A Californian’s Guide to Living in Montana

By Alexandra Kuchinski

If someone had come from the future four years ago and told me that I would be living in Montana in my early twenties I wouldn’t have believed them.  

As someone who grew up in the heart of a major metropolitan area less than 20 minutes walking from the beach I’m the last person that anyone would have expected to move to Missoula.  

However, with the incentive of a good scholarship, snowboarding and fly fishing I found myself drawn to this little mountain town.  

Although moving to Missoula hasn’t been without its challenges, through trial and error over the last 3 years, I’ve managed to learn a few things about the place that I now call home.

If you’re from any other state than Montana you will get poked fun at. 

Especially if you’re a Californian.

It is completely possible experience all the seasons in a 24 hour period—learn how to dress accordingly or you will get sick.

Where I grew up the most layers I ever needed were a winter and summer hoodie.  Most of the time they were the same hoodie. 

Winter weather is not bad until it there’s wind or the temperature is in the single digits.

Learn and embrace that 40 degrees is t-shirt weather.

Ice is real and you will fall on it in the wintertime no matter how much you penguin walk.

It builds character. 

Everyone knows each other.  Get over it. 

Despite it’s significant geographic size, it’s a small state.  While there are a fair amount of out of state students there are a ton more locals and most of the time they already know each other.  It’s a pretty small town and even smaller school.  Tread carefully.

The food will take getting used to

Salt and pepper will be the most spice that you see.  And although the number of places where you can get a bomb burger or pizza is uncountable the best Mexican food here is still Taco Bell.

The most you will ever dress up will be a nice t-shirt and cowboy boots

Welcome to the wild west

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

Going to class could save your ass

*WARNING: graphic image at the end*

April 13, 2018 will be a day that will scar me for the rest of my life, literally.

It was a Friday and for one of my classes I had to attend Wiley & the Wild West, a yodeling show. Yodeling is not a genre that I listen to so it’s safe to say I had no desire to go. Luckily, I was in the class with my good friend Caroline and we braved it together. We stayed for about the first 15 minutes and then snuck out. We hurried to her car in the Adams Center parking lot, I plopped into the passenger seat, and that’s where things went south.

I wasn’t sure what happened but I knew it was bad. Acting on instinct, I jumped out of the car.  I looked down at Caroline’s passenger seat, and there it was – a newly broken wine glass.

I looked down and noticed there were drops of blood on the pavement accompanied by an almost numbing pain in my left buttcheek. I called Caroline over and she confirmed that the wine glass had gouged a reasonably sized hole in my favorite jeans (RIP) and my favorite cheek.

So there I am, draped over the trunk of Caroline’s Kia Forte bleeding all over the gym parking lot while she cleans the glass out of the seat. A truck pulled over and a woman jumped out of the passenger seat to see what was going on.

She looked at my butt and said  “I am an EMT and you’re gonna need to go to the hospital.”

We promptly ignored her professional advice, folded ourselves into the Kia and I actively tried to avoid bleeding on Caroline’s seats on drove home. When we got to my house I took off my jeans, laid on the couch, and gave Caroline some tweezers to search for any leftover glass. She took one look and said, “Yeah, you know… maybe we should go to the hospital”.

I wrapped myself in a towel and off we went to the nearest Cost Care. I told them the story and they couldn’t help but laugh. They soon decided that my injury needed to be handled by the ER.

We arrived at the ER,  where I departed an hour later with 7 stitches and one embarrassing ass story.

For the next 2 weeks I couldn’t fully sit down, and on top of that, I owed Caroline a wine glass. Maybe if I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to leave and instead learned to appreciate the art of yodeling all could have been avoided.

Moral of the story, look before you sit and don’t skip class kids.

The 5 Best Artists to Listen to While Studying

By: Cole Anderson

1. God is an Astronaut

Instrumental music is crucial when studying requires your full attention and vocals are only going to distract you. With nine studio albums since they formed in 2002, God is an Astronaut is a post-rock style band that blends traditional rock instrumentation with electronic features to create an upbeat and vibey sound without losing their authentic rock feel.

2. Tool

If you’re looking for something a little edgier to go along with your late night contemplations of dropping out and moving back in with your parents, Tool’s third studio album “Lateralus” is a great place to start. Classified as an alternative metal band, Tool’s music has an intensity level high enough to keep you alert without having to resort to that third Red Bull.

3. Hans Zimmer Soundtracks

If you’re ever experiencing a lack of motivation while studying, it never hurts to throw on the Interstellar or The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack for a spark of inspiration. Hans is a go-to when responsibility knocks at your door at the eleventh hour and you have to start a paper you should have started weeks ago. The forcefulness of the music combined with a dose of Adderall (doctor prescribed, of course) will make you feel as if you are on a mission from God to do the impossible and get that A you probably don’t deserve.

