the start, the Block Party had a successful turnout as students arrived in groups, among the first of which were the student athletes.

Due to many countless hours of strenuous practices and stressful new classes, the athletes were the most eager for this event.

“This was really needed,” Emecka Iheama, freshman point guard from Cleveland, Ohio, said. “I barely have time to meet new people, and this is a great opportunity to see everybody in one place.”

The block party was not just for campus residents, but for all students and faculty. Food was also readily available to all who came.

Hot dogs and hamburgers, cooked on a grill, invited everyone with its enticing smell.

C.J. Davis, a business major said he was having a good time. He was surprised at how many people lived on campus.

This year Student Government is trying hard to solve student issues, such as student safety.

For those interested in getting involved, Student Government meets Fridays at noon in the student center room 134.

To stay informed Students can sign up to receive text messages with event information or sign up for a newsletter.

The MC Facebook is also a place where much information is shared, and MC is also trying to set up an Instagram page. For more information, email sga@midland.edu.

Give it the old college try

Roughly six years ago, I made the decision to stop attending college. More than 12 years since I graduated from high school, I found being uneducated and unskilled a disagreeable existence. So re-enrolling in college for an associate degree was a relief.

Connie Sanchez was my algebra instructor last summer; her enthusiasm and passion for teaching encouraged me to become a better student. At the end of the semester, she shared with the class a bit of her personal journey to create a better future for her family.

She said that during her personal struggles as a mother and student, the staff at Midland College rallied and supported her. She stressed the importance of an education and how, by getting your degree, life will vastly improve.

While not identical to my situation, there were some similarities, and it made me curious to talk to other people who had decided to return to school.
According to The National Center for Education Statistics, there are 17.6 million undergraduates enrolled in American higher education.

Thirty-eight percent of these are over the age of 25, and one-fourth are over the age of 30. The number of students who are over 25 is projected to increase another 23 percent by 2019.

According to Rebecca Bell, dean of Community Relations, as of Sept. 5 there are 5,091 students enrolled at MC.

Currently there are 1,125 students who are older than 25; 699 (or 62 percent) are between the ages of 26-35, and 426 are 35 or older, which is roughly 38 percent.

MC student Michelle Yapp graduated from high school in 1987, and her husband recently retired from the Army and got his degree. Her youngest child just started kindergarten, so she decided that now was the perfect time to return to school.

She said there are certain challenges to returning to school, including “trying to get the work done and balance it with the home life, making sure that my children have rides and that the bills are paid.”

Yapp said she is currently focusing on one class this semester, but plans on being a full-time student in the spring. Her goal is to become a history professor.

“If I can learn something from somebody that’s younger than me, great” she said. “If they can learn something from me because I am older and I have a little more experience, great. I’m happy to help in any way that I can.”

MC student Mike Hernandez just celebrated his 39th birthday. He said that it had more than 20 years since he dropped out of school and two years ago he received his GED. After receiving his GED, he didn’t want to stop there.

Partly due to his previous battle with substance abuse, he felt compelled to go for his LCDC (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) accreditation. Hernandez said he wants to become an LCDC because “it was time to pay it forward” and help others whom are struggling with addiction.

This past December, Hernandez celebrated 10 years of sobriety.

I felt a little out of place when I started this fall semester. I decided to seek out other older students, who I found were inspirational individuals trying to make themselves and the world a better place.

No matter where you are in your life, it is never too late to improve yourself. Because you made bad decisions or mistakes in your past doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is to continually move forward, seek out new ways to make yourself a better person and help encourage those around you to become stronger and better individuals.

College seeks $39 million in private funds

$39 million. That’s how much Midland College is estimating to spend on new buildings on campus. The new buildings will be an Early College High School, a new dining hall, and lastly, an expansion on the current dining hall’s building.

According to Rick Bender, MC vice president of Administrative Services, planning has been underway for about two years.

“There are sets of plans, but they are not fully developed,” Bender said. Construction is also set to begin once the funds are raised.

The cost of building will be privately funded, meaning mostly donations will be used. As typical for buildings that have been built in the past, the funding will come from foundations and private donors; meaning tax payers and students will not be expected to help pay. Bender said that the college will not be using any type of revenue bond that will cause an increase in tuition or any bond that would need to be approved by voters in order to receive tax money as support.

