Durango visits Morton College

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Last week Morton College had a visit from a group of students from Durango, Mexico. Several members of Phi Theta Kappa were very enthusiastic about advising and informing the students about what the American education system is like, what our school/campus is like and much more. It was very uplifting to see how well our PTK members not only served the group by answering any questions they had, but also made them feel welcomed by being genuinely friendly, what our campus is all about!

The event started out by having Jaime Lopez introduce himself and some opening remarks about Morton College. Afterwards, one by one, all PTK volunteers introduced themselves, their academic/career goals and something interesting about themselves, to break the ice.

There was an instant personal connection, seeing that many of our student’s come from Mexican heritage. Even some of our volunteers came from the same pueblo or rancho as some of the Durango students!

After telling a little about ourselves, as volunteers, we spread out to sit with the Durango students in separate groups and had some interpersonal communication. In our groups, we were to talk about different topics regarding education, our school, our experience and more. We then shared to the entire room our questions and important ideas from the discussion.

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Considering that a lot of what we talked about could be of help to many of our new students, I’d like to share some Q and A’s;

Q: How is college completion measured?

A: Here, we measure the number of accumulated credit hours.

This explains why two people can be taking the same class on different schedules, even though one person can go on MWF for 50 minutes, and another person goes TTH for 1 hour and 15 minutes, at the end, it accumulates the same time, thus the same credit hours. The number of credit hours needed to graduate depends what degree you are focusing on.

Q: What different academic programs does Morton College offer?

A: We offer certificate programs that can get you an entry-level job, such as nurse assisting, automotive service and more.

Furthermore, we offer different Associates degrees for those that wish to pursue a Bachelor’s degree once they transfer to a 4-year university. The associate’s degree will generally cover the general education classes and electives necessary for undergraduate students.

Q: What’s the difference between a 4-year and a 2-year school?

A: The difference between both is that in a 2-year school, usually, one would have to transfer out to receive a bachelor’s degree, and the options in the school programs are limited.

Although, there is benefits to a 2-year college; lower tuition, usually smaller class size (Morton College has a Student/Faculty ratio of about 22:1), which makes it easier to get 1-on-1 help.

Q: How can I pay for college?

A: Financial aid is available to those who are U.S citizens, and the amount varies, depending on your (or your family’s) income. Morton College does offer payment plans and school scholarships as well.

Q: Why is it important to apply for scholarships?

A: Scholarships are money that you won’t have to pay back, unlike loans. Except for certain scholarships, there is usually not a limit on how many you can apply for and some scholarships are even renewable. Applying or being accepted for a scholarship won’t exclude you or limit your chances for other scholarships. Remember to do your research and look for scholarships that you meet the requirements/criteria for.

After sharing some ideas and answering questions, each one of our PTK members mentioned some words of wisdom for our visitors to keep in mind, some ideas mentioned were;

“It’s okay to not know what you want to study, of course it can be challenging and even intimidating to feel the pressure of having to choose a career, but remember that the first classes you take are general education courses and electives, so that gives you more time to explore various subjects.” –Karen Ferrel

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“Never feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help! Use the school’s resources, like the Individual Learning Center, Student Success Center and Peer-Tutoring. After all, the school offers these to help you become a better student.”

-Iris Rodriguez

cropped-morton-student-center1.jpg“Remember to never let anyone deviate you from what you are passionate about, follow what makes you happy” –Jacquelin Padilla

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“Work hard and remember to have fun along the way.” –Gerardo Arias

 

After the words of wisdom from each PTK volunteer, there was a lunch held in the Student Union where both our students and Durango students shared ideas about college and their life experiences. Seeing the success and magnitude of this event, I  hope it continues to be something Morton College can keep doing next year and after that, hopefully in the future with various groups of international students!

Special thanks to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Derek Shouba., Mrs. Avalos., Mr. McLaughlin., Mr. Fields., Mr. Drury., Jaime Lopez for being our host/speaker., and all of our PTK volunteers that did an amazing job at portraying Morton College as the friendly and caring environment that we are; Cintya Ruiz, Giselle Castaneda, Yaritza Sosa, Jacquelin Padilla, Karen Ferrel, Gerardo Arias, Karina Pina, Fanny Xelhua, Clarissa Marmolejo, Ana Ibarra.

