Post grad opportunities not so bright

After four years of drudgery, many graduates eagerly anticipate the swells of the “Pomp and Circumstance Marches” as they finish up finals and projects.

However, the reality for many college graduates is less than exciting. According to a report from The Huffington Post, one in two college graduates are jobless, with many taking low-skill work to make ends meet. This trend is particularly high for arts and humanities graduates.

The story is no different for Dixie State University graduates. Kiera Durfee, who finished her coursework in fall 2012, said she has struggled adjusting to the realities of life post-degree as she returned to caring for her two children and supporting her family. Her husband is still in school, so finding a job became imperative for Durfee.

“For a little while, I felt lost without school,” she said. “Now I’m handling it better, but I stared at the floor for a few days.”

A graduate of the English program, Durfee now works as an office manager at a local elementary school. She said it was a difficult realization that her degree, and the skills she spent a good two years cultivating, seem a little useless.

“The ability to communicate is a talent needed by all, so I was able to find a job that helps to bridge gaps in communication,” she said. “But, knowing how to spell is pretty much worthless, I’ve found.”

Amanda Jacobs, who graduated in spring 2012, said the hardest part for her has been landing a job in a work force that pits her against people with years of experience. Jacobs moved to Phoenix with the hopes that a larger city meant more jobs, but it also meant more competition. 

“I took a job at a bail bondsman’s office because I had to,” she said. “It’s the last place I thought I would be a year after graduation.”

Alexis Rich, a senior dental hygiene major from St. George, said she returned to school in search of a more practical degree after her major in public relations from Utah Valley University failed to pan out.

“I thought I would easily find a job, make great money, be able to get a place of my own, and none of that has happened,” she said. “I’ve been competing for employment with people who have lost their jobs (and) who have years of experience.”

Steve Bringhurst, the executive director of the Career Center, said graduating seniors too often mistake jobs for careers. 

“There’s a disconnect between getting a job and having a career,” Bringhurst said. “Students think, ‘I can find a job when I graduate,’ and there’s a disconnect there, too.”

Bringhurst said competition in the job field has intensified, and those with experience would naturally have a leg-up. 

“Out there in the job market, there are going to be a lot of people with degrees,” he said. “It’ll be the people with the experience and internships who are going to get the jobs. It’s not going to be, ‘Oh, I’ve got my degree and I’ll get a job after that.”

Jacobs, who was active in school as an Ambassador and writer for Dixie Sun News, said she feels her college experiences don’t mean much in the real world.

“I’ve found it’s hard to land jobs without actual, specific experience,” Jacobs said. “Even collegiate activities and that type of experience don’t count for much in the real world.”

Jacobs said she recommended students gain experience through job shadowing and internships as a way to boost resumes.

Another unexpected effect of graduation is a decline of graduates’ social lives. Jacobs and Durfee both experienced this effect and said it was easier to make friends during college than in the real world.

“I have found it’s a lot harder to make friends and meet new people,” Jacobs said. “In school, there are literally hundreds of people in your same age group that you can strike up conversations with.”

Durfee said she misses the academic conversation with friends that staying home with her young children and working in an elementary school fail to provide.

“I miss school,” she said. “I love academic discussions…Now I think about paying bills and finding happiness in what I do.”

Durfee said her future goals included finding something to do that both mattered to her and made a difference to others.  As for Jacobs, she continues working on her writing skills with the hope something will come up through her perseverance.

“Even though it’s tough facing rejection in job interviews, you can’t stop trying,” she said. “I know that someday I will be given the opportunity to find a job that I’m passionate about. Nothing is instantaneous. With a lot of hard work and dedication, I think anyone can make things happen for themselves.”

Request Robby: Diaper days are back again

I don’t remember what it was like as a baby, but I took a glimpse into what it may have been like.

An anonymous source requested I delve into the life of infantilism. This person lives a secret life as an adult baby and has felt scrutinized from others because of the situation. I am not a psychologist, but I wanted to understand at least a little of what people like this have to feel by putting on their underwear.

I don’t remember how diapers were as child, but I tried it out for half a day and a night. It got sweaty after awhile, but I endured through it.

Getting the diaper on in the first place was frustrating. I had to stand up, push the back end against the wall with my bum, and then figure out how the straps worked. I ripped the straps, so instead I tied little knots from the ripped material. Apparently, I put the thing on backward as well. The cute teddy bears go in front. Walking around made me conscious of the plastic sound my steps made. I also couldn’t do anything about how big my butt looked.

Some infantilists will soil their diapers for various reasons, but I couldn’t do it; wearing the diaper was enough for me. There are thinner diapers so skinny jeans don’t look so weird, but from what I was told, “bigger messes need bigger diapers.”