Once some funding is received, construction will begin on the highest priority project.

Early College High School, currently confined to one hallway, verifies a need for a new building, according to Bender.

“When ECHS began [five years ago] it was originally in the Abell-Hanger Science Faculty Building,” he said. “Now it is in the Allison Fine Arts building and spilling into the Marie Hall Academic Building.”

One of the ideas behind an ECHS building is that it will make college classrooms available for their original purpose.

The fact that ECHS takes up an entire wing of the AFA building and three rooms in the MHAB is a problem because it leaves less space for college professors and departments. The new building will be located to the south of the circle, across from the tennis courts.

ECHS Principal Renee Aldrin is looking forward to growing in the new building. Her goal is to have 400 students enrolled, whereas right now the total is under 300.

Two more benefits of a new ECHS building will be an added cafeteria and science labs, both of which are nonexistent in the current ECHS. A cafeteria will double as a hangout and study spot for students.

Another building being planned is a new MC dining hall in the form of an extension to the student center. New dining facilities will extend east into the parking lot. Because the current kitchen facilities at the Jack E. Brown dining hall are not adequate, and the cost of updating the current ones was too high, an entirely new dining hall will be constructed. The new dining hall will be adjacent to the Chaparral Grill snack bar; this way the snack bar kitchen can be expanded to serve the dining hall as well.

Bender said that the current dining services offered by MC are too spread out. “There should be a synergy between students and the student center,” Bender said. This is because many students who regularly eat at the current dining hall are resident hall students, and most other students prefer to eat at the snack bar. Bender said he is hopeful that the dining hall will bring all students together and provide a great atmosphere.

ECHS teacher Stephanie Chrane is positive about the new dining hall. “[ECHS] Freshmen are not allowed to leave campus, and many seniors are scrambling to get something to eat at lunch time, so the new dining hall will be very beneficial,” Chrane said.

Allee Reyes, both an ECHS Senior and MC student, agrees that the new dining hall is a good idea, saying: “I have never really gone to the dining hall to eat before because it is too far away to walk to and from in time. I do think the new dining hall will bridge a gap between students, as many will be eating in the same place.”

The final construction plans include an addition to the current dining hall building in order to house the Petroleum Professional Development Center, which is currently in downtown Midland. The plan is to expand the dining hall to the west in order for it to fan out.

The additions will include a large lecture hall/auditorium, and will keep the kitchen in order to service seminars and conferences that may be held in the building. The kitchen may also enable a hospitality program to be established in the future.

The auditorium may also be used to host performances and ECHS graduation. MC President Steve Thomas said that the auditorium, which is planned to seat 400, will be a more spacious option than the Wagner & Brown Auditorium in the AFA, which holds 248. Currently the next largest meeting space is the Chaparral Center, which seats 5,500.

The new buildings are expected to bring new technology to MC. The ECHS building is planned to have much needed science labs and electronics (such as computer labs) in order to meet all of their students’ needs. The PPDC is also in need of up-to-date technology and space to function and grow.

The general buzz around campus is excitement about the potential of growth for MC.

ECHS relations at MC continue smoothly

The relationship between Midland College and Early College High School continues to be smooth, but fissures remain for some students and professors.

Student Judith Alvarez said she felt as if she was being looked down upon.

“Most college students don’t realize which students are a part of ECHS until we actually tell them, then they distance themselves from us as if we had a bad case of contagious flu,” she said. “I’d rather not say I’m from ECHS because then the chances of actually making friends and bonding with my teachers improves.”

MC has attempted to make the students feel apart from the rest, when forcing them to say whether they are a part of ECHS during class introductions at the beginning of the semester. Results have shown that ECHS students have been making some of the best grades in their classes because of their effort to succeed.

However, Mario Rascon another current student from ECHS said, “I have been treated the same as any other student, and the professors don’t really tell me anything, as long as I’m passing that’s all they really care about. Besides, I don’t give them the reason to set me aside from the rest of class; I just try to blend in.”