 

 

 

 

 

Perks of Being a Bookworm

By Mara Galeno

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“I don’t like reading” is probably a common thing we hear from others when bringing up the topic of reading. Why do people not read? Why don’t they like reading?

It all goes back to our education. In school, we are always taught to analyze and read between the lines of every single book. Some of us are told to keep a reading log and read a certain number of books in a certain amount of time to keep up with our grade.

I, for one, loathed reading back in 6th grade when I had to keep a reading log and write a page summary of every single book I read–a total of about 40 books for the whole school year.

Wanting to get over the irksome assignments, I decided to scan through the books instead of taking my time to read; ultimately, killing the joy of reading.

Unlike myself, two of my best friends loved reading. They would often read a book and discuss it in my class with each other. Feeling left out, I asked what book they were reading. They immediately handed me a copy of “The Hunger Games” followed by an enthusiastic look on their faces saying, “You have to read it!” and so I did.

I’ve never felt so much thrill while reading a book. It was exhilarating. I continued reading the trilogy and became intrigued. I wanted to pursue my new-found love for reading.

I became a frequent reader and was known as a “bookworm” in high school. My peers would often catch me walking in the hallways reading a new book or two every week (and witnessed my knack for walking without tripping as I would read).

By reading, I noticed a change in how quickly I would read, gained an extensive vocabulary, developed remarkable spelling and grammar skills, and most importantly:   a tremendous method of entertainment and stress-relief.

So why read? Reading can help for a vast amount of reasons such as improving in your academics, your work environment, health, and entertainment.

A great way to improve academically is by reading. When you read, you are reading a book the author wrote–a professional with an extensive knowledge on language arts and proficiency in writing. You tend to see words you aren’t familiar with and you create a definition from the context given. You develop the author’s use of vocabulary, and you witness how sentences are formed and how they use punctuation.

A vital skill you pick up from reading a book is comprehension. As you read, you discover what it is the author wants you to know, how certain topics and ideals made you feel, and summarize the book in your own words with your own opinion on it.

Being able to gain all those skills can really help when you’re put to the test. According to the American Library Association, “Fourth grade students who read for fun every day score the highest on reading assessment tests.”

Reading can be very beneficial when it comes to working. Before you even apply for a job, you must write a résumé. With your acquired knowledge of reading and absorbing the author’s writing skills, you can be able to write your résumé to seem more appealing in comparison to those of other job applicants.

Reading can also improve your speech and communication skills–which is essential in the workplace, while in an interview or speaking with your boss, co-workers, or customers.

Reading can help you sleep. When you create a habit of reading every night, you condition yourself to sleep–especially if you struggle sleeping. Once you pick up a book at night, your brain will automatically relax and subconsciously get ready for slumber.

Picking up a book and reading can benefit your health. Stress reduction is one of many. Figuratively, reading has the ability to mentally transfer you to another place and escape from your surroundings.

Reading may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation website, “Reading books and magazines, writing and participating in other mentally stimulating activities, no matter your age, can help to keep memory and thinking skills intact. The findings of a new study add to growing evidence that mental challenges like reading and doing crossword puzzles may help to preserve brain health and stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s in old age.”

Lastly, my all-time favorite reason to read is for entertainment reasons! There’s no better feeling than getting sucked into a book. After reading for hours and hours as I use my imagination based off the words displayed on a book. Reading is one of the best methods for entertainment, especially when one starts binge reading and can’t put the book down (like Netflix when you can’t stop watching a show, but better, I promise!)

There’s so much detail and so much imagery in a book that you can’t quite catch when you’re watching TV.

“If you don’t like reading, you haven’t found the right book.”

(J.K. Rowling).

I guarantee that there is a book out there for you yet to love and enjoy.

Now that you know the benefits of reading, you may be wondering how you can start developing it as a hobby.

