Student Life

I hope that you find this section interesting and informative. There is a lot going on with student life, and as UAM students, we can all relate to the stories of our fellow schoolmates. If there is anything that you would like to see in The UAM Voice, feel free to contact the Student Life Editor, DaQuita Hardeman at or at

February 2004

Commuting No Matter What | Student Stress|

Students Taking Longer to Graduate



Commuting No Matter What

Jane-Marie Herron

The alarm clock rings at 6:00 a.m., and Ashley Duke jumps out of the bed.  She pushes the snooze on the alarm just to get five more minutes of sleep.  The UAM sophomore  from Crossett, Arkansas has to get up early because she has to drive 45 minutes to get to class.

According to the UAM Public Safety office, approximately three out of four UAM students are commuters as of Fall 2003. No matter what the weather- rain, snow, sleet or hail-commuters have to travel through it all.  On average, a UAM commuter travels about 20-25 miles a day.

Commuters encounter many problems including weather, traffic, and state troopers.  Duke comments,  “Almost everyday I go to class someone has been pulled over and is getting a ticket, more than likely for speeding.  They usually have a UAM parking sticker on the back, too.  Students drive crazy on the way to school.  They are always passing, and I know they have to be speeding.”

Each year the number of commuters rises. This year, 2,100 students are commuting to the UAM campus in Monticello, and to the branches in McGehee and Crossett.

Shannon Smith, a UAM senior commuter from Crossett, Arkansas has been commuting for five years. Smith shares in a recent interview that “the worse thing about commuting is that it takes away time from doing other important things such as studying. A lot of students get up early to study for a test, but a commuter would have to get up at 5:15 a.m. to do that.”  She also feels that commuting can be rewarding in some aspects. “It allows you time to be alone and think.” 

Ashley Greene, a freshman commuter from Hamburg, Arkansas commutes daily. Greene stated that the worst problem with commuting is that “It interferes with my sleep.” Greene says that another disadvantage of commuting is the amount of money she has to spend on gas. “I try to find someone to ride with each semester where gas won’t break me.” 

Due to an increase of students, particularly commuters, the parking lots have become a stress zone for students.  A commuter who arrives for an 8:00 a.m. class has to find a parking spot within 10 minutes.  Sometimes a decision has to be made, the choice of getting a ticket, or getting to class on time. 

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Students Taking Longer to Graduate

Jane-Marie Herron

A college student stares at the list of classes trying to figure out a way he can juggle work, the heavy load of college, and still have a little time to relax.  Does this sound familiar?  It seems as though now it is taking students on average 5 ˝ years to graduate. 

So why is there such a delay in graduation?  According to Peggy Walsh, a free press education writer, it is taking students longer to graduate due to more students working, students cutting down on their hours to maintain higher grades, students changing their majors, and many students having to take remedial courses.

One main reason students are taking fewer hours and therefore graduating later is that now many universities are charging students by the number of credit hours taken instead of having a block tuition.

Is this affecting us here at UAM?  It has been for quite a while now.  Carrie Lamb, a senior UAM student, has been attending college since 1997.  Carrie’s difficultly in graduating has been focused on her major. “I had to have independent collaterals to go along with my major.  It was my decision to do this.  It just takes a lot longer to accomplish.  A problem also is when the courses are offered to take.”  In Carrie’s case there were numerous things that affected how long it would take her to graduate. 

Can we ever get back to a student graduating in the traditional 4 years?  Now more classes are required for degrees.  We are becoming more intelligent, yet it is costly.  Peggy Walsh wrote of a student, Angela Samuels, she realized that she was quickly burning out on taking so many course hours.  Her parents had saved enough money for 4 years of college, but felt there was nothing to do but for them to keep paying.  Angela’s mother states some advice for parents of college students:” I would tell them to put back more money, because it’s expensive.”  It just takes an enormous sacrifice to graduate now in 4 years. 

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Student Stress
 Raydine Hollinshed

When high school graduates make the transition to college they finally get the freedom they have always wanted. However, the image of college in our minds and the way that it is depicted on television can be misleading. For some students, college is full of stress.

Stress is America’s leading health problem. According to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, fifty-one percent of Americans under stress do not sleep at night. Stress affects the way a person performs at work, in class, and in the presence of other people.

Tia Okolo, freshman at UAM, knows first hand how it feels to be stressed out.

Okolo has lived in Arkansas for the majority of her life and she graduated from Dumas High School last May. She remembers being anxious to get out of high school so she could go to college. She originally thought that college life would be fun and that she would have a great social life.

Once she arrived at college, she found that it was not what she had expected. Her social life turned out to be boring and the days of college are not as fun as she thought they would be.

Currently, she is taking 12 hours. Some of her classes are easier than others but she is still stressed out. Okolo says part of the reason she is stressed out is because she has classes that she would rather not take, however they are required.

To relieve her stress problem Okolo says that she talks to her friends. She says, “I like talking to my friends when I’m stressed out because most of the time one of them can relate to what I’m going through.” She feels that not letting all situations get her down may be a way of not to be stressed at all. “All situations are not of equal priority.

I try not to let the little things get me down, and I focus on the big things,”

As college students, we all have good and bad times. It is good to have friends to depend on and talk to. It is good to remember that there is no college campus that is stress free. Okolo feels better about school now because she knows what to expect and how to handle most of the situations. She says, “Now that I know how to deal with my stress problem, I feel like I can handle whatever comes my way.”

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DaQuita Hardeman

Have you ever wondered why of all 12 months, the shortest month, February, was the one set aside to celebrate the history of Black Americans in our country?

This tradition started with a man by the name of Carter G. Woodson. Like most Black Americans who were born during this time, Woodson was born into a family of slaves who could neither read nor write. In spite of his dreams, he had to work to earn money for his family which caused him to start school far later than other children.

Woodson lived by the motto “it is never too late to learn," which served him right. He went on to become a high school teacher where he sadly discovered that none of the schools taught the history of Black Americans.

From this discovery, Woodson started the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The principle of this association was to study the outstanding accomplishments of Black people.

On February 19, 1926, Woodson established "Negro History Week". This tradition has evolved from that day into a week, and from that week into a month. This is a tradition that is celebrated yearly for the 28 days making up the month of February, a tradition that is celebrated across America.





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