Other early college students don’t have a bad time in their college classes; it’s just certain professors and students who make ECHS students feel left out. Students have obviously had different experiences with other professors and has not been a big problem or concern.

MC college student Gabriel Beltran said that he doesn’t realize the difference between ECHS students and MC students. “I also can’t blame them for their effort to succeed; they are around the same age and might even be at a higher education level than most college students.”

MC has had to deal with students who are still in high school and haven’t gone over all the course work covered in high school, according to Rascon. They have had to delay the course a couple of lectures back due to revision on work that should have been done, he said.

However, some students have been able to adapt to the bigger load of homework and the faster rate of lecturing in class.

“ECHS students do make good grades on average, but it does take them a bit of time to get the hang of it,” Rascon said. “Both sides have had their pros and cons, but they have managed to get along in the most part and together have formed a really nice college; they bring out the best out of one another.”

MC professor Simon Cornell equalizes students in his classes. “I don’t treat them any different, as long as they are in my class to learn it doesn’t matter whether they’re seventeen or eighty-seven,” he said. “Grades depend on the individual; I once had a guy that made great grades; he was honestly a bright kid. I have never had any animosity between the students in any of my classes.”

ECHS teacher Sharon Allison offers this advice: “ECHS students shouldn’t really mind what others have to say about them; they should focus on getting done with their classes with high passing grades. They got into the school to succeed in the future so why should they let someone discourage them just because they might be jealous they didn’t get the same opportunity.”

“If these teenagers at this age have the desire to move forward and expect something big and better for themselves why should they let others take that dream away from them,” Allison said.

All around the world they will meet people of all kinds but they just have to worry about themselves and try to move forward along the path of their life, she said. Every once in a while they will make a friend or even find the love of their life. But if an altercation were to happen it’s not the end of their lives, life goes on.

 

Midland College Club Fair

The recent 2014 Midland College Club, did not only grow in the number of organizations and clubs, but also grew in the amount of involvement and reaching out to encourage Midland College students.

Students who were and are looking for a chance to get involved with the community had their chance. Students registered for an MC club or volunteered with some local non-profits.

Stephanie VanCuren, coordinator of student activities, said: “We weres just really trying to get students involved on campus and as well as the community. We have a total of 39 organizations here today and about half of those are Midland College organizations and the other half are nonprofits in the community seeking volunteers.”

VanCuren also said that there were a few new clubs and organizations that joined the MC ranks. “ Hmm I think I had either four or five that will be starting this year and I believe there might be more that  will start this year as well,” she said.

For instance, a new club that began this year was the Rotaract Club. The local club adviser, Tiffany Blakely, described this club as a service club, with the goal to help the community.

“We will do different projects like help the disabled; they do this special show on Friday mornings at the air show and also another project we will volunteer at is the September Fest,” she said. Rotaract members can volunteer locally and internationally, build career contacts, develop leadership skills, network with service-minded people worldwide, and make new friends with lots of fun.

Each year there are different expectations so that the students will stay involved and reach out to more people.

“We have a few different organizations this year and a few more organizations then we had last year,” she said. Different meaning new ones that have never been before such as the Life Center, Teen Flow; ones we have invited but maybe just didn’t need volunteers in the past and they do this year so they came out.”

Some students gave their opinion on whether they enjoyed club fair.

Student Makenzie Burhart said, “This is my first year here at Midland College and I felt welcomed by the club fair; it was extremely welcoming and I learned that to just get what they hand you and gain the knowledge of each organization.

Student Tati Garza agreed. “It was really fun and I will definitely come next year with some people to inform them about the clubs, plus free food!”

Getting students involved in a club and creation of new clubs is cumbersome, VanCuren said. “Getting involved depends on the organization. For example I am the adviser for student government, and so for student government, you can attend three consecutive meetings or get a petition and have 25 signatures from Midland College students.

Other organizations may just have you join them by attending their meetings; it just really depends on their constitution or by-laws. To start a club on campus, sponsors need a minimum of 10 MC students, and a full time faculty staff adviser. A registration form is filled out, sent in along with a constitution and/ or by-laws and then we do risk management training which is state mandated for advisers.”

