How To Thrive As A Single Parent Student

To start, remember that you have got this! You are starting an adventure that will have lasting impacts on you and your family, regardless of your starting support network size.  You can do this.

Here are a few tips to make the transition a little less stressful as you go back to school:

Start Building a Support Network

The more support you have through your college experience, even if it is just for yourself, the better it will be in the long run for you and your kids. We’ll talk about some support network ideas for the kids in just a moment.

Begin in your school’s student success center. In the business school, they have been a great resource for me. They have assisted me with my resume and they have been an encouragement for so much of the hard steps.

They even made a way for me to have access to career fairs that would have been difficult to attend with my daughter.  The first semester of the evening career fair, they even offered to watch her! The second semester, they asked a MISA (Management Information Student Association) member to watch children for the event. That is an amazing resource!  They have been incredibly good to me. They would not have known my need, however if I had not taken the first step to meet with them.

Meet with your Professors

I cannot stress enough how vital this is. Your professors want you to succeed and want to help you!

Every professor in and out of my major has been wonderful. I do feel like I was incredibly blessed haven chosen the MIS degree path. My professors have supported, encouraged, given hard advice, and pushed me to be the best I could be and not limit myself because of the fact that I am a single mom and a non-traditional student. I have signed a contract for an amazing career, before I graduate, because of my professors.

They did things that made it easier for me to succeed. For example, I brought my daughter to class on the days when she was out of school in the middle of the week.

Here is the truth though, I emailed or talked to my professors to make sure it was okay to bring her with me.  I never wanted them to think I took it for granted and I wanted them to have an option to say no. They have never not allowed me to bring her with me. Every time I have needed to bring my daughter, all of my professors have been gracious towards me and her.

Do Not Limit Yourself to Just Your College

Ask about resources that will help you succeed in your learning and then follow up and utilize them.  Need help with writing? Go to the writing center. If you have a kid that is young enough to go to ASUM childcare, utilize that resource. If you need help with almost any high fail rate class, there is a study jam or tutoring to be found in the evenings or in the Lomasson building.

The generosity of faculty, staff and other students,  was one of the things that most surprised me in this experience as a non-traditional single parent student.

Photo by Laurent Peignault on Unsplash

Support For Your Child

How Do You Balance Homework And Parenting?

My daughter was 8-years-old when I began school, so we were able to have conversations about what it was like to be in college from the start. We do a lot of talking through her feelings when it gets hard and she feels like she is not getting the level of attention that she needs. I try to be as validating as possible about how challenging it can be for her, too.

We make compromises as well. So, for example, I will set a timer for ten minutes and I will stop working on homework once that goes off just to be present with her. I will sometimes set another timer to know when to get back to my assignments.

 How Do You Handle Out Of School Days While Still Having Class?

I typically take my daughter with me. She gets screen time during the classes, which is a treat for her. Plus, I let her know that I am excited that she gets to attend class with me. Like I said before, my professors have been very kind to her and I have also found that other students make her feel welcome to be in the class.

Another option, here in Missoula, are drop-in daycare centers. The one that I will use on occasion is very loving and my daughter feels safe there.

How Do You Handle Your Child Being Sick?

The university does not have a great solution for sick kids.  However,  after growing my friend base and support group, I have found that there are some faculty, staff and other students are willing to help me and not just from my own college.  I have also found that my professors have been very understanding through the process of having a sick child.  So seriously, talk to your professors!

Conclusion

The building of a support network is very important to your success as a student. I believe that if you are willing to put yourself out there and be friendly, you will be able to have the support group that you need.  I have found that the University of Montana’s faculty, staff and students are an incredible group of people that, on the whole, want to be in your corner as you pursue your educational goals!

Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

 

 

Mandy Fischer is a single parent to an amazing 10-year-old daughter. She will be graduating the Spring of 2020 from the University of Montana with a Business Management Information Systems degree. She recently accepted a position with Deloitte that begins after graduation and is excited for the future!

Top 6 Ski Areas Near Missoula…

There are a ton of options for skiing within the western part of Montana, whether this is in our beloved home state, or one of our close neighbors. There is plenty of fresh powder to go around…

To Start off this list we are going to lay down a few guidelines. All of these ski resorts are within 200 miles of Missoula, and for those of you that were worried…They all sell beer as well.

  1. The Montana Snowbowl  (15 miles outside town)      

Snowbowl will always have a special place in the hearts of Missoulians, for its close proximity to town, and your ability to go from class to the slopes in under 20 minutes.  While Snowbowl may have its ups and downs, you can always count on good skiing when they get some fresh snow up in the bowls. Priced at $48 for a student day pass, it’s not going to break the bank too bad. But they make up for it with $4 beers in the lodge at the base.

2. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area (105 miles outside town)

Lookout pass ski area is known as the #1 Powder Place, and they definitely live up to that name. Lookout gets the most fresh snow out of all the resorts near Missoula, and for the most part, has pretty good weather. This resort is about an hour and 45 minutes from campus and never gets too crazy so you’ll always have a parking spot. A student day pass for Lookout will run you about $46, but the snow makes it worth it!

