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Back-to-School Guide 2016

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Back-to-School Guide 2016

Posted on 01 August 2016 by admin

The PDF version of the 2016 Back-to-School Guide Continue Reading

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Posted on 04 May 2016 by admin

View the full issue for May 5, 2016

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Costs and other college conundrums

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin

The sad truth about being an art student  Continue Reading

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Finding the edge

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin

Locating success before the big commencement speech 


Staff Writer


Earn a university degree and get a job: this formula has worked with relative success for over fifty years. Increasingly, however, in many fields today the formula is no longer works.

This is because of the recent credential inflation — inflation due to the fact that so many more people today are enrolled in college than in the past.

In fact, the number of students enrolled in college has doubled since 1996.

Most people think the best way to combat this trend is by going to school longer than their counterparts. More school equals more opportunity, evidently. While this theory is not incorrect, it will land someone fresh into the workforce with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. More school does not need to be the answer.

Employers are looking for things other than a piece of paper when seeking the future employees of their business.

So instead of going back to school and going further into debt, do the things that will set you apart from someone who holds the same degree as you.

One way to do this is to get yourself involved. Universities create and provide a bounty of opportunities on campus to get involved in; particularly clubs, fraternities and other extracurricular programs. It is not enough to just be in these programs. If you want to seem like the well-rounded candidate to an employer, you need to take positions of influence to leave your imprint on your campus.

Many have graduated all degree fields with 4.0 GPAs but very few have sent email after email to get the funding a club needed for that trip to the New York convention.

You are setting yourself apart from your classmates and showing determination instead of wasting a seat in a university class you could have taken online at home. Furthermore, keeping your grades up along with displaying involvement shows versatility and management skills: both skills that are imperative in the workplace.

Another way to set yourself apart is to delve into your area of work. Get yourself known among those in the field you are pursuing before you graduate.

If you want to be a doctor like myself, a good way to do this is to shadow any doctor that can stand you.

Start with your doctor and then ask him to refer you to another doctor.

Be thirsty for the knowledge these doctors have obtained over the years that could never be learned in the classroom.

It might also work to become an assistant for someone in your field. Becoming a nurse’s assistant may not be glamorous, but you will constantly be in the setting you are working towards – the one described in your textbooks. Take notes, listen, stay late, come early, never be afraid to ask what else you can do.

Even if 99 percent of what you do is ignored, you still have the one percent edge that sets you apart from everyone else.

You know what else you will have?

Peace of mind in knowing you have become confident in your field. This swagger will show in your interview and be the light to the employer’s dark cloud of doubt.

While knowing your stuff is obviously crucial in any skilled profession, getting your foot in the door can be a lock difficult to pick. But if you do everything you can and take advantage of every opportunity that arises, you will find that many of the keys to that lock are not found in textbooks.


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Unsurpassable mountains: knowing when to move on

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin

What to do when big dreams die


Opinions Editor


One of the hardest things we can do in life is accept the fact that sometimes we do not get what we want.

This April would have marked the year I graduated college. If things had gone the way I had planned, I would have been buying my cap and gown and mailing my graduation announcements; I would have been sending out resumes and thinking about the next step of my career. Instead, I am in the same place I have been for some time now: making a road map of where I went wrong, and trying to figure out exactly how to get to where I want to be. It is hard not to feel discouraged when our lives follow a course so different from the one we envisioned, and yet we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. We are allowed to grieve for the years we lost to our specific, personal circumstances, but we cannot let them hold us back.

I realized halfway through my sophomore year of college that I was sick — really sick. At the time, I lived in Arizona and my parents lived here in St. Louis. Because I needed their help and support, I decided to move back in with them, and when I did I practically started over in school.

Then, sometime last semester, I realized I was extremely unhappy with the degree path I was taking; I just could not accomplish what I needed to in order to move forward.

Knowing that switching my major would push me back even further, I decided to do so anyway, hoping it would benefit me in the long-run.

So far, it has been a good decision for me, but it is still hard to think about how far behind I am, and how that might allow me to be perceived by other people. I have always cared too much about what other people think of me, and I have always allowed that to affect my perception of myself.

Still, I know I am not alone in dealing with personal obstacles. It is something that happens to almost everyone — and frequently.

