Ten Minutes, Landscape, Night Sky, Stars, Colors

Ten Minutes a Day

The importance of taking time.

by Corey Hockett

As we move further into the 21st century, distractions historically deemed outrageous, are now becoming the norm. It is custom to check Facebook every 15 minutes, watch Netflix on the daily, and not leave without a phone charger. Rapid interruptions are now routine. News outlets are altering the way they publish information due to shortened human attention spans.  Sensory bombardment is higher than it’s ever been and it’s changing the way we live.

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Time management isn’t easy, especially in college. Juggling schedules, meeting deadlines, figuring out when and where to eat — where does it all fit? Assignments pile up and dates arrive faster than expected. And with the increase in tempo, stress levels elevate as well.

Thus, I propose a challenge: ten minutes a day. This year and here forward, devote ten minutes a day, everyday, entirely to yourself. And I don’t mean brush aside homework so you can burn one and play Pokémon Go. Forget the vibrating rectangle in your pocket. Free yourself of screen, social circles, and work. You’ll be surprised what it offers. You may become inspired or remember something you forgot. Modern day has taught us to switch our brains every few seconds, so ten minutes without disruption may seem like an eternity. But it’s not long at all.

Landscape, Perspective, Mountains, Backcountry, Adventure

The other day I was run down. My workload from three different jobs was overwhelming and I had family issues to deal with. I couldn’t focus and my mind told me there wasn’t enough time to get everything done. But after work, I went straight to one of my favorite spots on the Gallatin. I didn’t walk half-a-mile before I was out-of-sight of all human activity and when I found a good area, I sat facing the river against a blown down tree. I watched and listened, and within five minutes, everything was clear. Suddenly, my schedule didn’t seem that packed and my issues weren’t as big as I initially made them out to be — everything was fine. But what had changed? In the literal sense, nothing, but in my outlook, everything. I eased off the  gas for a mere moment and that was all it took for my perspective to relax.

Ten minutes. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat will be there when you’re done, but for those ten minutes, simplify.  Instead of dedicating unnecessary concern to a frenzied world of cyberspace, let nature play in front of you. Give yourself a chance to have a thought you otherwise wouldn’t, or don’t think at all. Focus on the elements we so often take for granted — the westward wind, a chirping chickadee, your own heartbeat.

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I’ve since been back to that spot on the Gallatin multiple times, each occasion erasing my stresses. But it doesn’t have to be a river, it can be as easy as laying on a field outside your dorm room, whatever works for you, just take the time.

Everyday traffic isn’t going to slow down and social realms will forever be easy to join. Filter your sensory and remember what’s important. Don’t forget to step back once-in-a-while. If you want to find yourself, you’ve got to hang out with yourself. Take ten. You’ll thank yourself down the line.

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Powerhouse Profs

Learn from the best. 

by Lea Brayton

Students at Montana State hail from far and wide, gathering under the Big Sky to learn from decorated faculty whose achievements, research, and talents are tough to beat. Don’t miss the chance to study under one of these memorable mentors this year.

William WyckoffProfessor of Geography, Earth Sciences

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According to Wyckoff, landscapes are great teachers—and he would know, as he wrote the book on it. His latest publication, How to Read the American West: A Field Guide, focuses on the changing geography of the West. His philosophy stresses that people and place are cohesive, jointly transforming their environment. In his newest project, he follows the footsteps of Arizona state employee Norman Wallace to recreate landscape images from over 70 years ago.

Wyckoff is known for clarity of presentation and his articulate, passionate rhetoric. Kyla Jewel, junior at MSU, says his class was one of her most memorable: “Geography’s not always the most thrilling subject, but I liked that Professor Wyckoff was always enthusiastic about the material and that translated to the whole class.”

Wyckoff’s professorship is one to admire. He inspires true educational growth, teaching that “Learning about geography should ultimately take you out of your classroom, beyond your computer, even away from your books, and into the larger world which tends to be much more complicated, interesting, and unpredictable.”

 

Whitney HinshawDirector of Group Exercise, Recreational Sports & Fitness

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Athlete, coach, instructor, and director Whitney Hinshaw has always been involved in the world of athletics. With a dietetics degree giving her a strong health background and a master’s in higher education, Hinshaw is one of the lucky few who have successfully coupled passion and profession.

Relatively new to MSU, Hinshaw is focused and encourages her students to move outside their comfort zones. Her courses are informative and instructive; her stories of her own competitive experiences often relatable and humorous; and her spin classes likely to be difficult and invigorating. As an educator, she believes in something she calls transferable heart skills, which her wellness philosophy explains: “If you can train heart and mind for a trail race, you can train for anything educational, professional, etc. It’s all the same skillset. Training requires grit, persistence, discipline, self-control, and emotional intelligence—so does preparing for the professional world.”

Hinshaw is working toward her own personal goal of “50 by 50”—completing a half-marathon or similar competition in every state by age 50 (she’s currently in her 20s). So far she has seven states checked off. Run at the chance to learn and train with her this year.

 

Selena AhmedAssistant Professor, Health & Human Development

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With 17 different courses on record and teaching experience at six major universities, Montana State’s powerful “rising star” Selena Ahmed is bringing much-deserved attention to the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems (SFBS) program. Her complex research looks at variations in agro-ecosystems—such as economic, environmental, and human factors—to discover better management practices and more sustainable solutions.

Ahmed is a big-time contributor to MSU’s research community, and she’s continuously heading up groundbreaking global projects. She has spearheaded research in nine countries and is distinguished for her work examining tea production, which she calls “a diverse and elegant system.” She’s currently studying local food choices in on the Flathead Reservation and the Tibetan Plateau.

Working closely with students, Ahmed encourages collaboration across disciplines and involvement in research. Recent SFBS graduate, Cory Babb, remembers the opportunity: “Her class was my first chance to actually take part in publishing research.” Keep an eye out for this inspiring intellectual on campus this year.