Tips for Students Attending Zoom University

     The University of Maine at Presque Isle will return to fully online on Nov. 23, which means students will need to adapt to a new change in their education. With some UMPI classes already online or hybrid, students will have a head start on transitioning to fully online. Although online learning through Zoom is very flexible and easy-to-use, many students feel they learn best in an environment of in-person classes. 

Tips for students as they transition to online learning.

     The switch to fully online classes this semester plays a huge role in students’ social lives and their mental health. Students will be taking their classes from home and in their bedrooms, which is a much different experience from in a classroom. There are many tips and tricks students can follow to stay focused during these last weeks of the fall semester. 

     Students have been using Zoom for many months now, so they should be getting used to the application. Zoom is very accessible and easy-to-use, so students are now more confident using it. Students should know how to work their camera and mute button. It is always important to arrive on Zoom a couple of minutes before class time. When their camera is on, students should have good lighting and pay attention to their body positioning. It can be difficult to speak on Zoom, so patience is key during participation and conversations with one another. 

     Another tip for students as they switch to online learning is to keep a schedule and stay organized. It is very easy to lose track of time when working on a computer, so making a schedule or to-do list could be helpful. Many students use academic planners to map out their days. Something as simple as Post-it® notes or a sheet of paper can do the job. It is also important to take breaks from your computer screen. Looking at a digital computer screen can be mentally exhausting and physically painful on your eyes. Walking away from your screen is beneficial when you spend long hours on your computer. Take breaks from your computer screen to grab a snack or take a walk during the day. 

     “I like to make lists of everything I have due each week. I think the most important thing with online school is setting aside time to complete schoolwork,” UMPI sophomore, Emily Blauvet, said. “It’s important to have good communication with your professors and stay on top of your work. I just hope for the best!”

     Having a comfortable and pleasant environment is crucial to college students’ educational experience. It is important to find a comfortable workspace to take classes and complete homework in. Students need to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed in their space, whether that is a bedroom or office. Having a cozy chair and a proper desk is something all students should have. 

     When students take classes on Zoom, it can be very easy to become distracted by their surroundings. They are no longer in a learning environment inside a classroom. They are no longer face-to-face with their classmates, so it is easy to get distracted from their classes on Zoom. Students can take away distractions around them by turning off their phones or other electronic devices. Sometimes when classes have more students, it can be easier to lose focus. 

     Students also should take care of their bodies and minds during these last weeks of classes. Having good physical and mental health will benefit students and their academics. Students should be getting enough sleep, even if that means taking naps during the day. They should be drinking plenty of water, not just coffee in the morning. Students can also incorporate exercise and a healthy diet into their routine. Taking these steps will allow them to have positive mental and physical health during the rest of the fall semester.  

     “It’s going to be hard going fully online, but I plan on my making a schedule every day to keep me organized. If I stick to my schedule, it is easier for me to adapt to change,” UMPI senior, Marissa Valdivia Reagle, said. “Last semester when we went online, I had to move a desk into my room. I wanted it to be more of a school environment in my room.”

     All of these steps will benefit students in one way of another. Taking classes and completing an education at home is a unique experience. It is definitely not easy. Even real-world professionals are struggling with working remotely and at home. As students travel back home for the holidays, please remember to make your health a number one priority. Having good grades is not as important as taking care of yourself.  Finish the semester and year off strongly because we all need a good break for the holidays. 

 

Nana’s Monkey Bread

     Growing up, my household highly anticipated Christmas morning. My brother, sister and I would wake one another up at 5 a.m., because the anticipation to see what Santa had brought us made it impossible to sleep. Creeping down the stairs Christmas morning, our Nana would always greet us. Coffee in hand, she would lead us to the kitchen for freshly baked Monkey Bread, a tradition the four of us shared. Personally, I think the monkey bread was a distraction she created to give our parents an extra 20 minutes of sleep. 

     Regardless of how the tradition started, Monkey Bread became a staple of the Davis’ family Christmas. For those of you who don’t know what Monkey Bread is, it’s a doughy, buttery, cinnamon treat. But don’t just take my word for it: try the recipe out for yourself!

Yummy cinnamon goodness!

     Ingredients

     ½ cup granulated sugar

     1 teaspoon cinnamon

     2 cans (16.3 oz each) of Pillsbury Grandsbiscuits

     1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar

     ¾ cup of butter or margarine, melted

     Optional: ½ cup of chopped walnuts and/or ½ cup of raisins

 

     Steps

     1 Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In a large gallon plastic food storage bag, mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. 