Blood, sweat, rock and roll

Avoiding heat stroke and dehydration, going home covered in bruises, sweat (some that isn’t your own), and finding sunburns in places most people wouldn’t think possible might not be everyone’s definition of a great day. Those people have obviously never been to Vans Warped Tour. This summer, I had the privilege of experiencing all of those things twice.

Both times, I got in line between 8 and 9 a.m. General admission gates open at 11 a.m. My group and I donated $5 to the Feed The Children organization, which allowed us to get through the gates an hour before the general admission line. The organization also accepts canned good donations which allow donators to get in early as well.

People taking the donations either stamp the hands of the ones donating or give them wrist bands so they can get into a designated line. I recommend donating. Not only will you be helping a great organization, but you get to find the merchandise tents and stages you need to be at throughout the day before any bands start playing.

Bands usually hold their meet and greets at their merch tent, but some hold their signings at sponsor tents, such as Trojan and Alternative Press magazine. Finding out where signings take place early in the day helps lower the levels of panic. Sometimes you need to purchase an item from a specific band’s tent or need a wrist band, which are given to a limited number of people, in order to meet the band. Trust me, you need to find those things out quickly because items go fast.

I went to Dallas, TX and Denver, CO to shed sweat, tears and layers of makeup for some of my favorite bands. Both dates were more fun than I could have ever imagined. Though Denver’s crowds were significantly rougher than the ones in Dallas, I wouldn’t trade any hit I took to the rib cage or kick to the back of my head from a crowd surfer for anything. I was in front for every band I watched in Denver, minus one. After eleven hours, I didn’t have any fight left in me by the time the last band played.

There were more than 90 bands playing, and I saw 13 of them. I didn’t get to watch every band play that I wanted because some of my favorites were scheduled to go on stage at the same time on different stages, or their set times were really close together. Choosing between bands was one of the most heartbreaking decisions I’ve ever had to make. Sorry Atilla, Breathe Carolina, and Crown The Empire for skipping out.

My favorite performers by far, were Falling In Reverse, Motionless In White, Icon For Hire, Issues, The Summer Set, Scare Don’t Fear, The Ready Set and Of Mice & Men. They all had incredible stage presence and put everything they had into each song they played. The crowds were vastly different for each of those bands. I thought I broke a rib and was going to collapse in the crowd for Motionless In White, while in the crowd for The Summer Set I was smiling ear to ear while forming the shape of a heart with my hands, along with everyone else.

Not only did I get to watch outstanding bands play, I got to meet a couple of them. I met Scare Don’t Fear while I was in Denver, and met Jeffree Star in Dallas, as well as Shawn Jump and Ariel Bloomer from Icon For Hire. They were all humble and friendly. It’s an indescribable feeling to hug and take pictures with someone most people only get to see in music videos.

Despite dreams coming true and being too excited to function properly, the heat was enough to knock me down from cloud nine. My sister and I spent over $30 on water alone. There was a refill station available that allowed guests to fill water bottles for free, but the lines were ridiculous, so we bought water bottles from venders.

Along with heat comes sun, and as the pasty white person I am, sunburns were unpreventable. I left both dates with second degree burns and blisters, despite reapplying sunscreen every three hours. I lasted the entire 12 hours in Dallas without sitting down to rest or take a break, but in Denver I laid in the grass next to lots of strangers who apparently couldn’t walk anymore without feeling faint either.  I had never had to shotgun water until that day.

There were girls dripping hair dye onto their shoulders and shirts, people at the back of crowds in wheelchairs and on crutches, and I saw a few people pass out. The amount of fans who fought through the heat, mosh pits and lines just to see their favorite bands and artists was incredible to see. The crowds are like one big family which understands why everyone else is there. We all connect and appreciate the bands for what they do. We’re all there for the music and our bands. The songs have touched something in our hearts that no one else ever has, and for the first time, we feel as if someone understands us.

Bands show support and acceptance that the rest of the world doesn’t. It would only be fair to give that support and acceptance back by singing along to every one of their songs and screaming from the top of our lungs. Vans Warped Tour has been active for 20 years and is still going strong. I encourage everyone to go at least once. You won’t regret it, I promise.