5 Best Views in Missoula

Montana, the Big Sky State, is home to some of the most beautiful photography spots in the world. Many of these underrated views are within an hour drive from Montana’s second largest city, Missoula. Here are a few of my favorite Missoula spots:

  1. Mount Sentinel “M” Trail

This is probably the most iconic of Missoula views. The trailhead for the widely popular “M” Trail is right on campus, and a 30-minute hike will give you some of the best views possible of the valley.

2. Mount Jumbo

The Mount Jumbo hike is a bit longer than the “M” Trail, but certainly worth it for a lesser known lookout of the city.

3. Blue Mountain Recreation Area

Blue Mountain is a great area for a morning dog walk or a round of frisbee golf. This beautiful area is just a 10-minute drive from the city and has some amazing views of the South Hills.

4. Pattee Canyon

The Pattee Canyon road goes from the southeast corner of Missoula all the way to Bonner, Montana. Just be careful on the roads in winter.

5. “Top of the World”

“Top of the World” is the easiest of these spots to access. Simply drive all the way up Whitaker Drive and loop back down on Spanish Peaks Drive. Make sure to check out this view before the area is completely covered in real estate developments.

All photos by Elias Snyders (@EliasSnyders). To see more visit http://www.eliassnyders.com

More amazing spots near Missoula. Photos by Elias Snyders.

www.instagram.com/eliassnyders

Life, It’s a Relatable Thing

Written By: Kaelyn Binder

As we look around at one another it is easy to make assumptions about the individuals we are seeing. No matter where we go, we are surrounded by people that may seem similar to us, yet far from what we view ourselves to be. Surface level assumptions that lead to biased opinions about people we don’t even know. From what they are wearing, to how they walk, or who someone is associating themselves with, we as humans create surface level opinions about the individuals we are surrounded by. However, have you ever considered how you may personally relate to those people who you are so ungraciously depicting? Have you ever attempted to view them past their surface level appearance or general demographics? Although it may be hard to realize at times, every person that walks this earth is more than just the skin they show or the clothes they wear on their backs. We are compiled with stress and worry, we have learned from beautiful mistakes, and we were all created from similar life experiences that in turn molded us into who we are today. Throughout the remainder of this blog post, I would like to ask each of you to dig a little deeper and consider whether or not you can personally relate to these ordinary circumstances and practices that we as humans experience each and every day. Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable, grab some coffee or a beer; because let me tell you something, those two surface level beverages are definitely something that I can relate to.

Stress, It’s a Relatable Thing

    Have you ever been in a public library or a coffee shop and seen an individual who appeared to be on the verge of a mental breakdown? Yeah, that’s called stress, and that is something that we can all relate to. Stress is a mental and physical emotion that every person around you has felt at some point in their lives. Take it from a true college student working two jobs and going to school full time for the past five years. Yes, I said it, FIVE. Not only do I stress about money, school work, and getting things done in a timely manner, I also personally stress about much more minor things that I know each and every one of you can relate to. Even the simplest things in life are easy to stress about. For example, have you ever stressed over waking up late and realizing you snoozed your alarm for the fourth or fifth time? All you can think to yourself “S@*#!  I did it again!” Yep, that is something I can definitely relate to. Or maybe you are stressed because the toast you just made for breakfast is overly burnt and is now inedible.  As a result you end up hangry, leaving the house irritable and agitated. What about when you are in a hurry in the mornings and can’t find the shoes you are wanting to wear even though you have seven other perfectly wearable pairs of shoes waiting to be worn in your closet? As crazy as all of that may seem, the majority of us have all stressed about and can relate to minor instances such as these. So, the next time you see someone who appears to be in distress at your local coffee shop down the road, realize that this stress may have been caused by an instance much more minor that it may appear. Instead of assuming the worst, consider creating a bit of random small talk to simply let the individual know that “Hey, I can relate”.

What is Life?