Visiting a library regularly or a bookstore can help increase your chances to read. You are offered a wide selection of books as well as a quiet space to concentrate while reading.

Keeping your book in hand, on your phone, or tablet and taking it to places with you helps promote reading; especially when you’re waiting in a long line, in a bus, train, or Uber, at a waiting room, or even when eating lunch.

Having a friend or even a blog to express your thoughts and ideas can also keep you motivated to keep reading and even gain more book suggestions from people who enjoyed the book you did.

You can also reward yourself by reading. If reading has been a struggle of a hobby you’ve been wanting to pick up, you can always treat yourself to something you want to propel reading.

Remember, don’t force yourself to read a book if you don’t like it. Read the first 30 to 50 pages of a book, and if it doesn’t catch your interest, simply put it down and search for another book.

If you really need motivation to read, check out 4-year- old Daliyah Arana’s story about reading over 1,000 books before entering preschool and hopes to read another 500 more before she starts kindergarten.

Reading is a habit worth picking up and the benefits that come with it are countless. Creating it a habit can be easier than you think, and it is a good investment of your time. Improve your test scores, gain communication skills, relax and unwind, and simply entertain yourself with a good book of your choice; you won’t regret it.

Meet Your New Editor-in-Chief

by Collegian Staff

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The Morton Collegian is pleased to introduce Irisneida Rodriguez, our new Editor-in-Chief. We sat down to get to know her this week.

What brings you to Morton College?

I live nearby and decided I wanted to save some money. I graduated with the class of 16’ from Morton East High School. I always knew I would attend college—I excel in academics and like to learn. Today, I am pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Arts with plans to major in either Sociology or Psychology.

Why are you interested in journalism?

I would always write a lot, and honestly, meeting the word requirement wasn’t my problem because I usually surpassed it, anyway. My Sociology Prof. Mr. Drury has motivated me into considering writing for the Morton Collegian.

What are some issues that you care about?

There are many social issues that are interesting to me and worth writing and learning about. I am an advocate of Feminism, Black Lives Matter and the Defend DACA movements. In Sociology, the Conflict Theory as well as Symbolic Interactionism catch my attention. I plan to share my personal views about these topics.

Help us with that. Many students haven’t heard of Symbolic Interactionism!

Symbolic Interactionism is, in general, a study of how we interact on a day to day basis, in our interpersonal relationships, based on the meanings we give to symbols. A symbol could be a degree as a symbol of success, widely accepted by society, so we don’t really question it anymore. Another example could be red hearts as symbols of love. I’m fascinated by how these symbols develop and what they really mean.

What are your plans for after Morton College?

I plan to transfer to University of Illinois at Chicago to obtain a Bachelors in Sociology (or Psychology) with perhaps a minor in Journalism. I feel so undecided because I have so many subject areas that interest me; that explains how I went from an Associates in Science to and Associates in Liberal Arts, as that program offers more areas I could consider.

How Does DACA Affect You?

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By Collegian Staff

Will the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals affect you, your family or a loved one? The Collegian is interested in your story. If necessary, we’ll keep your story anonymous; however, we’re very interested in what impact this legal action will have on our community, and we want to give students, staff, faculty and others a chance to be heard.

If you would like to share your opinion, story or experience, please contact our staff at this e-mail address. We’ll arrange for an interview.

Local Politician and Activist Come to Morton College to Talk Politics and the Importance of Being Involved

20170405_112448By Domingo Xavier Casanova

On Wednesday, two local Latino politicians and activists spoke to college students at a Morton College Open Forum on the importance of becoming involved in politics and being aware of what’s occurring in the world.

Chicago City Council Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, (who is Alderman of the 35th District and one of the youngest Alderman at 26) said he was drawn to politics because of his love for Chicago and because he wanted to ensure that “the people in the neighborhoods were the ones represented in City Hall.”

Ramirez-Rosa was joined by Angelica Alfaro, a community organizer, and former Illinois State Senator candidate. Alfaro grew up in Humboldt Park and emphasized her decision to come back to Chicago after college to work for change, saying: “A lot of people say you made it when you leave, you made it when you stay.”

