How Do I Look?

I stood in front of the closet with my arms folded and let out a long sigh. I do not usually put extra time and effort into planning my outfits, but this was a special occasion. I was going to a communications conference that Saturday and had no idea what I was going to wear. When I asked my mom, she told me to dress business-casual. I looked on Pinterest for outfit ideas and was confused when I saw outfits that I had always been advised against. I had been told to stick to neutral colors, but the outfits I saw had a mix of colors and patterns. This was when I noticed that the rules had changed.

Business-casual is a new term in fashion, only dating back to around the 1980s. It was used in companies where the employees did not spend as much time in front of consumers and spent more time in the office. It became a way of expressing yourself and still maintaining a professional attitude without the formality. What is considered business-casual?

Robert Johnson, executive team leader of human resources at Target in Texarkana, said “Business casual for me would be a nice pair of jeans, a nice polo shirt. For ladies, there are several variations of blouses and shirts that are definitely appropriate for an interview. When I dress business casual, I wear a long-sleeved button-up and slacks or khakis.”

For men, this is a simple take on business casual that is always acceptable. The look is easy to replicate and there are many different variations to it to make it more unique. 

Business casual has changed over time and pieces that were considered unacceptable like jeans or sneakers can be dressed up to look more professional. Overall, business casual is a step above what you would wear on a typical day, but not fancy enough to be formal. Blazers and sports jackets can be paired with chinos, khakis, or nice jeans. When choosing a pair of jeans, it is best to stay away from overly distressed jeans and wear a dark pair.

It is also important to remember that business casual depends on the workplace or the event. When going to an interview Johnson said you should present yourself at your best.

“I’ve been doing this for several years, and you can tell when a person is presenting themselves to the best of their ability or not. I say this because you could have someone from a scheduled interview come in whatever they were wearing that morning. Their tennis shoes are not laced up or tied and you can tell if they could have done better than that,” said Johnson.

The dress code at Target is more relaxed than other businesses and it is not a deal-breaker for you to come into an interview with jeans. However, there are times when the jeans should be kept in the closet. If possible, it is best to be a little overdressed for an interview than underdressed. The interviewer will be able to tell if you have spent time on your appearance and it will make a good impression on them.

Women have a wide variety of clothing options to choose from, which is part of what made my outfit decision for the event difficult. I did not know if I should wear a skirt, dress, blouse, heels, pants, or flats. In Vanessa Rodriguez’s article, “What is Business Casual Attire for Women? Outfit Tips, Advice & Ideas,” she writes a list of tips to help women pick the right outfits. One of the safest options is khakis or dark pants with a button-down shirt. Sweaters are also a very good choice.

An important tip for women to remember is to pay attention to the types of shirts and skirts or dresses they wear. It is considered inappropriate for cleavage to be visible. If a blouse is a little sheer, make sure to wear a camisole underneath. Skirts and dresses should stay at knee length or longer. Clothes that are too tight also can send the wrong message to a potential employer or business connection.

With many options out there, the most important idea to remember is that there is no simple answer for what to wear. Your outfit will depend on the environment and the nature of the event. No matter what, take your time to pick the outfit that makes the best impression.

Texarkana Rocks

Have you seen painted rocks hidden around town? This growing trend started just to brighten people’s day.  I have stumbled across a few rocks myself, and I do enjoy seeing them. However, I leave the rocks where I find them for the stones to brighten up someone else’s day.  It is a light-hearted and harmless trend that is ever growing. In fact, Texarkana even has a facebook group called “Texarkana Rocks- Texas Official Group” where they gather to show off their rocks as well as discuss possible hiding places and reasons behind. The facebook group although closed to the public is still is to join. By joining the group, I gained access to the hot hiding spots for painted rocks which happen to be Spring Lake Park and Three Chicks.

   If you treat the painted rocks as a game, then the game is straightforward. First, you find a quilted rock that has passed through 20 different hands with everyone adding their personal touch, and then you paint it. Next thing you do is hide the rock someone for someone else to find. The person who finds it can either keep it, rehide it, or leave it be.  Now Texarkana Rocks facebook group encourages people who paint the rocks to put the web link on the back of the rocks so others can find the group.  This is their way of trying to get strangers unaware of the trend to seek out the group and post pictures of the rocks they find. Mainly because that is part of their game and people get encouraged to paint and hide more rocks when they see their rocks being found. This trend across the ArkLaTex is allowing people to spread their creativity and encourages them to be part of a community. Some people even use the rocks as a way to send a message whether that message is a cause or just to uplift spirits. There are funny rocks, pretty rocks, and even location rocks.