    Growing up into who I am today I was sent through a series of ‘phases’ that weren’t all that pretty. From my initial tomboy image that I rocked until highshcool to learning how to acquire more lady-like attributes, I still find myself in an awkward phase in life learning how to “adult”. However, aren’t we all struggling with the concept of what ‘adulting’ actually means? I mean, we are sent through a long and drawn out educational career where we are faced with so called core curriculum that is supposed to aid us in our future paths in life. But then again, how are we supposed to relate those core curriculum courses to what we all struggle with today?  I am now a college level student who is about to graduate in May, 2019 and am still struggling to find an understanding of how the Pythagorean Theorem or how learning a song to remember the capital of all fifty states relates to the everyday knowledge that we are all supposed to be familiar with. Individuals my age (stinkin’ millennials) can almost all relate that we don’t have any sort of understanding of how to properly file our tax returns, how to understand the basic car troubles that we all undergo, or how to appropriately treat any health issues we may be experiencing. Call me crazy, however WebMD is still my go-to medical symptom site, and I know my parents are tired of receiving phone calls from me worrying that I may be experiencing a potential stroke. Don’t lie, the majority of you can relate, we all tend to self-diagnose thanks to WebMD. The point that I am trying to make is that no matter what age you are, or where you find yourself at in life, we can all relate that learning how to ‘adult’ is a never ending phase.

(Relat)ionships and Friendships

One thing that I can personally appreciate is that the friendships and relationships I have been a part of are what helped me grow through each of those so called phases. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was able to fully understand just how important some of those connections that I made truly were. The people we associate ourselves with directly impact what we are going through at that point in time. They are a reflection of not only our tough times, but some of our most prosperous moments as well. Have you ever been apart of a friendship that you thought was fun and adventurous but turns out was damaging and toxic? I know I have, and it was an experience that I have both learned and grown from. What about being a part of a relationship or friendship where you were their emotional support blanket? Although it may be difficult at times, in these circumstances we must understand that we are someone who that specific individual personally felt they could relate to and confide in. Lastly, there are going to be certain people within your life where you feel an instant connection with them. They are the ones who share similar interests and odd habits, such as eating a pickle and peanut butter sandwich; not many people can relate to you on that, but the ones who can are the ones worth waiting for. What I am trying to get you to see is that we make connections to people in life based on what we are going through at that current time. It doesn’t matter if you were able to relate to someone on a deeper level or through the discussion of your sandwich, what truly matters is that at that exact moment, you found a level where you could both relate.

Technology, it’s how we relate.

As our world has become more advanced, technology has created a new avenue that allows us all to connect and relate to other people around the world. For individuals my age, as well as those who are younger than me, it is easy to get caught up in the technology that is quickly shaping our lives. Through the use of social media platforms we are able to connect with people who may have once seemed unimaginable. Whether it be famous actors or athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts, or the numerous array of influencers that fill our social media feed, there is always someone who we are living vicariously through each and every day. We are now given the accessibility to make connections through Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, or perhaps through other blog posts with individuals and groups who we never thought we could connect with before. At times we may get caught up in our overly obsessive scrolling, I too am guilty of that, however we are generally viewing our social media as a way to visually connect and relate to different people. It is crazy to me that through the use of technology and social media we all have a particular individual or group who we have never met, yet we feel we can relate to.

I relate to you, and you relate to me.

    I feel like it is safe to say that there are numerous other ways that I could discuss with you about how we all relate to one another. Whether it be surface level relatability, or deeper internal relations there is always something you can relate about with the person sitting next to you.  If you like Macaroni & Cheese, we can relate. If you wear mixed-matched socks, we can relate. If your family isn’t perfect, we can relate. If you are secretly upset with your body image, trust me we can relate. The list goes on. As this blog post comes to a close and I am writing to you, I keep thinking to myself how and or why I chose to write about relatability. What I have decided, is that not only am I an individual who has told myself numerous times that only I would understand, but I am also an individual who appreciates being the person that others turn to when they feel they are alone. What I would like you all to remember, is that we all are connected to one another in some shape or form. Simply breath, stay calm, and always remember that everyone around you can relate.

The Nonprofits You Need to Know Right Now -Missoula, MT Edition

Written by: Kayla Sheridan

The Missoula community has over 1,500 listed Nonprofit organizations.

As donors and volunteers, we want to spend our dollar and time on causes that produce the most significant welfare gains. However, many of us actually spend our resources on the causes that we care aboutCharity is exceptionally dependent on our own personal identities & Nonprofits help create a culture within communites.