The two sat side-by-side as they spoke to the crowd of students, answering questions about politics and the political process curated by Professor Drury, a Sociology professor. Veronica Fernandez, a Morton College student, assisted in gathering questions from students to ask aloud.

Both Ramires-Rosa and Alfaro agreed that the political process is not being actively pursued by American citizens, and some may be turned off by American politics, especially, as Alfaro noted, “after what happened in November,” referring to the election of Donald Trump as U.S President.

However, both emphasized that American citizens, especially minorities, such as the Hispanic community, need to let their voice be heard by either getting elected to public office or pushing for change. Ramirez-Rosa said, “We need to get more people from our generation to have a seat at the table…” in order to ensure positive change for their communities.

As a result of having the forum, students reported feeling more knowledgeable and had positive approaches to getting involved in political affairs.

Christian Operza said that the event enlightened him to the fact that they [politicians] are not just white people running for office and made him “want to volunteer for some campaign or something.”

Angel Sanchez said that he was impressed with Ramirez-Rosa, who is openly gay, and said it was “Pretty cool” that someone in the LGBT community was in Chicago politics. However, he did add that although he found it interesting, “it didn’t really motivate (him) to become part of politics…”

The debate and continuing need to get young adults involved in the political process will continue into the foreseeable future. Alfaro had a simple answer when asked what piece of advice she would give to a student who is interested in doing politics: “Do it.”

Open Forum: Knowing the Rights and Needs of Undocumented Students 

20170308_111133By Veronica Fernandez

An open forum was hosted on March 8th in the Student Union that allow the Morton College community to be informed of the rights of undocumented individuals, along with having the opportunity to voice their needs.

Prior to the forum’s start, available to students were an array of documents that included lists of rights written in different languages and lists of immigration attorneys.

First to present in the forum was student trustee, Andrea Chavarria. She guided the audience through a sideshow with information on the recent shift of policies and laws, what can be done if ICE comes to your home, the validity of arrest and search warrants, and constructing a family plan. Students were attentively listening and actively participating by asking questions.

After the informational portion of the forum sociology professor, Benjamin Drury, lead an interactive discussion on the particular needs of undocumented students of Morton College. Here students gathered into groups and discussed the different ways in which undocumented student’s fears and apprehensions could be alleviated when in school. A student suggested that professors discuss and perhaps become knowledgeable about immigration here in the country. Another student suggested that students should take it upon themselves to learn about the topic and to live with caution rather than fear.

As the forum came to a close, professor Drury encouraged participants to “Continue the conversations that you started here today.”

Re-purposing the Second Floor of the Morton College Library Continues

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By Veronica Fernandez

As the two-year plan of the re-purposing of the second-floor of the Morton College Library rapidly occurred last semester, students and faculty were left to wonder what exactly was going to be placed in the newly appointed Student Success Center.

Several student forums also took place last semester to notify students of the changes to the second floor of the library. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and gave their opinion on the matter.

Last October, initial statistics released by the library stated that the second-floor collection of books was going to be reduced by 50%. However, in newly revised statistics, it was shown that of 55,000 items, less than 18,000 were “weeded” or pulled from the shelves, less than the percentage reduction originally released. The weeding process was done in the span of three weeks. The whereabouts of the books pulled are in an unknown storage location on campus, it is still unclear what will be done with them.

Cristal Aranda, a library student aide, led a petition of nearly 500 signature to halt the process of the re-purposing. She noted that not enough light was shed on the plans for the transformation. “Students still don’t know this is going on” she commented.

A Student Success Center Committee has been developed to further develop proposals that students will be given the opportunity to comment on. Leading this committee is psychology professor and ILC (Individual Learning Center) director Robert Wood. The committee consists of seven members that include a reference librarian, full-time faculty members, an adjunct instructor and tutor, a testing and assessment specialist, a dean, and finally the director of ILC.

The second floor of the library currently consists of an open space with study tables and study rooms that are available on a first come first serve basis.