4. Kygo

Kygo has a lot of great music if you have been walking across campus in single digit temperatures all day and would rather be on a beach somewhere.  Kygo’s bubbly sound can help just about anyone keep a positive attitude during stressful times and see the light at the end of the tunnel during finals week. If you’re in need of a pick me up, put on Kygo’s debut album “Cloud Nine” and turn that corner of the library into your own tropical paradise.

5. Emancipator

A mellower alternative that should not go overlooked is Emancipator. With a very hedonic and almost spiritual sound, Emancipator’s instrumentals are a great way to entertain your ears while doing your schoolwork. To this date Emancipator has released five studio albums, all of which are ideal for tuning out distractions while checking things off your to-do list.

And there you have it, get familiar with some of these artists to help you get through your next big study day!


The reality of showing horses with non-horsey parents.

The learning curve is steep.

            Really steep. Mom always said, “The more you know, the more you don’t know.” And her go-to line, “Everything I know about horses I learned from Makenzi.” I started riding when I was 3, and went to my first horse show with my very own horse when I was 10. It was an adventure. I didn’t know what lead we were on without looking, I wore my mom’s old motorcycle chaps, I had sparkly, button-up Murdoch’s shirts, sparkly belts, and pink boots. I was hooked! Each show we went to, my parents started learning what to bring, how I should look, and the in-and-outs of horse showing by strictly observing. I didn’t start out with a trainer…just Mom, Dad, and me. Talk about dedication.

Pig tails, dad, and horses

 

Mom’s the checkbook. Dad’s the driver.

Not really, though. Mom still jokes about this, but they are so much more than that. After years of sitting through lessons, literally hundreds of hours, they know what to look for and can usually place a class pretty accurately despite being non-horsey. “I have no idea how you would do this, but I think his head looks a little too high. Can you fix that?” “POSTURE ALERT.” “Smile.” (I hated that one.) Although it snuck up on them, they know so much more about horses and showing than they thought possible…the hours added up.

Horse showing or camping?

 

Food, clothes, and hair.

My mom is the queen. Always needing a job, but never quite knowing how to help, we agreed very early on that she would be in charge of food, clothes, and hair. She, of course, took these jobs extremely seriously. Bless her heart, she would bring me homemade turkey sandwiches between classes, have all my show clothes dry cleaned and organized, and she would spend all day checking my hair and handing me hairspray because GOD FORBID one hair be out of place. Pinning my western hat on was a job she adopted, because one time, at one show, my hat came off and tumbled through the arena. Again, a job she took seriously, she would wedge bobby pins between my skull and my hat, making my head bleed on more than one occasion (she’ll deny this). My mom was the best at all of these things, and I’ve met a lot of horse show moms.

Mom after shoulder surgery with me at the Las Vegas Championships 2016

 

“Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?”

Dad. With a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito in his hand he found at some long-lost, locally set-up concession stand. As an early riser, he would be up not long after me, wondering around the show grounds, making friends with the other “show dads,” and finding questionable food and coffee. He’d memorize the menu and rattle it off periodically throughout the day…just in case anyone was getting hungry. His signature move was finding me, usually while putting in a tail or blacking hooves, and say, “Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?” I’d usually say no, but sometimes I’d ask him to go grab something from the trailer and he’d leisurely oblige, happy to help…after all, he might find another hidden concession stand or someone he hadn’t met yet.

Me, Pilot, and Dad…tired and sweaty

 

Diva behavior is not tolerated.

“Change your attitude before I rip you off of that horse!” –my mom. Horse showing has a way of bringing out the best…and worst in people. Although I knew my sweet, little mother couldn’t reach me, let alone “rip me off” my horse, it wasn’t an idle threat. Yelling, getting mad at my horse, being snotty or demanding were all actions punishable by leaving the horse show. From observation, horsey parents had more patience for their child’s meltdowns and tantrums (usually.)

Looking like a diva is important, though

 

I’m so proud of you.

Win or lose, my parents made sure I knew this. Because they never pushed me to ride and show horses, I never felt unneeded pressure to do well (I was hard enough on myself.) Some exhibitors with horsey parents would come out of the ring after a bad ride or a bad pattern and their mom (or dad) would just tear into them. Tears would fly and yelling could be heard throughout the stall barn. If I had a bad ride, my parents would meet me outside the gate, understand my frustration, and try to reassure me it didn’t look all that bad…even when it did.

Winning, winning, winning

The decision to show horses was mine and mine alone. My parents never thought twice about supporting this crazy sport. From buying trucks and trailers and horses to sitting in an arena for 10 hours at a show, I cannot repay them. Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart and never ever look back.