Happy February, Bobcat Families!
This edition we have a student perspective on why February can be a stressful month for your student. Pay special attention to some of the common challenges your student may be facing; use the topics as discussion starters and tools to help you know if a care package might be a timely encouragement!
We also bring you news on our next webinar, a link to a recording of our Financial Literacy webinar, and information on several important campus events occuring this month.
And don't forget to "like" our refreshed Parent & Family Association Facebook Page.
Erika Swanson, Miki Lowe, and Lauren Marsh
Parent & Family Association Staff
Student Perspective: Why February Can Be Stressful For Your Student
by Miki Lowe, PFA Student Worker
This month, I am going to talk to you about the challenges your students may be facing as winter is still here and most students are getting a little restless. I’ll also give you a few pointers on how to love your student a little extra during the Valentine’s season!
Challenge # 1: Do I really like my major?
As a student who went through this myself (I have changed my major twice), I know that as your student is starting to delve a little deeper into their majors, they may begin to wonder if this is really what they want to do for a career. They may be exploring other options and it is probably causing a lot of stress. So, what can you do to help them? If your student mentions they’re struggling with this, ask them what’s going on and why, get them to open up, and listen. Help them explore their options and show that you’re supportive. This is a normal thing. In fact, the average student who enters college with a declared major changes it three to five times!
PFA Tip: Did you know that the University has a “Students-In-Transition” advisor in our University Studies department? This advisor works specifically with students who may be questioning his or her major. Also, consider using Career, Internship & Student Employment Services to work with a career coach.
Challenge # 2: Mid-winter “blahs.”
We all face them in some form or another. For some students it is getting restless from being inside too much, struggling if they have not yet established social relationships, or being bored when the only thing to do is their homework. This may even turn into seasonal depression. This is the perfect time for Valentine’s Day to roll around and for you to amp up your lovin’! If your student seems to be a little less perky than normal, be their cupid and send a care package. Give them gift cards to go bowling or movie tickets; anything that encourages them to get out and beat the winter blues!
PFA Tip: If the Mid-winter “blahs” seem to be something more serious, encourage your student to seek out Counseling & Psychological Services, a free service to those students who have paid the Student Health Fee.
Challenge # 3: What am I going to do this summer?
For May graduates, they may be really stressed about finding a job. For others, it could be deciding whether to go home, get a job, or take classes. As much as you may want your baby to come home, let them know you support them in whatever they choose. Just like their major, help them explore their options and figure out the right steps to success, whether it’s earning money or getting an internship. We may not always show it, but it’s nice when mom and dad help us out!
PFA Tip: To help your student with her or her decision, suggest they look for a job or internship on mycatcareers.com or check out both in person and online summer courses at MSU by visiting www.montana.edu/summer/.
Student Body President & Vice President Election Deadlines
Encourage your student to be informed and to participate in the upcoming student body election. The student body president and vice-president work throughout the campus and community to promote the good of the students at Montana State University. The primary vote is February 26, the final debate is February 28, and the final vote is March 5 & 6.
Learn more about ASMSU election deadlines here.
Register For Our Career Services Webinar
Free Webinar: Monday, February 11 - 6:30 PM Mountain Time
Career, Internship & Student Employment Services serves MSU students by providing inspiration, information and opportunities to connect their academic pursuits with career development, internships and employment opportunities. We work with students from the beginning of their academic experience to the end, promoting and developing an orientation towards career maturity and planning by following a comprehensive career planning model. Tune into our webinar on February 11th to learn more about this office and how we can assist your student.
We have 97 live spots for this session. This webinar will be recorded and made available to all parents and families on our listserv within approximately a week of the webinar's live date. If you are not able to be present for this live event, we ask you to forego registration at this time.
Register for the PFA's Financial Literacy Webinar.
Watch Previous Webinars Here!
January's Financial Literacy Webinar Recording Available On Demand
In January, experts from Financial Aid, the Student Assistance Foundation, Student Accounts, Health and Human Development, and the Office of Financial Education joined us to answer our parent and family questions! We discussed available on-campus resources, loans, FAFSA completion, FERPA, and more!
Our Parent & Family Association January Webinar on Financial Literacy can be found
here to watch at any time, free of charge.
Career Services Hosts Spring Career &
Student Employment Fairs
Student Employment Fair
Is your student looking for a part-time job while in school? Meet local employers and campus employers with part-time student employment opportunities. Encourage your student to visit the fair, which will be held in the SUB Ballrooms on February 6th from 11 am - 1 pm.
"Almost" Spring Job & Internship Fair
MSU's 8th Annual "Almost" Spring Job & Internship Fair hosted by the Career, Internship and Student Employment Services office will be welcoming over 100 employers looking to fill Internships, Experienced and Entry Level positions. Encourage your student to prepare, dress up, and visit with employers on February 21 in the MSU Ballrooms from 9 am - 3 pm.
For more information, visit our Career, Internship & Student Employment website.
Tax Preparation & FAFSA Assistance
It’s tax season! Now that your student is in college, they are transitioning into adulthood and may have the responsibility of doing their own taxes. This might sound scary and overwhelming to your student, but MSU and the College of Business are here to help! The student accounting volunteers are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which was established by the Internal Revenue Service to assist people who may find it difficult to pay for tax preparation services. The program also gives accounting students practical experience. Each student accounting volunteer has passed an IRS tax preparation exam, completed at least one comprehensive tax course, received specific training related to common tax issues, and has access to a variety of federal and state reference materials.
Tax preparation sessions will be held for MSU students on the following dates from 5:30 - 7:00 PM in Reid 302:
February: 5, 12, 19, 26, 28
March: 5, 19, 26, 28
It’s also FAFSA season! FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first, and maybe the most important step in applying for financial aid. Don't wait to fill it out! The priority filing date is March 1st and you student needs to file a FAFSA for every academic year your student plans to attend college. You can find out how to complete the FAFSA and fuel up to move along the education highway here. The site has many tips on correctly filling out your FAFSA and even has videos to walk you through the process. Once you’re ready to fill it out, you can complete your FAFSA online.
"Everyone Leads" Author to Speak Feb 19th
Paul Schmitz, author of "Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up," will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the MSU Procrastinator Theater. A reception and book signing will follow. Schmitz is the CEO of Public Allies, a national organization committed to building leadership skills in all people. This event is free and open to the public and sponsored by ASMSU, Hopa Mountain, the MSU Parent & Family Association and the MSU Leadership Institute. For more information call (406) 994-7275 or visit the Leadership Institute Website or their Facebook Page or their Twitter account @MSU_Leadership.