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Gearing up for the fall

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By Kristen McLaughlin

College student studying in Park

College student studying in Park (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

Many students probably have mixed emotions about the fall semester starting, but hopefully there is a part of you that is excited to be back on campus. We hope you experienced some fun vacations, enjoyed your nights off, and spent quality time with loved ones.  As someone who just graduated from a Texas State University master’s degree program in May, I know that each semester comes along with a healthy amount of preparation.  With only a few weeks left before it is back to the daily grind of balancing school with work or other daily tasks, don’t forget to:

  • Enjoy. Do something fun during the short time you have left before school starts again. Go swimming, take a mini vacation, bake cookies, see a movie or read a good book.  Enjoy the free time you have before you get into the school routine.
  • Prepare. Research the text books and supplies you will need for your courses and purchase them in time for classes. Several professors begin assignments right away. Research your professors as well and see if they have a website with some information about the course.
  • Rest. Get plenty of rest and be prepared to adjust your schedule once classes start, especially if you are taking night classes.
  • Get organized.  Get binders and notebooks for the appropriate classes. Keep all of your course subjects separate. Organization definitely helps when you are taking college courses! Organization also extends to your computer or laptop. Create a separate folder on your desktop for each course you plan to take.
  • Practice time management.  Without a doubt, schedules quickly fill up at the beginning of the semester. With multiple projects, papers, a social life and possibly work, it is important to set a daily routine. Keep a planner and mark important dates. It is also helpful to set reminders on your computer or phone.
  • Review information. Review paper work, such as loans and degree programs, especially if this is your first semester. Ask if you have questions.
  • Talk to your advisor. Make sure you are on track with your program. Get in touch with your advisor prior to the semester if you have not already to review your semester plan and overall degree plan.
  • Watch your finances. Be prepared for additional costs such as tuition, books, supplies and school-related events. If you can cut back on eating out or something extracurricular the few weeks before school, it could be beneficial. Every little bit helps!

Important dates before the semester:

  • First day of class: Aug. 27
  • Schedule changes:  Aug. 27-Aug. 30
  • Payment deadline Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. For more information and to pay, click here.

Some helpful websites:

With preparation and a positive attitude, you could start the semester stress free! Best of luck as you start a new semester at Texas State.

Texas State RRC celebrates graduates

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By Kristen McLaughlin

graduation reception photo

Group photo at the 2011 Texas State RRC Graduation Reception

It is the time of year that can be both stressful and exciting for college seniors and final semester graduate students. The spring graduation is Thursday- Saturday for all graduating Bobcats. For the Texas State University RRC students who are graduating, services and events are available to help students celebrate and alleviate stress during this time.

Texas State University Round Rock Campus spring graduates and students who graduated in the summer or fall of 2011 are welcome to a graduation reception tomorrow from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Avery Building. Students must register. Attendees can bring a maximum of four guests. The event is free, but you must register with your Student ID to attend.  Group photographs of the graduates will be taken, but family and friends are also encouraged to bring their own cameras to take photos. The purpose of the reception is for the Round Rock campus faculty, administration and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating students who attended classes at the Round Rock location.

For busy students who need a quiet place to study, the student lounge in Avery 202 is open and there are plenty of computer labs and seating areas and study rooms throughout the Avery Building available.

Graduates may also have financial concerns and need help finding a job. There are also resources available at Texas State that can assist with this situation.  As far as a job search goes, the Texas State Career Services in San Marcos offers a variety of services to assist students and alumni. For those who are interested in entrepreneurship, there is also the Small Business Development Center located in Avery 265. There are also two other locations, one in Austin and one in San Marcos. The center offers training and advice for those who are interested in starting a small business.

Although there is so much to think about during this time, graduation is a time filled with opportunities and excitement.  Commencement will be held May 10-12 at Texas State University-San Marcos at the Strahan Coliseum, 700 Aquarena Springs Drive, San Marcos. For more information about parking and seating, click here. I look forward to seeing everyone as we celebrate the accomplishments of Texas State graduates!