3. Discovery Ski Area (91 miles outside town)

Discovery ski area is located about an hour and a half from Missoula and will never let you down. With a really good mix of steep groomers and powder-filled trees, this resort is perfect for everyone. For those seeking a thrill, Discovery has an expert only backside of the mountain with some truly crazy runs. The only downfall of this resort is the road up to the lodge can get pretty bad, but you’ll always be able to find a ride up from the bottom. Discovery will run you about $50 for a day pass, but you’ll be able to go on a different run every time all day.

4. Lost Trail Powder Mountain (75 miles outside town)

Lost Trail is another favorite among locals, for its close proximity to town and amazing snow. You can almost always count on fresh snow at Lost Trail, and when the Montana side is open it is absolutely mind-blowing. This resort is never too crazy, and it also has a hot spring just down the road for an after skiing relaxation break. A day pass will run you about $45 and you’ll be able to get food and beer at the base lodge for a pretty reasonable price.

5. Whitefish Mountain Resort (140 miles outside town)

Still known to many locals as “Big Mountain” because of the name change back in 2007, but none the less this mountain is absolutely insane. The most powder you can find in western Montana and offers some of the most diverse terrains. Even though this resort is pretty far from Missoula, it makes up for it with the beautiful views and the chance to go on an inversion day. A day pass will run you about $83 and that’s pretty steep for most college students, but a trick it to go buy 2 day passes for $120 from Costco.

6. Blacktail Mountain Ski Area (120 miles outside town)

Blacktail is known for having some serious terrain, with steep faces and ungroomed runs all over the mountain. This resort gets a good amount of powder and can definitely prove to be tough in some spots. With its close proximity to Whitefish, the resort is pretty easily accessible and doesn’t break the bank at $45 for a day pass.

Ten things I need to do before I die.

National Parks

Now I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, but in any case, I hope I experience these things before I go.

At one point, there were boards in my local downtown area that said, “Before I die I want to”, I personally never took them into consideration.

The time has come though where I have to write a blog post, so I am choosing to write a list of big and small things I want to do.

I can’t say that any are more significant than the next, or that they go in any type of order.

Here it is, ten things I want to do before I die.

  1. Meet David Dobrik

David Dobrik

This picture really did David Dobrik dirty, but that is besides the fact of how much I love his videos. On the flip side, it was the only one that was mildly good without copyright infringement.

2. Drink wine in Italy

Wine_Italy

Wine and Italy seem to complement themselves quite well and I feel this might just be what I need to die happy.

3. Attend New York Fashion week

New York Fashion week

Honestly, if I could attend any type of fashion week I would be happy. I figure if I am going, I might as well go to New York.

4. Watch Conor McGregor fight live

Conor McGregor

Even though the man is slightly controversial I really would love to see him fight live. I love Ireland and this Irish man.

5. Hike in all 61 National Parks

National Parks

I am not even sure if you can even “hike” in every national park in the U.S. Although, I do hope that I get to visit all of them.

6. Visit all Seven Wonders of the World

Seven Wonders

Extremely cliché, but they got their names for a reason.

7. Ski in Zell am See

Zell am See
Zell am See in Salzburg, Austria

Zell is located in Salzburg, Austria and I want to ski there. First things first, I have to learn to ski well enough not to die on the mountain. I went there for a Holiday while in Europe and fell in love with the pure beauty this place has to offer.

8. Wake up in the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris

Four Seasons Hotel George V

Crème de la crème…Even if I woke up in the lobby I think my life would be okay. Preferably stay in the penthouse overlooking the city of Paris, but we will work with what we have.

9. Ride a bull—A real one

Riding a bull

For some reason, I have it in my head that I wouldn’t get bucked off in the first millisecond and somewhat want to find out. I also really enjoy watching rodeo and probably should try it before I die.

10. Watch the Macys Day Parade in person

Macy's Day Parade

I have always loved watching the Macys Day parade on Thanksgiving. It was one of my favorite things as a little kid to watch with my mom. For that reason, I would love to see it in person with her one day.

Ten things I want to do before I die, some of them very small, some of them more meaningful and others are just plain out goofy. I don’t expect any of you to read this whole thing, but if you do, please share. I both need an “A” and am working for an “A” in this class as well as on my blog, in order to do that I must have 400 clicks of activity. Share away and enjoy my short blogging career.

The Hipster Test

Effortless

Are you a Hipster?

 

 

Take this short questionnaire:

  1. Do you wish your dad or mom saved their clothes from the 60s/70s so you could wear them?
  2. Do you only listen to obscure bands and artists on vinyl?
  3. Do you visit a coffee shop more than three times a day?
  4. Do you wear the same brand of shoes you wore in 1996?
  5. Do you have any facial hair?
  6. Do you not shave your legs, but kind of wish you did?
  7. Do you wear a beanie?
  8. Have you eaten cauliflower or toast in the past 24 hours?
  9. Do you alternate ordering beer, cider and  kombucha?
  10. Does your 4-year-old have a half-shaved, half long-hair hair style?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, proceed.