The Nonprofit sector in Missoula has more organizations per capita compared to most other cities in the United States. The majority of these organizations work hard to both engage and educate individuals on issues and opportunities in the community. For the most part, Nonprofits strive to make positive change, provide a sense of community, and help individuals create an identity. Our Nonprofits in Missoula are essential in sustaining our unique community here!

Below are steps to help you find a Nonprofit you can support -I’ve included a link to the article further explaining these steps at the end of the post.

1)    Align Potential Organizations with Values
2)    Decide What Type of Do-Gooder You Are
3)    Research Online
4)    Fill Your Experience Gap
5)    Search Social Media
6)    Exercise Your Options

Nonprofits make change by bringing people together around a common goal. For anyone who needs to hear it, go find your Nonprofit community and help make our whole community a better place right now! In today’s tech-savvy world, it’s easier than ever to support your favorite Nonprofits.

Article link here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2017/08/23/how-to-choose-the-right-nonprofit-to-donate-your-time-to/#6af567a39f10

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat

Caroline Armstrong

I became a vegetarian almost 7 years ago after an unfortunate night involving too much red meat. After the worst stomach ache I have ever had, I vowed that I was going to stop eating meat all together. And that’s exactly what I did. It has been a struggle to find meals that still resemble the taste of meat. Here are some of my favorite recipes that even my meat eating friends love.

1. Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/02/11/cauliflower-buffalo-wings/

These buffalo wings made from battered cauliflower are the #1 requested meal from my friends. They are great for parties or barbecues and have an added bonus of being super easy to make! The recipe also includes a vegan ranch sauce for dipping.

2. Chick’n Noodle Soup

Vegetable Chik'n Noodle Soup
https://www.morningstarfarms.com/recipes/vegetable-chik-n-noodle-soup-recipe.html

There are definitely some “fake meat” products I would advise you to avoid, but luckily the chick’n from Morning Star Farms are not one of them. It is currently 4 degrees Fahrenheit where I live and sometimes I just crave a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. These chick’n strips are a great addition to soups and salads.

3. Spaghetti Squash

Learn how to make Roasted Spagehtti Squash the easy way! This method works PERFECTLY every-single-time.
https://bakerbynature.com/roast-spaghetti-squash/

Spaghetti Squash is a great alternative for pasta and they are super cheap. Add your favorite sauce or some olive oil, salt, and pepper and enjoy!

4. Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos
https://www.morningstarfarms.com/recipes/loaded-nachos-recipe.html

Nachos are a quick and easy snack, and these ground beef crumbles from Morning Star Farms are a great addition. My boyfriend didn’t even realize they weren’t real beef at first!

5. Sesame Cauliflower

Sweet, sticky, addictive sesame cauliflower, a healthy & delicious meatless recipe
https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2017/01/09/sticky-sesame-cauliflower/

This sesame cauliflower looks like it could be sesame chicken when you first see it. Add some rice and vegetables on the side for a delicious meal.

The Tale of a Transfer Student

By Teresa Zortman

I very distinctly remember being 18 and thinking “I have this figured out.” By “this,” I mean college, and by “figured out,” I really had no idea. The only thing that I knew was that I wanted to leave my suburban hometown, and become “a badass business woman.” With that specificity, what could go wrong? But what happens when you choose the ‘wrong’ place to spend the next four years at the expense of thousands of dollars? What if you are under contract as a student athlete? What if your instagram pictures at the beach make your friends red with envy? I hope that by sharing my transfer journey, at least one struggling college kid can resonate and understand that it is okay to take your college experience into your own hands. Your happiness is important, radical change isn’t the answer for everyone but for myself it was exactly what I needed.

A little about me

I grew up in a California suburb that has become known for the railroad running through it and the rice fields surrounding it. A great place to raise a family, being an hour from the Sierras and two from San Francisco. Pretty perfect for the matured adult, but pretty boring for the car-less teen. Luckily, I was a decent enough track and cross-country runner to get some collegiate attention. After a quick visit to Southern California and a scholarship offer, I was on my way to Los Angeles to start school in the fall, leaving my sleepy old hometown in the dust.