Rome in 6 days or less

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Article and photos by Dr. Edna Rehbein, Ph.D., Texas State RRC Director

Dr. Rehbein's niece, Vickie, at John Cabot University

Dr. Rehbein's niece, Vickie, at John Cabot University

Over Spring Break, I traveled to Rome to visit my niece who is studying there at John Cabot University. JCU is a liberal arts university in Rome with students from various countries. My niece, Vickie, is perfecting her Italian and studying Communications there and has had an incredible semester.   The weather was perfect – a brisk 50 degrees most of the time. I made a point of actually sitting and observing the crowds, the local artists and musicians, and the incredible fountains and artwork that are found in every direction throughout the city.  Piazza Navona is my favorite.  It has three incredible fountains.

You cannot help but wonder what life must have been like there in the 1500 and 1600s when the majority of the statues and artwork were created.  The statues, fountains, and churches are massive and ornate with incredible attention to every tiny detail carved into the marble.

Bernini's St. Teresa in Ecstacy

Bernini's St. Teresa in Ecstacy

My favorite statue is Bernini’s St. Teresa in Ecstasy.  If you have seen the movie, “Angels and Demons”, you will recognize the statue from the movie.

Umbrella Trees in Rome

Umbrella Trees in Rome

And just when you finally come to grasps with the contributions and history of that period, it hits you that Rome’s history actually goes back many more centuries  and that the Roman Forum and the Coliseum represent another highly advanced era that dates back even earlier in time.  There are some gorgeous trees called the “umbrella pines” that grow on the Palatine Hill. They look like they have been pruned so they only have branches at the top, but that is actually how they grow and they tower over all the ruins.

I was especially fortunate to be in Rome at a time when 100 documents from the Pope’s Secret Archives are on exhibit in the Lux in Arcana Exhibit at the Capitolini Museum.  The exhibit includes documents from kings, czars, sultans, and other world leaders from several centuries.  Included are, the original depositions of over 200 Knights Templar in the 1200s; King Henry VIII of England’s letter requesting the Pope to grant him a divorce;  Martin Luther’s excommunication document; letters from Galileo, Bonaparte, St. Bernadette, St. Theresa, and even the Pope’s appeal for the release of prisoners from the concentration camps of WWII.  This exhibit was truly incredible.  It will be on display through September of this year.  No photographs allowed indoors, of course.

St. Peter's Square after mass

St. Peter's Square after mass

Going to Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, hearing the Pope bless the masses in various languages, watching the fervor of the crowds in St. Peter’s Square, seeing the massive Castel Sant’Angelo, and celebrating the “festa della donna” – International Women’s Day – a day when all women are treated special – were all pretty nice as well.   But while these sites were incredible, you cannot visit Rome without enjoying its culinary delights and the warm hospitality.  We had gracious service wherever we went. The food and gelato were awesome.

gelato

gelato

QR Codes on campus

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Round Rock homepage QR Code. Scan to go to our website.

By Jael Perales and Kristen McLaughlin

Social media has been a major topic of interest in the Austin/Round Rock area, especially with the annual South By Southwest Interactive Conference being held in Austin during Spring Break. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and QR Codes are among the many outlets being used and discussed.  As a university in one of the fastest growing areas with a tech savvy customer base, we are striving to implement new social media outlets at Texas State University Round Rock Campus.

This past week, we began using QR codes on the plasma screens that you see around campus. If you have a moment, please scan the QR codes to link to our social media.

QR codes are bar codes redesigned to increase the amount of information that can be stored on them. Whereas your standard bar code is 1D (i.e. it can only store information from left to right), a QR code is considered to be 2D because it stores information and can be scanned both from left to right and from top to bottom.

QR codes were first created to be used by Japanese auto makers to keep track of vehicles as they were being manufactured. However, the potential use of the codes made them ideal for marketing and promotion, and since the individuals holding the patents on QR codes agreed to allow people to create and use them free of charge, they have quickly been put to use all over the world. QR codes are like hyperlinks for the physical world, removing the need to have a computer in front of you in order to use a hyperlink. In fact, QR codes don’t have to be digital. You can print them out or even iron one onto a t-shirt and become a walking hyperlink! And no more grabbing a pen and paper to write down hyperlinks either, because QR scanner apps have been developed and can be downloaded for free to your mobile device. QRafter is a popular choice for iPhones, QR Pal and QR Droid are good choices for Android devices, and Kaywa Reader is useful for many phone varieties as well.

