What Students Need To Know About the ACCelerators Reopening

ACCENT met with the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Shasta Buchanan to get more insight on this transition for ACC. on reopening the ACCelerators for student use.

Written by Marissa Greene

Austin Community College reopened three locations for students to utilize the ACCelerator. As of Oct. 26, students can schedule an appointment to have a quiet place to study, technology, and internet access. All things necessary for student success during virtual learning.

Q: How have the operating hours changed at the ACCelerator? 

A:  The operating hours for the ACCelerator are now Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. We’re on three campuses [the ACCelerator} so the Highland, Round Rock, and the Hays campus library. We want to be mindful of the best use of our facilities as well as being safe. 

Q: Are services such as private study rooms open for student use? 

A: Not at this time. But that doesn’t mean we won’t start to transition and open those different opportunities. We wanted to start small. We heard from our students in our campaigns in May and one of the things that really was at the top lists for students was a quiet place to study, access to technology, and the internet. 

So they have a whole pod to themselves. Now there is a specific space that they have to sit in just to maintain social distancing. But there are no other people in the pods with them. We are also only in a certain zone of the ACCelerator. Again, we know students want this access but we also know that they still want to be safe in that space. So we wanted to be mindful of that before we slowly start to open up other spaces. 

Q: What does it look like to walk into the ACCelerator now? 

A:  Good question! One, it’s a little different because they can’t just walk into the ACCelerator they have the schedule an appointment for a pod space or a space in the Hays library. We also ask all of our students and employees to watch a video. It really walks them through what it is like and what it feels like to walk on campus. Every employee and student has to fill out the ACC health screener app. This allows us to make sure that they are not experiencing any symptoms and we constantly remind our students and staff that there is just a personal responsibility about this and I am just so proud of everyone.  And then to wear a face mask, wash your hands, we take your temperature at the door, and then everyone gets something that certifies them that they can be in that space. The student will have two hours of time allotted in their appointment. 

Q: How many times can a student use this facility? 

A: They can schedule as much as they want but again it is by appointment only. That allows us to maintain the percentage of people that should be in the building between students and employees. And again, it allows us to practice social distancing and follow those protocols that allow students the things we know they need to be successful. 

Q: Are tutoring, academic coaching, and other services open at the ACCelerator at this time?

A: The ACCelerator, as we transition to opening it is really what students told us what they needed most. That was a quiet place to study, access to technology, and the internet. So that is all that we are providing at the Highland, Round Rock, and Hays library right now. We will work across the college partners as we’re monitoring the virus and know what’s happening. We want to keep everyone safe, we want to be mindful in terms of what is happening with the virus before we say “okay what is the next thing we can bring into that space?” 

I hope that our students understand that we respect them. We want them to be safe. And so, while it may seem slow, slow means that we are being cautious. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t planning for the future; it just means that it is very important for us to be cautious. 

Q: How do students make sure their opinions are heard about ACC’s transition? 

A: We send surveys out, we cal students, and what I’ve learned is that our students become way more responsive and they’re looking at emails, newsletters, and whatever the different means we’ve been communicating with them. They are very responsive and paying attention because they are wanting to be in the know. So through all of those levels of learning, I hope our students know that we are not just asking questions to ask questions sake. We’re hearing them. And then our plan of action is to plan and prepare. And how do we meet the needs of our students 

Q: Any final comments or takeaways? 

A: The biggest thing is that if students see emails or other means of communication or they see that we’re calling them, please pick up or call us back. We understand that they are in the class too so sometimes when we call them it might now match when they’re in class. But please to return our call, please respond to our emails because their voice is what we are trying to gather and to know what do you need. And if there is any takeaway, it is that we are trying our best to meet their needs in the virtual and what would come back but we need to hear from them.   

Motivation in a New Year

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Written by Arlenne Lozano
Video from the Student Life Chronicle

Motivation is a force that drives people to execute goals. Sustaining motivation can pay off in many ways; such as achieving personal goals, feeling successful or earning a reward. Hard work does pay off. Whether it’s working towards a degree or continuing education, the struggle to keep the motivation is real.

“I think we’re naturally goal-directed; we have a purpose for doing most things,” says ACC Counselor Dawn Allison. “‘I want this degree for this career’ or something like that, but then there is just every day slogging through the homework, studies, and attendance, so sometimes we lose sight of that.”

So, how can students keep the motivation going in the upcoming year and semester?