All my life, cooking has been my father’s passion, and he worked really hard throughout my childhood to advance in his career and achieve his own goals. Then, sometime two years ago, a review of his cooking was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; zero out of five stars, the food critic said. This devastated him.

His career and his own self-esteem are still recovering from the blow. Where would he go from there? What would he do next?

Thirty years of stress and sacrifice sabotaged by a journalist with a with a mean vocabulary and a keyboard.

It is a bitter pill to swallow when we realize that our dreams probably will not happen to us.

For some, that realization is a major heartbreak; however, it does not mean that we cannot make new dreams — that we cannot adapt and change and evolve into better and more successful people. The harder our obstacles, the more experienced we become — the more capable we are of handling what happens next.

Sometimes our achievements are not as satisfying as we had hoped, but that does not mean they are bad. It just means they are different than we would have envisioned.

Do not become discouraged by the challenges that present themselves in times of hardship. Instead, take the lessons we are given from these experiences and know — deep inside your bones — that just because something did not happen the way you wanted it to does not mean that you have failed. Failure is not a delayed graduation; failure is not a bad review. Failure is what happens when we do not move forward, and instead let our burdens keep us from finding a new path.

I can say with complete honesty that no one I know who has attempted to better themselves has failed. Maybe they have not done what they initially set out to do; maybe they were set back once, twice or dozens of times before they found a steady rhythm. Regardless of how long it took or how many times they had to fall before they found their footing, the people I know who see a better opportunity and attempt to grasp it for themselves are the people who live the most successful lives. So fall; graduate late or never; get that bad review. Whatever you do, just do not stop.


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Mental illness awareness leads to acceptance: A lifetime of experience

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin

Focus on Ability club guest speaker, Sharon Lyon, works to end stigma of mental illness


By: Jason Waters
Production Manager


The Focus on Ability club provides a welcoming and supportive community for students with a mental illness, physical disability, or learning disability, vice president Kyle Kluzynski said.

On Wednesday, March 30, speakers from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) were welcomed to Meramec.

“We want people to understand what it’s like to live with a mental illness so they can empathize with those who are undergoing it,” Kluzynski said. “And for those who are undergoing mental illness themselves, this presentation can provide a valuable outlet and insight into the lives of others who have dealt with similar problems. So we hope that they can learn perhaps coping strategies and more importantly that they are not alone.”

The Focus on Ability club is here to help students feel welcome with whatever disability they are struggling with, Kluzynski said.

Sharon Lyons, Director of volunteering for NAMI, spoke at the event.

“NAMI focuses on education support and
advocacy for people with mental illness and their family members. We do support groups. For education we do a variety of different classes and talks like we did today. We do public policy advocacy, advocating for better treatment for people with mental illness. Laws that would help improve the lives of people with mental illness,” Lyons said.

Lyons suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

In her spare time, she likes to read, watch movies, take photos and collect antique purses, she said. But her dark days were many during the years of 1993 and 1994.

“I was working for the federal government. I had
a very successful job there as a manager with a lot of responsibilities. I felt good about myself
and what I was doing. I started to have delusions about one of the men that I work with. At the time I didn’t know they were delusions of course. That’s one of the symptoms of my illness,” Lyons said.

“I thought this man wanted to marry me. I thought that people were talking in code, I had
to decode what they were saying and I took a word here and a word here and put it together and came up with this idea that this man was in love with me and wanted to marry me,” she said.  “One day I made an announcement to my group that we were getting married and I had to leave because married people couldn’t be on the same team. This was all news to him. He had no idea.”

To be able to finally accept her mental illness has been a long process, Lyons said.

“Sometimes I still doubt it actually. But I read a lot about my diagnoses and can see myself in some of the symptoms,” Lyons said.

Back in 1994, Lyons felt like everybody else.

“People just didn’t understand that me and this man just had to get together and talk about this – this was all just some big mistake.
I kept saying that over and over again so it took me a
long time to realize that what I was saying
was all in my head,” Lyons said. “Nobody else could see it. Nobody else could really understand it. I feel lucky that I found a psychiatrist that helped me a lot. I felt tremendous guilt and shame about where it happened. He helped me in getting over that.”

It was difficult for her to find treatment, Lyons said. At the time, she had no job, no money and no insurance.