The QR codes you can now see on the Social Media slide displayed on the plasma screens throughout the Avery Building were developed through Microsoft Tag. They are simple and easy to make, and Microsoft Tag will allow you to make both QR codes and their own brand of codes called Tags. Tags are more customizable than QR codes as far as visual design, but the way they function is essentially the same. Microsoft Tag also provides a scanner that can read QR codes and Tags.

You can try making QR codes yourself. Create an account with Microsoft Tag or, if you just want to make one now without setting up an account, try QR Stuff. You can use them to promote your Facebook page by creating a code with the link to your page, or you can even create a hidden word scavenger hunt by using QR codes to store text instead of hyperlinks. The uses for QR codes are many, and the only limitation currently is your own imagination.

Since you are reading this post, you are obviously aware that we have recently started a blog. The blog is produced using WordPress, but there are other websites available (e.g. blogger) for those who are interested in starting a blog. Through the blog, we hope to keep students, faculty and staff updated about the university and also attract the attention of prospective students.

Students are definitely not strangers to social media. This past week, Texas State students had the chance to cover South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin through various media outlets. Shannon Delaney wrote a blog two weeks ago about this amazing opportunity.

Social media has been impacting universities and, many times, it is not even the employees who are starting the conversation. While reading a CNN article, I found a perfect example of college students driving social media about the university. The story was about Lucie Fink, a prospective student who was accepted to John Hopkins University. Wanting to get a student perspective about the university, she looked to social media. After reading the comments, she started her own social media site, Hopkins Interactive.

This is just one example of social media success at a university. Texas State University-San Marcos recently won a social media award from the Austin American-Statesman. They also have a blog, Twitter and Facebook as well as other outlets. We would like to get your input about our social media efforts and ideas you would like to see implemented. Please connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our blog. E-mail km1745@txstate.edu or jp1642@txstate.edu for more information.

Bobcat Day: Find out what it means to be a “Round Rock Bobcat”

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By Kristen McLaughlinBoko

What is the Texas State University Round Rock Campus and why should you attend? These are questions prospective students can find answers to at Bobcat Day on March 31 from 10 a.m. – noon.

Whether you are a student in graduate school, community college, high school or a full-time professional, Bobcat Day is an event you can attend for more information to consider about the campus.  A major purpose of Bobcat Day is to clarify what the Texas State University Round Rock Campus is and what programs are offered.

“A lot of people don’t understand we are an extension of Texas State and we have full service here,” Transfer and Graduate Coordinator Karen Ripley said.

Texas State University Round Rock offers junior and senior level courses within 10 bachelor’s degree programs as well as 11 master’s programs. The campus offers primarily night classes, but also has some daytime offerings. Students who complete their degree requirements at Texas State University Round Rock Campus receive their degree from Texas State University-San Marcos.

A large focus is placed on the transfer student, whether they are transferring from the San Marcos campus for location purposes or from a community college. In an effort to make it an easy transition, the Round Rock Campus is partners with Austin Community College. Staff members work with the students to ensure that they are taking all of the right classes. Bobcat Day is tailored to the transfer student and students who are returning to school after a break, although Ripley said high school is not too early to start planning and attend Bobcat Day.

What else is offered at Bobcat Day? The main objective for Bobcat Day is to assist prospective students. The prospective Bobcats will be able to meet with financial aid representatives, discuss degree plans, speak with financial aid, and preview the resources on campus.

“All of the Texas State Representatives I met were extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. You can see their passion in helping students succeed. It’s refreshing,” said Alysia Sanchez, a prospective student who has attended Bobcat Day.

In addition to getting some helpful information, students have the option of touring the beautiful campus. Although it is free, you must RSVP for Bobcat Day.

“From my point of view, Bobcat Day is such a great opportunity to meet prospective Bobcats and formulate a lasting relationship that follows through application, admittance, orientation, and eventually graduation,” Ripley said.