Babies drink out of bottles, so I tried some chocolate milk out of one. It took me a while to get any milk out of it, which makes me wonder how I even survived childhood. I didn’t enjoy the plastic taste from the bottle, but the work I put into the drinking from the bottle made me focused on acquiring chocolate milk.

It didn’t spark any deep childhood feelings. All of my day’s experiments felt like brand-new experiences to adjust to. However, there are people who have difficulty getting past their youth, or choose not to. I don’t see it as something wrong, just different. These people aren’t hurting anyone. If someone wants to wear a diaper, have at it.

There is an online forum providing information on this topic as well as a support system for infantilists at www.adisc.org.

Keep the requests coming at www.facebook.com/requestrobby.

DSU must step up game when it comes to recycling

We are in the Dark Ages; the majority of the U.S. has some form of productive recycling. We at Dixie State University do not.

How did the push to prepare DSU to be a university leave out this initiative? Isn’t a key component of the modernization to catch up across the board with other universities?

Without recycling, we remain behind and wasteful.

Look into any trashcan on campus and you will see mounds of recyclables. 

I understand that a massive entity such as DSU must think of every penny and do what has the most return and recycling, currently, isn’t as profitable. But when has cost stopped good people from doing the right thing?

The tide is turning in the U.S. to catch up with the world in recycling laws. Each individual at DSU who starts to recycle is proactive and helps modernize not only DSU, but the U.S. too.

Change is hard and many are set in their ways, but decades from now we will see what fools we were not to recycle.

Enough with the excuses that it’s not as profitable or difficult—It’s time we stop thinking of petty reasons not to and start thinking of reasons how to.

Request more places on campus to easily refill reusable water bottles. 

There should be well labeled bins for metal, paper and plastic at every trash receptacle on campus.

Printing should be done double-sided. 

All bulbs on campus should be fluorescent. 

Students in campus housing should pay based on utilities used, not a flat rate.

DSU should encourage other means of transportation to campus besides automotive. This will not only help the environment, but it will also help with the lack of parking. 

If we each do our responsible part, this will help reduce the amount of waste that is filling landfills each year. It will help to conserve the environment and natural resources for ourselves and future generations. And it will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

For more recycling ideas, go to any of these links:




Ambulance service change won’t affect DSU EMT training

After more than 30 years of serving the St. George area, Dixie Ambulance will no longer be the emergency transport provider, leaving the area to northern Utah based provider Gold Cross.

Dixie Ambulance announced it ceased its operations on April 14 at 7 a.m.

In a letter addressed to the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Dixie Ambulance president Tony Randall and vice president Mike Miller commented on the situation. 

According to the letter, “[Randall and Miller] have deemed it a privilege and honor to have served our community these many years.” 

The announcement and closure came following a four-day hearing between the two providers on which could serve the area best.

In a 66-page ruling recommendation issued by David Patton, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, it was determined that Dixie Ambulance did not have adequate resources in terms of staffing, vehicle maintenance and financial security, as well as multiple other issues that put the service in question of state EMS regulations.

The transition, however, is not expected to affect student training in Dixie State University’s Emergency Medical Technician training program, said EMT program director Shanna Alger. 

“We’re sad to see [Dixie Ambulance] leave, but Gold Cross is stepping in and letting us continue to train our EMTs,” Alger said.

The official transfer will be completed on May 1. Multiple former Dixie Ambulance employees will train with Gold Cross, and St. George and the surrounding areas will not be left without ambulance services, said Paul Patrick, the director of BEMS.

“The public will not go one minute without somebody providing ambulance and paramedic services to them,” Patrick said.

Request Robby: Taser defense shocking option

Whether it’s for self-defense or a good laugh, a stun gun is a good item to have around.

Dustin Campbell, from St. George, bought a Taser while traveling through Las Vegas. After startling a handful of people lounging in the living room, he turned to me, clicking the Taser slightly on and off, and said, “Hey Robby, I have a new idea for your column.”

I asked a woman to use Campbell’s Taser on me. I figured I could get the perspective from how an attacker, who would generally have the upper hand in strenth, would feel going against someone with a Taser.

I wanted to know how comfortable Heather Dake, Dixie Sun News A&E editor, felt in handling a Taser on someone. After a few good shocks, I would also know whether or not I still felt confident entering Dake’s bubble while she was holding something which could easily knock me off my feet.

As far as safety precautions go, I set a mat on the ground, so I wouldn’t hurt myself if I fell. Also, I made sure to use the restroom beforehand because I learned in some minor research that often times, people getting tased will soil themselves.

Facing Dake, I waited as she learned how the Taser worked, clicking the shock button and switching the flashlight feature on and off. When Dake said she was ready, I approached her and she started backing up, laughing hysterically.

I grabbed her arm to encourage her to get it over with. She seemed more afraid of Tasing me than I was. I moved in close, trying to provoke her more, but instead of using the Taser, she tried kicking me and held the Taser up to whack me with the back end.