This is one of the Quilt Rocks that is circulating around Texarkana. Photo Taken by Tonya Walker

   One trend that encourages everyone to play the game are the quilted rocks. Now the quilted rocks start out rather dull as they are painted a solid color with horizontal and vertical lines drawn on it. The person to paint the rock essentially only paints one square before hiding the wrong. The next person comes along finds the rock, paints an additional square and then hides it. The same goes for everyone that follows, so by the time all the squares are colored. The idea of painted rocks is brilliant because it invites everyone to join in on the fun to spread smiles across the ArkLaTex. It has become a treasure hunt where people are taking their kids to popular painted rock destination so they can even enjoy the fun. People enjoy finding the rocks just as much as the creators enjoy painting and hiding them. Both parties feel good by the end of the interactions.  

   Painted rocks are meant to brighten people’s day. They are harmless, lighthearted and meant to be fun. I invite everyone who reads this to join the Texarkana Rocks- Texas Official Group on Facebook.

Some of the rocks that can be found around town. Photo taken by Jen Phillips

Red River Innovation Lab for the Humanities

In college, one of the most rewarding accomplishments as a student is acquiring the ability to conduct and exhibit our own works. Doing so means that we are in some way progressing intellectually and broadening both our skill sets and minds by practicing what we learn.  Admittedly, though, it’s hard to do this alone. Guidance, even the slightest thereof, can help individuals in dramatic ways. For this reason, Texas A&M – Texarkana is proud to present a new way for students, faculty, and staff members to collaborate, innovate, and communicate ideas and research agenda’s that will contribute to a better understanding of the humanities The Red River Innovation Lab for the Humanities!

The innovation lab intends on taking a student lead approach to education and scholarship by utilizing not only services and teachings of value to students, but also allowing them to produce their own research and experiments. The lab wants to offer Texas A&M – Texarkana school members a place of encouragement in which they can gather resources cooperatively and produce research-based developments that aid in the progression of their own understandings of the humanities. From the beginning, we want to emphasize student involvement and construct the lab in a way that benefits the wants and needs of student academics.

The Red River Innovation Lab, though not officially open, will be located in room 120 in the STEM building. We’ve just begun receiving our equipment to get up and running! Prior to our grand opening, Director Drew Morton will be hosting our first meeting on November 28th, from 12:15 to 1 pm, in the lab. The meeting is of a participatory nature meant as an opportunity for you to disclose what sort of projects and materials you’re interested in the innovation lab to offer. Dr. Morton will also provide further insight regarding what we will be able to provide for you! It’s an opportunity for voices to be heard. Finally, you get to tell everyone what you want to learn and gain experience in within the field of humanities. Some examples of possible discussion topics may be podcasts, broadcasting, PLACE work, and whatever else you bring to the table. A link to the Innovation Lab’s Facebook page is included below where you can let us know if you are interested in attending. If you plan on joining us, please RSVP by November 26! There will be a light lunch and refreshments offered, so feel free to come by and check out your school’s new research facilities! We hope to see you there.

‘Remediation’ PLACE Lecture, by Dr. Morton

November 16th, 2017 – Squeezed between two Mass Communication courses Dr. Morton was teaching, he found the time to hold a PLACE Lecture in UC 210 – the subject, Bolter & Grusin’s Remediation, a subject dear to his heart (or as close as he can get with a subject so often covered in his courses) and one that I, a Mass Communication Major myself, find fun food for thought when it counts.

While the lecture got described as a 40 minute crash course, the topic of Remediation thankfully is one that’s simple to understand but difficult to master. Remediation, in the case of Bolter & Grusin meaning representing one medium in another, is something we don’t spot enough in everyday life for how prevalent the concept is – it’s essentially the ‘borrowing’ of ideas from one medium (Film, TV, Video Games) to enhance or otherwise detail another – consider Film and TV in the 90’s, two very distinct mediums that aren’t so different in modern terms.

The paradox of Remediation, however, is that oftentimes mediums need to borrow from each other to feel real – they must be less like themselves to be themselves. Think long enough about your favorite property and you might find that you can make a stronger argument for it being a medium other than one it actually is.

Dr. Morton was by the day’s end more than a bit exhausted but he did want to comment that if the lecture (or what’s being described by me after the fact) was of interest to anyone they should consider stopping by the Red River Innovation Lab in the Science and Technology Building on campus, Room 120. As of now, they’re shooting for a full launch of the lab before the beginning of Spring but there’ll be events to get a game plan going in the coming weeks.