“I went through the phonebook and made phone call after phone call and finally did find somebody. I felt very lucky that he did take me at the time – during my condition I didn’t know
how I was going to pay him.
He was very empathetic. He was very patient
with me,” Lyons said.

“I had trouble trusting him. It was part of my illness also. I was paranoid. I was afraid to take the medicine but
slowly I did start to take the medicine. It worked pretty quickly. My thoughts
cleared up. I realized some of things that I had done, how wrong they were.
I also realized that there was hope to go forward, that I knew what was wrong with me.”

Growing up, Lyons always felt that she was a little different than other people.

“But I realized at this
point that I could go
forward with this illness
and I didn’t have to look
back. I didn’t have to wonder what was wrong with me anymore. It had a name and it had a treatment. The treatment did work for me, it worked really well,” Lyons said.

When Lyons started to feel better, she went attended a support ground for people with schizophrenia.

“One of the things that helped me cope, besides the medication, was being able
to sit down and talk to other people who had the same diagnoses that I had. Some of the people were taking the same medicines that I had, we talked about medications and side effects and how to cope
with side effects. It gave me something to do – people to talk to and make friends with,” Lyons said.

“For me my work is my main success. I was able to start a new program at NAMI
called Opening Doors to Spirituality which we do once a year to talk about how spirituality can help with mental illness recovery. I’ve been able to make good friends at NAMI,” Lyons said.

Lyons still hopes to get married someday.

“I never did get married. I have a good relationship with my son although I don’t see him as much as I would like to. He is doing well, doesn’t have any signs of mental illness. I would like to work more
on eliminating the stigma of mental illness and dream one day there is no more stigma that people with mental illness can be treated the same as people with any other type of disability,” Lyons said.

Lyons would tell individuals recently diagnosed with a disorder to reach out for help, she said.

“There is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t feel
ashamed or guilty. That’s a big thing that I had to get
over. It’s a big thing for a lot of people to get over, the shame and guilt of it,” Lyons said. “There is hope.”


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The Montage receives awards at Missouri Media College Association

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin

Campus newspaper attends MCMA convention and walks away with achievements




The Montage was recently recognized with 25 awards at the Missouri College Media Association’s annual convention and awards ceremony, held April 9 at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

The Montage received 1st place for its Back to School Guide, 1st place win for its website, 3rd place in the Sweepstakes category, 3rd place for the Best Overall Newspaper in the 2-year college division and 22 additional staff and individual awards.

The Montage staff competed against several other two-year school newspapers from across the state. Entries in the competition were judged for general excellence by members of the Missouri Press Association.


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Posted on 20 April 2016 by admin

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Peace brought in the form of justice: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s story of recovery

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Peace brought in the form of justice: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s story of recovery

Posted on 31 March 2016 by admin

Radovan Karadzic, Serbian armed forces leader, sentenced to crimes commited in war 21 years ago


Bombs, screams and saddened souls lined the cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina for an elongated three-and-a-half years. A horrific ethnic war did not allow children to play outside with friends, nor did it allow simple peace of mind to the typical citizen.

Bright, red roofs were turned a dark black. Pure, green rivers turned red. Smiles turned into frowns — into cries for help. My home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina was torn apart and has since been putting the pieces back together.

For those unaware, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was named the most brutal conflict in Europe since WWII. It involved conflict between Bosnian Muslims, Croatians and Serbians and the “cleansing” of Muslims. Fire began as soon as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s independence was recognized on April 7, 1992.

The United Nations (UN) did not want any involvement in this conflict but did deliver humanitarian aid. The UN also later dictated a number of “safe areas.”

Srebrenica, a town in Bosnia, suffered the most.  When the “Srebrenica Massacre” took place, the town was considered a safe area, but in July 1995 this “safe area” was anything but.

A massacre where more than 8,000 Bosnian men were slayed under the command of Serbian armed forces leader Radovan Karadzic. The UN failed to protect the area.

Almost five months later, on Dec. 14, 1995, the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in France, legally ending the war. Although bombing did not stop right away this was one step closer to peace.

Over the course of three-and-a-half years, more than 100,000 lives were taken — 11,541 being children and about 80,000 being Bosnian Muslims.