You do not have to be happy all the time, but it should be part of your experience

Have you ever seen the Spongebob episode where Squidward goes to a village of other Squidwards? He thinks it is perfect until he realizes that the days there do not vary or change, and everyone there is fine with that except him. Well, that’s what I felt like after four months in sunny Southern California. The beach is great, but the 10 miles to get there took 25-30 minutes because of traffic. I was running the sport I love, but the practice regimen was starting to break down my body. I had some nice friends, but at night I would still break down alone and cry. Somehow everyone was living in their paradise, except me. I wanted to like this place, I spent so much time telling people about how excited I was to go “Sunny, perfect SoCal” before I left home, I was sure it would pan out.

There came a day I realized that maybe I did not fit in at my current school. I sat and filled out transfer applications to various schools, but I could never send them. Shame that I was “giving up on my team” or that people from home would laugh at me since I was so sure when I left. I felt trapped. I tried to assimilate to the culture and every time it only made me realize even more that I did not fit in. With the way things were going at the moment, I was depressed, angsty, and no-where near the best version of myself. I had never quit something before, that’s why Cross-country and track had come naturally to me, but at some point my course needed to be corrected, so I opened up for that to happen.

When I stepped on the campus I knew

During the Summer, my family was taking our bi-annual trip to Montana. My younger brother was on the college search, so we stopped by University of Montana. An old friend from high school was attending the university and graciously gave us a tour. The tour was for my brother, but I fell in love. The campus lit something inside me the moment I stepped foot on the brick paved walkways. I continued to think of Missoula as we drove away and even when we got home. That was a feeling I hadn’t had before.

So, while sitting at my Southern California University, I applied, got in, and got a scholarship.

There’s no good way to tell everyone

As my second year in Southern California drew to close, the reality that I was leaving began to set in. People would ask me about housing arrangements for the next year, and I just smiled and said “oh yeah! Maybe we can do that!” I knew I had to tell everyone.

So I started with my closest friends.

They were more supportive than I could’ve even hoped for. I felt closer to them because they only wanted what was going to make me happy, if that meant a different school so be it.

Not long after telling them, the news spread on the track team like wildfire. I got people coming up to me asking if it was true, the cat was officially out of the bag. Some people surprised me with how supportive they were, some turned out to be hiding the same secret. One of my closest friendships was forged by the fire we went under for transferring out. I felt so loved by people who I would’ve never expected. For those people I am so grateful. Others were not as supportive, and still do not talk to me, but that was something I had to learn to be okay with. It strengthened me in patience and love so much that the depression and anger that lived in me no longer had a place to live, even if they felt entitled to be there.

It’s okay to doubt

Before I left, even though I had been accepted to UM and more and more details of the transfer had begun to come together, I still questioned my decision. I would love to say that it was ‘easy’ since I was clearly struggling, but the reality was I was living a life that I knew would be discontinued in a matter of months. After the good workouts, the beach visits, the good days, I truly questioned if I should just pull the plug on the transfer and gut it out. I remember breaking down on the phone with my Mom wishing that I would just know what the right choice would be, she simply said “you’ll end up where you are supposed to be.” As I sit here in my favorite coffee shop in Missoula, I can say she was right.

Where I am now

Almost everyday, my decision to come to University of Montana is affirmed. The University took all but a few of my transfer credits, and supportive staff has made me enjoy academics truly more than I ever have before. I have formed close friendships with other friends, transfers and traditionals alike. I even entered a sales competition within the business school and took home 3rd, bringing internship opportunities and close relationships with inspiring professors that I had not known before. There is a sense of comfort that comes with being in the right place, it’s unexplainable.

Even though as I am writing this it is -5˚ in Missoula and Sunny and 65˚ in Irvine, I have no doubt this is my place.

My Advice

There is a difference between missing home and missing out. Too often, college students feel obligated to gut out a decision they made when they were still in highschool. Psychologically, your brain changes from 18-22, that also happens to be when we, as students, have to make one of the bigger decisions of our lifetime. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, or making the ‘wrong’ choice for you. Life is as positive or negative as you want to make it, having the courage to take your happiness seriously is not something to be overlooked. Transferring is so often ‘taboo’ because it IS a radical change, but why is a radical change towards happiness a bad thing? Everyone is entitled to pursue their own future and happiness.

Transferring universities is not a “one size fits all” solution. But for some, it can make all the difference.