Created in 1962, The Montana Snowbowl is what I would consider “Missoula’s Ski Resort.” Over the years, Snowbowl has remained almost exactly the same which is part of its charm. The resort still has a small-town feel despite the large crowds it draws. The most notable development in recent years opened this year with the addition of the Snowpark lift. Prior to this addition the resort catered more towards intermediate and advanced skiers with beginners sticking to cat tracks and a few easy runs. This addition is a great upgrade to the mountain, and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the mountain.
— Location —
Snowbowl is located 13 miles north of Missoula, Montana and is about a 25-minute drive from downtown Missoula. A paved road covers the first 8 miles, but the last five miles is a gravel road that can get a little treacherous if you aren’t properly prepared. Most vehicles traveling to Snowbowl should have four wheel drive and chains or snow tires in order to deal with the rough winter conditions.
— The Resort —
Snowbowl has lots to offer whether it is the mountain itself, food, gear, or lodging. At the resort you will discover three lifts, one t-bar, and one rope-tow which provides access to 950+ acres of skiable territory. All the chair lifts are two seaters and only one of the lifts begins at the base of the mountain which results in some long lines on weekend mornings but those crowds quickly disperse. The lodge itself contains two restaurants, The Last Run and The Double Diamond Café. Both of these restaurants have good food, plenty of seating, and a fireplace to warm up by. Snowbowl also has a rental shop for all the gear you might need, a ski school with fantastic instructors, and Gelandesprung Lodge. Gelandesprung is the available lodging above the rental shop and is essentially ski in/out lodging with different room layouts and a community hot tub. All in all, Snowbowl is a wonderful small town ski resort and one of the best parts about living in Missoula.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Hey y’all! My name is Hayley Bingham, I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas in a little town called Rockwall. I started playing golf when I was 13 years old and realized right away it was going to take me far. I played competitively and found myself in the position to play college golf so I started the process the summer after my junior year. I went on countless visits and met with players and coaches all trying to get me to their school. My last recruitment visit was to the University of Montana about three weeks before early signing. It was my last chance to really find what I was looking for and I did. Three weeks later I signed my National Letter of Intent and started calling myself a grizzly.
Throughout my four years of being a Griz, I found that being involved in a sport and trying to play at the next level takes courage and discipline. I had to make sacrifices when it came to friends, family, school and a social life. I found myself using my sport as an excuse to get out of going out with friends or taking 8AM classes, but I also realized that it was the reason I had missed out on a lot of things. This was only the beginning, my four years at UM taught me a lot of things about the kind of person I wanted to be, the kinds of people I wanted to surround myself with, and what hard work and dedication really got me.
So here are the 8 ways being a student-athlete has changed my life:
They tell you that you are a “student-athlete” but often you will feel being an athlete comes before being a student.
On my visit and all throughout my collegiate career, all of my advisors and coaches stressed that I was a student before I was an athlete. But there were times when I found myself having to pick one or the other just like everything else. At the end of the day, my time and energy went into my sport and everything that comes with being a student-athlete. This is just the way it goes, I had to find a way to balance school and golf. I can remember always having to do homework after 36 hole days and wondering how any of the information stayed in my head. To this day, I am still convinced that it didn’t!
Sports in college is one of the hardest things you will ever do!
Becoming a college athlete was one of this best moments of my life but nothing had prepared me for the road I was starting down. 6 AM workouts, 4:30 AM wake up calls to make it to the airport, traveling all day long, waking up to compete and then waking up to compete again. Doing all of these things while trying to stay up on school work and have a social life eventually starts to wear on your mindset and your body. I remember thinking nothing could get worse than high school athletics but I was wrong. It was a whole other ball game in college.
Wanting to move on can be normal
A couple times during my four years I thought about quitting or transferring. Things do get hard and sometimes when it seems like nothing is going your way this can seem like the easy way out. I had a coaching change after my freshman year and I thought about transferring but I was glad I stayed. My sophomore year I got injured in the second tournament of the season, ultimately stepping in a hole breaking my foot. I had a long recovery and got depressed and felt like I battled through it all on my own. There were times during my injury that I thought about quitting but I was really glad I didn’t! After my junior year I had another coaching change and wondered what else could happen? I was glad that I stayed for my senior year at UM because it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. So, I argue that anyone who is looking to step away or transfer should remember that they picked this university for a reason. Yes, things do get hard and everyone goes through slumps during their time as a college athlete but preserver through and it will be worth it.
You never take off that Uniform, everyone knows who you are
I believe that no matter where you go to school, if you are an athlete you are known. I found this out very quickly once I got to UM. I would go get dinner with some of my teammates and people would point at our poster and then point back at us. It was so awkward but people knew who we were. Even if they didn’t know us by name they recognized us and that made me think about the way that I carried myself.