     2 Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each biscuit into quarters. Place pieces into bag of sugar and cinnamon, coating the dough in mixture. Arrange the pieces of dough in pan. If desired, add in walnuts or raisins. Sprinkle any remaining sugar over the dough in the pan. 

     3 In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces. 

     4 Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Loosen edges of the pan with spatula. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. 

     5 Eat the Monkey Bread out of the pan, or turn upside down onto serving plate. Pull apart and enjoy!

COVID-19 in the North Pole

  This year has been difficult for everyone, including Christmastime’s very own, Santa Claus. The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected hundreds of areas worldwide and even places such as the North Pole. Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves at the North Pole have had to adapt to COVID-19 regulations. With Santa’s older age and weight, he is at high risk for Coronavirus, so he has to be extra safe. Yet even in the face of a global pandemic, Santa is still preparing to deliver millions of presents on Christmas Eve so that children around the world can have a good holiday. 

     People may have seen their local “Santa Claus” in shopping malls or Christmas tree farms around the country. The real Father Christmas has been preparing for months on end at the North Pole with his elves. When COVID-19 took over the world earlier this year, the North Pole was no exception. The elves in the North Pole do not travel much and Santa only journeys outside the area if he has an important meeting. Although there haven’t been any positive COVID-19 cases at the Pole, Santa has all the residents taking precautions as they make toys for Christmastime. 

Be like Santa Claus and wear a mask!

     Santa’s Workshop and everyone at the North Pole have been following CDC guidelines. Santa’s elves have been socially distancing and staying six feet apart in the workshop. Due to this regulation, a large number of elves cannot work in the same space, because of the problems with social distancing. The elves can no longer build toys in large groups at the workshop, so they have been working longer hours. These elves are continuing to stay positive, despite the change in their working environment. Their main goal is to make children happy on Christmas Day. 

     “It has been a very different year at the North Pole. We still drink plenty of hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols, but it hasn’t been the same. Santa has done a great job cheering us up,” Buddy, a North Pole elf, said. “We have been working longer hours, but we do not mind because our ultimate goal is for every child to have a wonderful Christmas. We want to do everything we can to cheer them up from this terrible year.”

     Everyone in the North Pole has been wearing masks: Christmas themed ones, of course. Every elf working on toys has been using hand sanitizer and wet wipes. Although elves have had to follow all of these regulations, they are still very energetic and excited for Christmas, as usual. 

     Santa recognizes that families around the world, especially in the U.S., may be struggling financially. He wants to do as much as he can for these families. Santa plans on delivering to all children across the world who are deserving. Many individuals died from the virus this year. People also lost their jobs throughout this year, so they were unable to provide for their children. With COVID-19 playing a huge role in the economy and health of the United States’ population, Santa and Mrs. Claus want to make this Christmas a special one for families in need. 

     “When this virus hit, we didn’t know what to do. We could see that the elves were losing some of their Christmas spirit and that the reindeer were upset,” Mrs. Claus said. “Nick has been working endlessly to make everyone feel safe and I couldn’t be prouder of how he has dealt with everything.” 

     Christmas is a year-round event at the North Pole and when COVID-19 surprised the world, Santa acted quickly. The North Pole was able to continue its progress in the workshop, while following CDC regulations. There haven’t been any parties or gatherings this year at the North Pole, but the elves have continued to show Christmas spirit. Santa will be delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, like any other year. His sleigh will be sanitized and ready to go for his long journey delivering gifts. Despite this eventful year, Santa is doing everything he can to make this holiday season a memorable one for millions of families in the world. 

How Has COVID-19 Affected UMPI Athletics? 2.0

 

     In our first article on how the coronavirus has affected UMPI athletics, we focused on the baseball, volleyball and golf teams. We took a look at the differences the coronavirus has made as well as its impact.  In this section, we will focus on the soccer and cross country teams. 

     COVID-19 made soccer practice extremely difficult. According to Courtney Richard, they had to be separate from their teammates for three weeks. On the upside, the soccer team didn’t need to wear masks during practice as long as they maintained a safe social distance of six feet. “For the first three weeks we couldn’t share equipment,” Richard said. 