I backed off and stood still so she would come after me. After a little convincing, she finally got the courage and went for it.

She jabbed me in the ribs on my right side, and I felt the surge throughout my whole body. It felt like an egg beater drilling into my side. The volts tightened up my muscles just for a second and I jumped up and fell on my back onto the mat.

The photographer was displeased with the quality of the light in the photo, so we had to do it again. This time I was afraid of the Taser, but I wanted to get it done and over with. 

I approached Dake again, this time screaming inside and whelping a little out loud. She didn’t want to do it again, so both of us were tip-toeing about doing the deed. I reached out again, to encourage her to shock me and she jumped back and told me to hold still.

She teased me a few times, stabbing at me without turning the button on. I would jump back every time. Finally, she jabbed me again, but only slightly. I got a little jolt, but nothing exciting. I turned to talk to my friend, figuring Dake wouldn’t do it immediately after the last one, but she did, cutting my words short and knocking me over.

At this point, my muscles felt exhausted, like I had been working out at the gym. The pictures still weren’t coming out great.

We agreed to do a last shock for good measure. I was used to it by now as I just waited for Dake to make things happen. After a little more bantering about the act, she jabbed me in the all too familiar area  of my right side, sending me once again to the ground.

My bathroom time before didn’t get the job done entirely, so I had to change my pants.

The overall pain involved was only in the jolt. Other than that, the soreness lasted a couple days, and the prong marks stayed on my ribs and belly for two weeks. I don’t think I would feel too comfortable shocking someone else, but I wouldn’t mind getting shocked at the same level again.

Keep your ideas coming on www.facebook.com/requestrobby and you may see a few short stories pop up over the summer.

Using Muslims as scapegoats typical, hurtful, unacceptable

With the recent tragedy that was the Boston bombing, it’s no surprise the bigots have come out of the woodwork, specifically toward the people of Islam or those of Middle Eastern descent.

I am saying nothing against the families and friends of those harmed in the bombing. My deepest sympathies go to those families and friends. What I am speaking about is the blatant racism citizens of our country showed before the smoke was even clear.

Mere hours after the bombs went off, Twitter was alight with racist slander against the people of Islam and anyone of Middle Eastern descent.

Perhaps it started with the April 16 New York Post article, FBI grills Saudi Man in Boston Bombing” by Larry Celona. No matter the catalyst for the racist slurs all over Twitter, Facebook and any other social media website, this needs to stop.

Being of Middle Eastern descent, I’ve seen this bigotry personally my entire life, starting with 9/11. At the tender age of 8, people were telling me to go home where I belong and that they didn’t want my kind in their country. Never mind that I was born and bred in Utah. Never mind that I’d had very little contact with my father, who is from Palestine. 

It’s a personal matter when I see derogatory terms on my Facebook and Twitter feed. I’ve gotten requests from former Facebook friends asking me to join a “Kill the Arabs” group. I say former because after I reported the page, I deleted and blocked them without another thought.

This racism is born out of ignorance. People never think terrorist attacks can come from white Americans. Never mind the Unabomber, who mailed homemade bombs to people. Let’s forget about 2009’s “Fight Club Bomber,” who was a 17-year-old white male who set off an explosion in a Manhattan coffee shop.

Despite the many white-only terrorist groups listed on the FBI’s domestic terrorism watch list, like the Aryan Nation, Army of God or the Phineas Priesthood, if you ask a stranger on the street about terrorist attacks, he or she is going to immediately say Al-Qaeda, or rather, the Muslims. 

In the case of the Boston bombing, both suspects have been identified by law enforcement officials and family members as two ethnic Chechen brothers. They were not Middle Eastern.

This blatant racism is ridiculous. For a society in the 21st century with no real reason why we should hate another culture, we sure hate a lot of people. Just because someone has a different culture, skin color or sexual orientation than us doesn’t make that person dangerous to us. 

The key to overcoming this racism is to learn about a different culture. In this case, learn about Middle Eastern culture and the religion of Islam. If you did, you’d realize that most of the people who identified as Islamic and/or Middle Eastern aren’t out to harm you, just like most of the people who identify as white Americans aren’t out to hurt you. The majority of the people you label automatically as terrorists have nothing to do with bombings. 

So, open your mind and learn. Stop hating people based on ignorant fears and try to understand them. 

DSU earns solid B for year’s performance

From raging fights over a two-syllable word to jubilance over a new title to disgust over dining options, DSU gets a solid B for the 2012-2013  school year.

This year has been the most dramatic one for the school since I started attending in 2009. From a name debate to university status to campus dining, Dixie State University has been all over the map in its performance.

The No. 1 reason Dixie doesn’t get an A grade is that I still have to call it Dixie. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve accepted the not-really-any-change rebranding psuedo-effort, and I’m not here to rekindle the argument. However, the debate, which brought out ugliness on both sides and showcased a darker, anti-intellectual side to the community, gets DSU a solid F for failing to seize the opportunity to market itself as a more credible and progressive institution.