Professors will think you have dropped their class, you missed that much school
For me, I can think of many times where I would miss up to two weeks of classes at a time. I can remember a specific time where I was in class one day and the professor didn’t call my name on the roll. I remember thinking it was bizarre but just waited until after class to bring it up. Once class was over, I went down to the professor and told her that she skipped me on the roll. Her response to me was that she just assumed that I had dropped the class because I hadn’t been there in almost two weeks. Everything got cleared up but it was one of the weirdest things that has ever happened to me.
Your team is your family, so embrace it!
No matter what, my team will always be a part of me and I consider them to be family. We went through so much together: wins, losses, losing and gaining teammates, losing and gaining coaches… the list goes on and on. No matter what we were there for each other and because of that we have a bond that can never be broken.
You will build some of the best relationships of your life
I have made some of the best friends from college golf. We get to go to so many places and meet so many different people that I have met people from all over the world. I am beyond thankful that college golf is the reason these people were brought into my life. If I could give anyone advice, it would be to cherish these relationships and make the best of this experience.
Once it’s over, it is over… there is no going back
College golf is over in the blink of an eye, it doesn’t always seem like it but it is. If there is one thing I have realized, it is that you have to give it your all, all of the time. Once you make that last putt on the last day of that tournament your collegiate career is over! I didn’t completely realize this until after the conference tournament was over and I was on the plane back to Missoula, Montana for the last time.
At the end of the day, college golf is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but if I had to go back and change it I would do it all the same. The experience was unlike anything I have ever been a part of and I will always cherish the memories I have made here. Thank you UM and thank you to all of my family, friends, coaches and teammates who put up with my crazy self along the way.
Fun loving, golf playing, sweet tea drinking southern girl
Two professors from the University of Washington are teaching a class that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should have to take during their college career. The course is aptly named Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data. Yes, it is an actual course offered for one credit. They have published the syllabus and the reading material used in the course so that students at other universities can take advantage of the opportunity.
Everyone approaches college differently. Some people come to college for the social aspect, others for the academic enrichment, some for the life experience, and then there’s always a few folks who have no idea what they’re doing. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are plenty of decisions that must be made in order to shape your college experience.
What is success?
I’ve noticed a pretty common theme over the course of my time at the University of Montana. There’s a constant stigma surrounding what success is as a college student. How many meetings you have a week, how many clubs you’re in, how many credits you’re taking, if you have an internship, blah blah blahhh, the list goes on forever! Basically, it’s a competition to see how busy everyone else is and you’re the winner if you get the least amount of sleep. And let me tell you, that’s not a fun game to be playing! The reality is though, if you want to get the most out of your college experience, there’s not a whole lot of time to block in for things like eating and sleeping, let alone time to yourself, especially for those students that want that 4.0 GPA.
Does GPA really matter?
Basically, you have to make sacrifices in one area or another unless you want to be in school for 10 years, so it’s important to focus in on what matters. I’ve decided that through my experiences over the past two and a half years in school, GPA is most definitely not everything. I’ve had multiple internships and jobs throughout my college career in order to gain hands-on experience and gain on-the-job skills, and to be honest, my employers couldn’t care less about my GPA. And it’s not like my GPA is bad, or even below average, but it’s definitely not perfect!
When discussing GPA with business professionals and company owners, their responses have been shockingly consistent across the board: if you passed your classes and learned from them, GPA really doesn’t pull as much weight as one might think. Shocking, I know. To most employers your personality, interview and overall experience is what gets you a job, not a high GPA. A high grade point average is definitely a bonus and if you have it, you should flaunt it, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t maintain an A average all 4 years.
Focus on real life experiences.
Personally, I’ve chosen to use my time in college to involve myself in activities that will help me grow as a person and become a more well-rounded individual. Not only do these extracurricular activities look great on a resume, but more than anything, the experiences I’ve gained through my involvement will help me in an interview and with on-the-job situations.
I feel as though I’ve learned more through my membership and leadership roles in organizations such as student senate, my sorority, marketing clubs, internships, and many others, than I possibly could have learned by solely sitting in a classroom. I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial these outside activities have been on both a personal and professional level. In order to take advantage of these leadership and developmental opportunities it is impossible for me to achieve a 4.0 while maintaining membership in these clubs and working two jobs. This is the sacrifice I’ve chosen to make. For those of you that can manage such a feat, more power to you! But personally, I feel that I’ve gained so much more by choosing to participate in as much as possible than I ever would have choosing to spend that time reading a text book.
This tactic definitely doesn’t work for every major or every job field, but if you think about it, a 4.0 only goes so far if you can’t communicate with people or understand how to effectively problem solve.
Find your passion and do what makes you happy.
The point is, do what you’re passionate about. College is a time to explore and figure out what matters to you on a personal level. Don’t waste this opportunity by not going to class, but on the flip side, don’t waste it by choosing to study 24 hours a day either. Join clubs, find a fun job, hang out with new people, and just involve yourself. You get out of college what you choose to put into it, so take advantage of the opportunities presented to you.
Have fun and think about the things that truly benefit your future and make you happy.
I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions on the subject of GPA and extracurriculars. Comment below and share some stories about your college experience!