The Art of the Aging Hipster

Too hip? Or too hip to care?

CHOICES:

 

Vans on. Vans off.

 

Where to shop.

 

  • Keep it local.
  • Bring your dog.
  • Drink a smoothie at the same time.
  • Where your sunglasses inside.
  • Reintroduce yourself to people you’ve met several times before.
  • Shop only at stores containing a woman’s name
  • Talk about how you only thrift these days.

 

Are you woke? (quiz forthcoming)

 

Always look behind you. Always hold the door open for everyone even if you have to stand there for a very long time. And always remember:

 

 

Lesson: Pronouns

 

As part of your email signature add any/all of the following:

 

she/hers

 

he/his

 

ze/zer

 

Pop Culture.

 

When in doubt, use the words you said when you were in 7th grade. If they aren’t in the vernacular at this moment, they might be next week.

Activity.

Spot the difference!

Have a suggestion for a question, photo or want to nominate a Hipster of the Year? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

5 Missoula Bands On Their Way To Being Household Names

Pearl Jam

It’s no secret to those of us in Missoula that we have a music scene with the potential to launch bands to the next level. With local claims to fame in Pearl Jam, The Decemberists, and The Lil Smokies, who’s to know who the next act to burst out of the local scene will be? Not me, but I have my suspicions. So, below are my top 5 Missoula bands (in alphabetical order) that are making moves to become national names.

Author’s Note: There are so many amazing acts in Missoula, it’s impossible to give them all the recognition they deserve. These are my opinions and my opinions only, based solely on interactions with and what I know about each group or individual.

Chloe Gendrow

Chloe Gendrow – photo by Ryan Schmitz, collage by Kamilla Varga

While on a bit of a (much deserved) hiatus after graduating from the University of Montana, the release of full-length album 22 Below, extensive touring, and being featured on the lineup for Pilgrimage Music Festival with names like The Killers, Foo Fighters, and Keith Urban- Gendrow certainly holds promise for becoming a leading lady in pop music.

Getting an early start on her career while still in school, Gendrow was featured on Missoula to Memphis, an album put out by UM’s student record label Switchback Records and the Entertainment Management (UMEM) program. Her cover of Elvis’s “And I Love You So” and a live performance at a Switchback Records Showcase caught the ears of many friends and advisors of both the label and UMEM program that have proved to be helpful connections.

The Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent – photo by Sara Diggins

The 7(ish) piece group that is The Fertile Crescent has had a big few months. In January they released their single “Onion Garden” on the same night that they filled The Top Hat to capacity. With LA-based management and connections to publicists in place, the band is already setting their sights onto bigger and better things.

The band has said to expect a full length album by summer, but what about larger Logjam Presents venues or a summer tour? This extremely driven group of students might just have the ambition and connections to do all that and more.

Letter B

Letter B – photo by Mikey Graef

With a full-length album and an EP under their belt and promises of new recorded music soon, Letter B has been carving a name for themselves in Missoula’s music scene for years, and it’s working. Not to mention that they’re touring machines- letting other cities know who they are, as well.

With multiple packed Top Hat shows, the band seems to have received more promotion from local giant Logjam Presents than a good amount of other local acts. With Logjam ranking in the top 100 promotors nationwide, this certainly doesn’t hurt. If my math is right, adding Letter B’s local power and continued heavy touring together could result in a major breakthrough for the band.

Norwell

Norwell

When listing popular Missoula bands or artists, Norwell may not be one of the first you’d think of. However, I dare you to make that same list without naming at least one other band that Norwell front man Brady Schwertfeger isn’t involved in. As Brady is a master of collaboration, a good amount of Norwell’s success is in working with other artists- including recording with Chloe Gendrow, Ira Wolf, and Maxy Dutcher.

Another local collaboration with UM’s Switchback Records placed Norwell and Ira’s cover of “I Hear A Symphony” in the hands of LA music professionals who chose to feature it on Falcon Music’s Motown Mixtape, on which the song has outperformed every other cut on the EP by tens of thousands of streams on Spotify.

TopHouse

TopHouse – photo via Logjam Presents

This folk trio has just recently moved from Missoula to Nashville and is doing the thing.

With gigs in the country music capital and dynamic content on their social media (think weekly podcast style vlogs and insane folk-stylized covers of songs like Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” or Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”) someone with the power to blow these guys up could at any moment.

Honorable Mention: Dead Phones & Dogs

Dead Phones & Dogs

While only halfway Missoula-based, this Missoula/Chicago band deserves to be recognized for all they’re doing to get their path started. Within less than two months of releasing their first self-titled EP, they’re racking up streams just shy of 10,000 on two of their songs on Spotify, largely due to strategic playlisting.

Not bad for a band with 1,300 miles in between the two members.

A blog post for Marketing Analytics at the University of Montana by Aeriel Martens. Do you agree with my choices? Why or why not? Find me and @ me if you need to. <3