Have S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
Specific A person who knows what their goals are is off to a good start but it can become a problem if that goal is too broad. The more specific and narrow the goal is, the more manageable and achievable. Ask personal questions, such as: why is this goal important to me? What do I want to accomplish with this goal in mind? What resources do I have that will allow me to accomplish the goal?

Measurable – Having a goal that is measurable is important because it helps one keep track of the progress. Having access to measuring a goal opens the ability to stay focused and meet important deadlines.

Achievable – Having achievable goals is vital to the process itself. Continue to reach for the stars, but think about the realistic ways you can get there. Ask yourself, “what skills are necessary for a particular goal” – what is needed to build them – go from there.

Relevant   Sometimes a person’s goals are influenced by family, friends, other loved ones.

Another important question to ask yourself, “is this my goal?” Maybe trying to be an engineer, just because the family does it, is not what you truly want as a career. Making a goal personal can turn out to be very rewarding.

Time-limiting/Time-bound – Create a deadline or target date for each goal. Think about what you can accomplish in six days, weeks, months, and years from today. Think about what there is to do today i order to meet that deadline.

Prioritize:
Students have a lot going on that requires a day-to-day balancing act. Prioritizing responsibilities can help make the tasks less intrusive, stressful and overbearing on one’s personal life.

Know What Personally Motivates You:
It is important for all individuals to understand what personally drives them each and every day.Allison said, “We’re driven by something to look forward to.” Perhaps the source is money, a new car, a degree, or good grades.

See an Advisor/Counselor:
Seeing an advisor can be important for students to find the help they might need. Students might need help with transferring, choosing classes, or knowing what their next academic step is. Educational goals can be either short or long-term, so it is important to take advantage of given opportunities. Make an appointment with a counselor at austincc.edu/support-and-services.

Pick this story up in the Spring 2018 Life4U magazine on campus[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmuP_XXoMZ4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Building Resumes

Written by Mariana Foran

Starting college, there are many things to think about like paying for classes, which ones to take, where to live and more. Ultimately, ACC provides students with an education and sources to add to a resume to get a job in the appropriate area of study. However, not many know how to write a resume, or what to even put on it.

Many advisors suggest students build their experience at ACC by joining student organizations, volunteering, internships and anything that can give you experience beyond the classroom.

“I think the biggest mistake I see college students make when it comes to building their resume is, they don’t pay attention to anything except school,” says ACC advisor Don Bradley. “They do the bare minimum to get by and at the end they find themselves with a piece paper, nothing more. If an employer had a choice between two college graduates, one with a degree and one with a degree and an impressive resume of things they did in college who do you think they are going to hire?”

It’s not uncommon to attend class, go home and/or work and call it a day. However, the Office of Student Life offers multiple ways to to volunteer and participate in campus activities. If being on campus is too limiting, they can help you find ways to be involved in the community.

Bradley says, “I was very protective over my GPA and basically did whatever I could fit into my schedule. Doing stuff gives you experience and you never know who you might meet or what kind of connections you can make.”

Every job application should have a tailored resume and cover letter.

Resume
Resumes should include several sections: your career objective, a list of experience and skills that pertain to the job and education. It is ok to apply to jobs before graduation, just be sure to place your expected graduation date under the education section. If a list of references isn’t asked for, then include it at the bottom of your resume. Have three or four references of current and/ past co-workers and managers who can speak, honestly, about your work ethic.

Cover Letter
In addition to a resume, many employers, often, ask for a cover letter. A cover letter is a summary of your resume and a formal way of introducing yourself. This is the opportunity to explain how a past experience or skill set, listed in your resume, makes you a top candidate for the job.

“Sincerity is an important element to a good cover letter,” says Bradley. “Staying away from empty phrases also, give people the facts they need not a flowy paragraph about how you’re a people person. The absolute worst thing you can do is use your cover letter to kiss up. Being a kiss up is a big turn off and it makes you seem lazy,”

When writing a cover letter, try keep it about a page long. Human Resources and the managers are receiving many resumes and cover letters (if asked), so be sure to keep it short simple and to the point. Formally address the boss or company you are writing it to and close it with the best way to reach out to you for an interview.

The libraries on every ACC campus has readings that can help you build your resume and cover letter. Or you can visit their online guide at austincc.edu/careerinfo. For hands-on learning, the Highland ACCelerator hosts several Resume & Cover Letter workshops throughout the semester.

Pick this story up in the Spring 2018 Life4U magazine on campus.