     After those three weeks, the players were finally allowed to share equipment, but they still couldn’t have contact with their teammates. During practice, the soccer team had three groups of five to six teammates per group. The athletes had to keep their masks on until they got on the field, because once they were on the field, they were more than six feet away from one another. 

     After every practice, the team members would usually gather and talk a little bit. But with COVID-19 around this year, they weren’t able to huddle up after practice. “Practice was very separate and more individualized compared to last year,” Richard said.

     Cross country team members also had practices this fall. According to runner Campton Tinkham, COVID-19 didn’t play a significant factor in their practices.  This is because cross country is more of an individual sport. Since the runners on the team were already spread out, they were able to avoid wearing masks for the most part.

     “We didn’t really have a problem with sharing equipment because there is not really anything to share.” Practice was fairly simple for the cross country team. They would line up 15 feet apart and warm up. After the runners got loose and warmed up, the coach would give all runners their run for the day. 

     Most sports this year have taken a hit when it comes to extra circumstances and rules. But the university is trying to keep us as safe as possible. Fortunately there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we will make it out of COVID-19. 

     It’s just a matter of working through it and doing your individual job whether that be just as a student or as a student athlete. If we all play our part in keeping our community safe, that’ll be one less place the government has to worry about as a whole when it comes to the spread of the virus. And remember, there’re always better days ahead.

Honoring the Life of John Haley

John Haley, the kind and loving teacher at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, died on Sept. 10, 2020. Ever since, the campus has been celebrating his life. As an adjunct teacher and director of University of Experience at UMPI, John was a loved and admired person on campus and in the community.

Remembering John Haley.

Born in Aroostook County, John received his bachelor’s degree from Aroostook State Teachers college, which is now UMPI. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono.
Although he was a seed farmer for 30 years, John truly found his passion as a teacher. He was a mentor and instructor at UMPI for 15 years, where he influenced and inspired others during his time. His impact on the people around him was clear on Sept. 18 during a campus memorial service.

In conjunction with UMPI’s Homecoming Spirit Week and Memories Day, people gathered in front of South Hall for the event. During this service, a select number of students, faculty and staff members gathered for a ceremonial tree planting. President Ray Rice and Business Professor Kim Jones shared some brief words about John during the service, as did others. Kim announced that the Excellence Every Day award, which is given each year to an employee who embodies the university’s service excellence
promise, will be renamed the John Haley Service Excellence Award. Due to COVID-19, only a set number of people were allowed to attend. The individuals who did could see firsthand how much John meant to those around him.

“If I had to describe him in one word, it would be caring,” UMPI senior Roni Shaw said. “He was the type of professor to always keep class light and fun. Everyone was just happy with him around. He was a great man.”

During the ceremony, attendees were able to write a note about John on a small paper owl ornament and tie it to the freshly planted tree. People could also write a note on a luminary bag. The luminaries were placed along the walkway from Folsom and Pullen Hall to the Campus Center and lighted that night. All of the notes and sentiments were collected afterwards, so they could be shared during UMPI’s commencement ceremony in the spring.

“He was the kind of professor who helped us outside of the classroom. He could tell if his students were having a bad day, and he would be the first to try and make everyone else feel better,” UMPI senior Marissa Valdivia Reagle said. “As my English professor, he helped us relate our schoolwork to our personal lives. He always made an effort to talk to us about our lives and how we were doing.”

John Haley’s life continues to be celebrated around campus as the semester goes on. His spirit at UMPI was strong and anyone whom John affected was devastated by the news. His death reminds us of the importance of cherishing the people in our lives, because we do not know the last time we will see them. John was known as selfless and giving person. Although his physical journey is over, students, faculty and staff members are continuing to embrace his life.

How to ‘Boo’ Your Friends This Halloween While Sticking to a Budget

Holidays in the times of Corona have everyone feeling a little glum. While Trick-or-Treating might be a little trickier this year, here’s an easy way to spread a little happiness this spooky season while sticking
to a budget.

To start, you’re going to want to want to set a budget. As a college student, money can sometimes be pretty tight. While you might not have a lot to give, Boo Baskets are the gift that keeps on giving. When you start this little project, keep in mind that the person you Boo is supposed to pass the treat along, Booing someone else. For this example, let’s have a budget of $20.

Once you have your budget set, make a list. On your list, start by putting a festive pail or other cute Halloween bag. Next, add a bag of candy. Aside from these two items, you’re going to want to budget your money in order to add other items to your Boo Basket. Be however creative you want!

