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Resources, community, and success in the Veteran’s Center

By Simon Thomas

As Veteran’s Day approached, Whatcom set up a memorial displayed at the Heiner Center to honor those who served in our country’s Armed Forces.
The display, however, did not provide a sense of pride in our country. It did not remind onlookers of the strength and character those who serve our country have. Instead, the display case contained 22 pairs of army boots, side by side.
The vacant boots represent the daily suicide rate for military veterans. According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, “the number of veteran deaths by suicide averages 22 per day.”
As disheartening as this statistic may be, Whatcom’s Veteran’s Center provides evidence that most veterans have a different outlook after they serve. The Veteran’s Center provides opportunity and support for those seeking education when returning to civilian life.
Jarid Corbitt, the assistant director of Veteran Services, has been working with veterans at Whatcom for seven years. He said the Veteran’s Center supports 250 veterans annually. Corbitt helps veterans register for classes, apply for scholarships, and handle busy schedules.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provide services which help veterans extend their education after their service. Corbitt helps out veterans attending Whatcom apply for any benefits they might be eligible for because of their veteran status.
Matthew Nolan, is a Whatcom student and Marine veteran. After leaving the Marines Nolan came to Whatcom to continue his education.
Nolan, 24, saw his friend and fellow veteran student, succeeding at Cornell University after coming to Whatcom and aspired to reach for similar heights.
Nolan, nominated himself for a scholarship to Dartmouth College, provided by the Posse Veterans Program that guarantees full tuition for every veteran student selected.
The Posse Foundation selects 10 students, or a posse, and guide them as they attend and graduate selective universities. The Posse Foundation has been operating for 27 years, but began the initiative to help veterans in 2012.
President Barack Obama once said “the students that are selected form a ‘posse’ and are provided with extra support, and end up graduating from selective colleges with a very high success rate,” in an interview with “The Chronicle of Higher Education.”
According to the Posse Foundation, 2 million U.S. veterans are currently eligible for education benefits.
“The whole point of the Posse Foundation is that it is a non-traditional application for students and individuals who don’t have access to a college like Dartmouth,” Nolan said.
After an interview at Fort Lewis, the largest military base in Washington, and a Skype interview Nolan will meet the other finalists in New York to discuss the scholarship. Nolan will know by Dec. 16 if he will receive the scholarship.
“Veterans are not just here to do what we can to succeed, but also to lead and inspire,” Nolan said.


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Ready for school to be out, finals got me stressed out

By Nate Kahn

As the Whatcom community transitions from fall into winter, final exams are inbound. There are many on campus resources available for students, in order to help them study and succeed. One of those resources is The Learning Center in Cascade Hall.
The Whatcom Math Center has drop in tutoring hours ranging from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, with extended hours on Tuesday and Wednesday that take place in the library from 6-9 p.m. The Math Center has extended their hours on Fridays. The previous hours were 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. however, The Math Center is now open until 4 p.m every Friday.
Students can visit the math center and receive help from the center’s math tutors. Patrick Taylor is a Math major at Western Washington University. He works as a tutor for all levels of mathematics at The Math Center.
“As a tutor I have been through almost every class they are taking or have taken before, so I know how I prepared and I can give advice.” Taylor said
He explained that the tests and quizzes students take during the quarter are all based on a single topic, while the final tests are a combination of everything they’ve learned throughout the quarter. “All these tests are basically focused on one subject, while their finals their going into are mostly accumulative.” Taylor said. “That’s the biggest stress, how to prepare for an accumulative final.”
The Math Center offers drop in tutoring as well as scheduled one-on-one sessions with tutors. The Math Center also provides helpful workshops on test preparation.
“Other than offering free tutoring we also offer math anxiety workshops or test anxiety workshops, on how to prepare for tests throughout the quarter.” Taylor said.
Math anxiety is a symptom that many college student struggle with. Students often ignore or refuse to receive help from on campus resources due to a sense of pride.
According to Brown University’s Supporting Student Study Habits web page, “Students can fail to seek out help because they do not realize that they need it or because of feelings of intimidation, shame, etc.”
Tutors at both The Math Center and The Writing Center can able to assist students with any level of test preparation and essay composition, as well as help students cope with the stress and anxiety stemming from their workload.
Palena Lopathikov, a tutor at The Writing Center says that students experience stress during the process of writing college level compositions.
“They aren’t used to having college essays.” Lopathikov said.
She explains that students struggle with “The formality and formatting, different citation styles or they haven’t written in a while.” The Writing Center also offers help with resume writing and college applications as well as assignments for class. The Writing Center has tutors that can meet weekly for secluded tutoring. “You can schedule one-on-one sessions, you can even meet with them every week and have a scheduled time that’s yours.” Said Lopathikov.
The Learning Center has a team of tutors that can assist with assignments, as well as provide resources such as graphing calculators, textbooks and computers for all students. The center’s extended hours make tutoring availability accessible for students with different schedules. There are a lot of resources available at The Learning Center and they’re all free. It would to students’ advantage to make use of them. According to Lopathikov a lot of students she helps at The Learning Center didn’t know about the resources available to them, now those students, “use them over and over and again.”


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