However, in the middle of the debate, one figure excelled in his performance, earning an A. That figure would be Brody Mikesell, the DSUSA president. Mikesell, who ran on a campaign emphasizing diversity, stuck to his guns fighting for the school’s name to change, citing that it made minority groups on campus uncomfortable. 

 Until the very end, Mikesell maintained his position, refusing to give into the community’s demands he alter his opinion. Mikesell has earned my absolute respect, for whatever it’s worth, for his conduct during the debate.

Unfortunately, Mikesell’s performance couldn’t save one of the more deplorable aspects of DSU: campus dining. From rude staff to grossly overpriced food, campus dining gets a D. The only reason I didn’t completely fail dining is one of the cashiers in The Market at Dixie: Linda Earl. Earl is always cheerful, no matter the time of day, and she is always sympathetic to student plights of exhaustion, poverty and stress. Earl gets an A, which brings up dining’s abysmal grade.

Of course, another element of DSU deserving of an A is our fine faculty. From serving as professors to mentors to advisers, DSU’s faculty, barring a few outliers, is dedicated to the success of its students.  

I can’t speak for every department, but if all the professors on campus are as excellent as mine in the English department, as well as my newspaper adviser, DSU’s students are in good hands.

No evaluation of Dixie’s year can leave out the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons. The tallest building in St. George, it represents DSU’s progress in the last decade, updating the campus and streamlining its services.

The library, study spaces, two cafes, admissions, financial aid and the registrar are all located in the building, allowing students a central point to conduct their business, as well as a spot on campus that feels like an actual university. The Holland building gets an A for its beauty and practicality, as well as for symbolizing the exciting changes DSU will see in the future.

The final element in my evaluation of DSU is our upgrade from state college to state university, which gets an A. 

Having lamented, along with many others, that university would not be stamped on my degree, I’m thrilled this change was made right before my own graduation. The difference between college and university is vast—not only does this make graduates feel as if they’ve graduated from an even better school, the opportunities for master’s programs, and maybe even doctorate programs, will improve our school’s credibility as a reliable institution of higher education.

It will open the doors for community growth, service the community by providing a means for members to pursue further education, and instill more confidence for incoming students that they made the right choice in coming to DSU.

So, let’s celebrate another year of successful progress, move on from the ugly scandals of this year and focus on making DSU’s next grade a solid A.

Letter to the Editor: Bell’s opinion not ‘consistent’ with LDS history

My name is Michael Jurgensmeier. I am a student at Dixie State University, I’m a proud husband and father of three daughters with infinite potential, I’m a former Mormon and I found Julia Bell’s recent editorial, titled “Women Should Not Hold LDS Priesthood,” filled with inaccuracies and vague assumptions.            

First of all, is this really an issue? Aside from Bell’s editorial, this was the first I had heard of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requesting the priesthood. Where is her source on this?

The part of her letter that really struck me is when she made the claim that “The LDS church is known for being consistent, and church leaders are sticking to their guns during this controversy.” 

I found that statement very disconcerting. Is “consistent” really the adjective you want to go with here, Bell? Do I need to remind you that until 1979, African-American men were not allowed to hold the priesthood and, in fact, former prophet Brigham Young was fond of referring to people of African descent as “being cursed with the seed of Cain?”

You could argue that in 1979 Spencer W. Kimball conveniently felt inspired by God to become more progressive as the Civil Rights struggle of African-Americans began to gain momentum, but I find that a little too convenient. What about polygamy? Church founder Joseph Smith, as well as several early prophets including Brigham Young, practiced polygamy until, again conveniently, pressure from society caused mainstream Mormons to abandon the practice.

I’m not impending on your right to believe in the religion of your choice, and I certainly don’t “hate” Mormons like your article suggested. I simply find it hard to believe that God inspired prophets to change Mormon culture and theology at the exact same time it would have been theocratic suicide to not change with the times. I could give hundreds of examples of Mormon culture changing its views and practices, ranging from homosexuality to the origin of the Book of Mormon, but the point I am trying to make is that Mormonism, and ultimately its leaders, are anything but consistent. Unless you are suggesting they are being consistent at being inconsistent. In that case, I apologize and stand corrected.

Has Bell done any unbiased research about Mormonism outside the narrow view of the Mormon faith itself? 

I feel it could do her some good. If the historic trend Mormonism is known for continues it is only a matter of time until society gets to a point in gender equality that whatever prophet in power at the time will have no choice but to “feel inspired.” Perhaps Mr. Monson could simply feel inspired now and spare the Mormon congregation of having to wait until there is no other option?

Michael Jurgensmeier is a senior English major from Carey, Idaho.