The next step is to find your local dollar store, or any sort of inexpensive store. This example Boo Basket has items found at both the Dollar Tree and Walmart. Just to give an idea of prices, below is a list of each item, price and where each thing in the bucket was bought:

– Festive Halloween pail: $1 (Dollar Tree)
– Cute scrunchies: $1 ea. (Dollar Tree)
– Bag of candy: $1 (Dollar Tree)
– Cookie crypt kit: $6.98 (Walmart)
– 2-pack of festive socks: $3.48 (Walmart)
– Halloween hair ties: $4 (Walmart)
– Cute Halloween cup with straw: $0.98 (Walmart)
– Funny Halloween flask: $1.98 (Walmart)

This collage includes all the items found for this example basket.

This list might inspire you, but don’t feel that you have to follow the entire list yourself. Feel free to get anything you want. Just be mindful of your budget. Your friends don’t want you to go bankrupt in
order to make this basket.

Once you have gathered all of your Boo Basket materials, go ahead and place them all in the pail. If you’re feeling a little extra, throw in a piece of tissue
paper to make it look pretty.

Here’s an idea of what a finished basket might look like.

When everything is looking as you want it to, bring your baskets to your

Don’t forget to capture a your friend’s reaction when you drop the basket off to them! Pictured: Maraia Nason of Sebago, ME. Nason attends UMaine at Orono.

friends. Whether they live in the dorm room down the hall, are your roommate or reside across town, drop it off to them. Don’t forget to tell them, “You’ve just been ‘Booed!’”

Making the Best of 2020

Hello everyone, Saint and Dusty here! We hope everyone is doing well during these difficult times. It has been a strange semester, but we are happy to be back on campus with Mummy. Although we cannot see students’ faces, we still can recognize their smells. Mummy’s
classes are not in her usual spot, so we get to travel down the hall. Tuesdays and Thursdays are long days, but we get to see lots of students throughout the day.

Saint and Dusty cuddle up for PCJ 396 on Tuesday mornings.

When students come to class, they take these wet wipes from the front of the class and use them on their desks. It is very stinky, but we are getting used to it. During class time, Dusty and I lie on our cozy bed and enjoy class. We have noticed that students are spread out and do
not sit next to each other like they used to. Mummy only takes us to campus a couple days out of the week, so we try to make the best of it.

With all these changes on campus, we are staying positive for Mummy and her students. We like to greet students, especially the ones in the morning. We cannot see their faces, but we know they are smiling. This semester has been like no other, but it is our job to be there for Mummy. We are ready for whatever the rest of this year has in store for us!

Trick or Treat

Why do people say Trick or Treat? I think we should cut to the chase and ask for what we really want: treats, treats and even more treats. To heck with the tricks, that’s puppy stuff for Saint and me. We are certified service dogs, and we won’t be doing tricks for anybody. We talked it over, and my sister and I are going to ask only for treats.

Hey everybody, Dusty here, and I’m so excited for Halloween this year! I know it must be soon, because the leaves are crunchy on my paws. I can almost smell all the candy, and it’s getting hard for me to wait! I haven’t quite decided on what I want to be, but even if I did, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise before the Halloween party. Last year, my big sister Saint
and I were a huge hit. We dressed up as cats! It was hilarious! I mean, c’mon now, dogs as cats!Does is get any crazier than that? It was a foolproof couples costume, and it’s going to be a hard one to beat this year.

I have newfound respect for cats. Wearing these ears gets really uncomfortable.

Last year was my first Halloween at UMPI, but lucky for me, Mummy teaches a lot of classes, and I got to party with all of them. All of the kids wear masks, and not just the masks they wear on other days. These masks have faces on them, and some of the faces are really scary. I hope there aren’t any scary ones this year, because Saint and I are going to six different
Halloween parties in one day. Even better, some of the kids bring candy to the parties! When Mummy isn’t looking, I’m going to grab their wrappers out of the garbage. Goodness I love Halloween!

Best wishes,

Dusty Lowman

A Spooky Season in a Spooky Year

Once October comes around, anybody who loves horror or getting to be someone else for the day is excited for Halloween. This year will not be the same as in the past. With the Coronavirus taking the world by storm, many holidays and gatherings have been put on pause or canceled. In many communities, trick-or-treating and Halloween gatherings will not be happening. While adapting to the pandemic, families across the country are going to have to start new traditions this Halloween.