‘Ethics in Science’

November 14th, 2017 – After an hour of frank discussion, the low lighting in UC 217 did well to capture the mood of the audience as Dr. Walter Casey’s PowerPoint ended on a slide with the phrase ‘I AM BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS’. They, myself included, had just reached the end of an open lecture on Ethics in Science as part of the Science and Technology theme of this year’s PLACE lectures/events. Where the ethics of the subject lied, none can say.

The two main elements of the lecture – Ethics and Science, if you can believe it – got covered in sequence. Ethics, being the enforcement of a moral standard or system, are something we know a lot about, even if we don’t think of them as such. You can think of it – broadly – as actions taken because they serve a greater purpose – they are what’s ‘right’. This isn’t to say that this line of logic is wrong – only that Ethics and the morals they stand for are muddy at times. Is a bribe, for example, always unethical to accept?

It’s even muddier in the realm of Science. More specifically, Engineering. Consider whether or not building code is enforced, or safety rules are met at a chemical plant. Do you think it’s unethical not to keep things up to code? There are those that don’t – catastrophe after catastrophe can me attributed to a lack of ethical standard. Just look into the Bhopal Disaster, for example.

Dr. Casey argues we’re guilty of this in our own lives, too, even if we’re not given great and obvious responsibilities like the upkeep of a chemical plant. We worship technology as a people and give it far more power than we realize. Ethics can quickly turn into a matter of security and we are not safe. As Dr. Casey says, “Read your End User License Agreement.”

Mistletoe Fair 2017

This weekend, the Junior League of Texarkana kicks off the holiday season with the 32nd Annual Mistletoe Fair at the Four States Fairgrounds.

Junior League member Courtney Boeckmann says “Mistletoe Fair is a great way to kick off the holiday season.  From holiday shopping for friends and family, to seeing the magic of the season with the arrival of Santa Claus, to watching a showcase of local animal shelter pets in need of a home called Strut the Mutt, there is something fun for everyone at Mistletoe Fair!”

Day passes can be purchased for $7.00 at the door. For events like “Breakfast with Santa,” “Story Time with Santa,” and “Santa’s Workshop” it is a good idea to purchase in advance because they sell out fast. Tickets can be purchased at the website listed below.

General Admission Hours:

Friday, November 17th Noon-8:00 PM

Saturday, November 18th 9:00 AM-7:00 PM

Sunday, November 19th Noon-5:00 PM

Strut the Mutt:

Sunday, November 19th from 2:30-3:30pm

Career Services at TAMUT

Are you worried about having a job upon graduation? Does your resume lack confidence? Do you have interview anxiety? If so the best help you can get it’s from Career Development. Career Development is located on the third floor, and it is there to help students succeed in life. My time with Career Development has been pleasant and helpful.
Career Development is there for students who need a job now and for those who are looking for jobs in their field upon graduation. What career Development does is it networks and communicates with local and not so local businesses and determines what jobs they need to be filled.
All a student has to do is set up an appointment and see Mrs. Tina Boitnott in UC 329. It helps if you bring your resume so she can review it and help you make your resume more solid and attractive to future employers. When I first had an appointment, I was kind of nervous, but as I sat down and began conversing with her assistant, I realized that they are just there to help. At the appointment, you will discuss what your degree is and what you want to do in the future. Mrs. Boitnott will probably ask a few follow-up questions, but all the questions allow her to help find a job that you would do well in. By the end of my first appointment with Career Development, I realized they didn’t have any jobs available for me. However, it put me on their radar so; then they could keep an ear out for jobs that would match my skill set.
Now as I am in my last semester I have created a solid resume that allows me to put my best foot forward, and I have several different directions I can take for my future career path. I am planning to apply to all these options because I know not all will give me an interview. I have been going to Career Development for about a year now, and as this year progress, they have had a couple of jobs come across their desk that I have shown interest in. One I looked into and another I knew was not right for me, but now that I am graduating I am looking at jobs more seriously. If everything goes well with the help from Mrs. Boitnott, then I will have a job by the time graduation gets here.
I encourage everyone to go check out and make an appointment with career development so they can help you with your resume, give mock interviews, and be put on their radar so they can help find you a job. So, whether you need a job now or in the future, Career Development is there to help you, and they cannot help you if they are not aware that you need help. For new college graduates, any help is appreciated when you are fighting to get your foot in the door.