More than 100,000 citizens were killed simply because of their religion and what they believed in. More than 100,000 lives taken, but millions of souls left hollow. Mothers left without children, children left without mothers; fathers, brothers, sisters – family. Millions of souls were left with nothing but horror, tears and pieces of their hearts to pick up and try to mend back together.

Having a father who stood tall and strong to defend his country, a father who almost died for it, I reflect on stories told to me by my parents more often than not.

“We were attacked without a reason, we were attacked for who we were,” my mom said.

Stories from my mom are difficult to listen to. One incident took place shortly after my brother was born but before I was. She told me how she ran to my dad as he was lying on the ground from a grenade explosion, almost bleeding to death.

“I ran to him as fast as I could. I picked his head up and he was able to muster out the words, ‘take care of our son,’ – I thought I would never be able to speak to him again,” she said.

She told me how she was able to somehow get a moving car to stop for her, and take him to the hospital. His recovery process was long and arduous.

The day-to-day basis during the war was gruesome. My parents had to block all the doors and windows with mattresses and big, strong wooden boards so bullets would not get through.

“It was always dark,” she said.

Food was a scarcity.

“It was necessary to get food for survival, but only at night where it was hard for anybody to see you. You would go to a friend’s house and try to get handfuls of anything – sugar, salt, flour,” she said.

As if being stuck in a dark house was not enough, the sound of screams coming from the outside echoed their way in.

“You would hear shots being fired, followed by screams. You knew people were dying right outside of your house,” she said. “You would pray you weren’t next.”

Besides stories from my parents, I hear them from close friends. My best friend, who lost her sister to this war, reflects on stories from her parents as well.

“It was a clear day — the way my mom remembers it —it was a quiet day,” she said. “A lot of the neighbors had let kids play outside because they had been stuck inside all day.”

Her mom was scrubbing a rug outside when her daughter kept nagging at her to go outside and play.

“My mom was very worrisome but my dad’s sister convinced her to let her child go outside and play with the other kids,” she said. “She was only four years old, of course every kid wanted to go outside and play.”

After a  bath and a hair-combing, she was allowed to go outside.

“They were playing for a long, long time that my mom had even forgotten because it was so nice –  the sound of kids laughing and kicking around a deflated ball,” she said.

The sound of a bomb came next.

“You know — the ‘weeee’ sound — and in the moment you kind of think it’ll fall somewhere else. All the adults rushed to the front of the house and saw their children running toward them in fear,” she said. “As they’re running, my sister is holding hands with another girl. The bomb falls and there’s a big cloud of dust.”

It was hard to see anything for a moment after, she said. The mothers screamed as the smoke cleared up and ran to their children.

“She was the only one, out of all the kids” she said. “It was the smallest piece of the bomb that hit the left of her head, a little above her eye. All the doctors said she felt no pain and it was instant but that doesn’t really comfort anyone.”

Her body spent the night in the garage under white sheets until the priest came for a washing of her body and a proper burial.

“Her burial was done very soon after – bombs echoed throughout the day – but nobody cared. My dad said ‘if it was meant for me to die as I’m burying my child then so be it,’” she said.

If my own dad was not tough and my mom was not quick, I would not be here today.

If children were only allowed to play outside in a safe environment, my best friend would have a sister, her parents would have another daughter. I cannot even begin to speak for the thousands of innocent people who have lost their loved ones and still feel the undeniable ache from it, right down to their bones.

Over 100,000 lives were taken during this war and on Thursday, March 24, 2016 – 21 years after the war has ended – Radovan Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Karadzic was guilty of numerous crimes — murder, extermination and unlawful attacks being a few. Although this brought a type of justice — it does not bring back lives lost and it does not obliterate painful memories. What this does, though, is impart hope for the Bosnian Muslim community. This introduces a gateway of hope for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future, a step forward.

To say 40 years is not enough may be true, but this is also no reason for anger —Karadzic will die in prison.

As of now, Bosnia and Herzegovina — the country I was born in, the country that is so dear to my heart – is still rebuilding itself. It has and will continue to restore its bright, red roofs and beautiful landmarks.

Let us never forget the events that took place, but let us learn and grow from them. Let us achieve peace of mind we had long ago needed and turn it into something beautiful.


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Posted on 30 March 2016 by admin

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