Halloween during a pandemic might be tricky.

This year has been stressful for everyone, including children. They have had in-person school canceled, recreational sports canceled, and they have been told not to visit their grandparents because it could kill them. They have endured extreme isolation, which could potentially have an effect on their
social skills as they grow up. Like everyone else, they have had a rough year.

Other holidays this year have already been canceled. Families were forced to spend Easter and the Fourth of July at home. Trick-or-treating is also going to be very unusual this year and children will once again have to suffer the consequences.

When the end of October comes around, children usually look forward to trick-or-treating by dressing up, but it is much different this year.

“Some Halloween traditions my family and I have is decorating the inside and outside of our house. My mom makes some delicious food, and we watch movies. It must be difficult for children this year,
since they won’t be able to do those normal Halloween traditions,” UMPI sophomore Halle Garner said.

State officials around the country are advising parents and their children to avoid trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. Halloween is a special day that gives children many long-lasting memories that they
will bring with them into adulthood. This year’s Halloween is not only disappointing but stressful for children, especially since they will be missing out on experiences all people should have during their
childhood.

“I personally I think not having trick-or-treating is a smart idea because there is a pandemic going on. Going from door-to-door is not the safest, especially for children,” UMPI senior Bethany McAvoy said. “I have seen a lot of stuff online where people can still dress up at home and make their own fun.”

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention describes trick-or-treating as “high risk activity” because of the traveling done by children from house to house. Although surfaces such as candy wrappers aren’t a significant source of spread for COVID-19, trick-or-treating can still be done safely. Smaller communities across the country are still planning trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods as long as it is done in a safe manner.

Although this holiday will be different, there are many things that families can still do to make the best out of their spooky season. Trick-or-treating is a popular Halloween tradition, but there are many other ways children can celebrate the holiday safely in a world of COVID-19.

There are a variety of ways families and their children can create new traditions in 2020. Pumpkin carving at home is fun Halloween activity, which is low risk and suggested by the CDC. A costume contest at home and through Zoom or Facetime with friends is a perfect way to show off your costume. Families can make Halloween treats and baked goods from home, which will satisfy those sweet tooth cravings. Decorating the inside and outside of your house with scary decorations could lead to a
neighborhood drive-through event. Another option is to turn down the lights and have a movie night with your family.

All of these options are great substitutes for trick-or-treating this Halloween season. Despite not being able to celebrate Halloween as usual, it is important that families are still spending the holiday together and safely. It has been a difficult year for children and their families, but they have made it this far. Adapting to this pandemic is not easy and yet families across the country are succeeding. Halloween in 2020 is going to be different, but something that this year has taught people is that we are up for a challenge.

A Pumpkin’s Ending

Orange, spooky smiles light up doorsteps for the festivities of Halloween. The pumpkin becomes famous this time of year and rightfully so. Many take part in the tradition of carving jack o’ lanterns. Sales
skyrockets and millions of pumpkins make their way into homes. It is a perfect ending–almost. Millions of pounds of pumpkins end up in landfills each year. Pumpkins are an organic waste. There are many
ways to reuse or responsibly dispose of pumpkins.

Two Pumpkins in Different Cycles of their Lives.

You can add pumpkins to your compost bin. Any and all seeds should be removed beforehand. The birds are likely to feast upon these. In fact, some animals are known to eat the entire pumpkin. Wildlife such as deer and squirrels are known to snack on pumpkins. Many zoos collect pumpkin donations after Halloween. Animals love the taste, and we don’t blame them.

Lately, the perfect fall flavor of pumpkin spice has taken over. Recipes online say how to make this Halloween squash into tasty desserts and appetizers. But if these great options for using leftover pumpkins are not for you, there are other ways to naturally dispose of them.

An easy way to dispose of a pumpkin is to bury it. By burying pieces of the pumpkin in soil, you are allowing nature to do the rest of the work. Over time, the pumpkin pieces will break down and enrich the soil. This is great for plants especially. And if all else fails, smash it. It is eco-friendly and entertaining.

The pumpkin is great from beginning to end. It is a tradition with seemingly no downside. Fewer pumpkins now end up in landfills, but we still have a way to go. There are many fun, eco-friendly ways to dispose of pumpkins. This can be the year we choose to honor the pumpkin by disposing of it properly.