Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hello Parents,

My name is Thomas Gallegos and I am a OneStop Student Services Counselor and manager of this Parent Blog.

Veterans are vital students in our CSS community. From the classrooms to the Veterans Resource Center, we here at the college are striving to increase our hospitality to the men and women who have served our country. However, even with all our efforts, there is more that can be done to help those who have helped keep America safe.

Yesterday, I went to a presentation hosted by Veteran Dustin Oosten, counselor in the Vet Center in Duluth. With the help of Jessica Johnston, Mr. Oosten told the audience about his experience about transitioning from a military mindset to a civilian lifestyle. He reiterated that most of his message was an over-generalization and not all Vet experiences are the same, but a lot of aspects are very similar and there are triggers to be aware of when interacting with Vet students. 

·        Vet students have a certain amount of stress to pass classes so they don’t lose their GI Bill and have to pay out of pocket.
·        Stress in the classroom can snowball because the environment is not as strict or regulated as they are used to.
·        Academic papers can be a tough transition because the military teaches short, concise bullet point messages. Long papers with open-ended questions and opinion papers are much tougher as Vets tend to write short and clear.
·        Their mission is to keep moving as a Vet is a very driven individual. Vets will likely try all resources before asking for help. And, even then, they may not ask for help as this is frowned upon in the military. So when/if a Vet asks you, know they sought you out as a content expert and may become frustrated if you quickly send them to someone else. 
·        Small group projects with lots of talking and debating and no clear decisions can be aggravating as Vets need clear orders and focused objectives.
·        The mindset of a Vet varies on an intensity scale. Their intensity is higher than civilians, so they can seem confrontational, while they feel they are calm. Patience and understanding they have a trained to react to situations swiftly has to be dealt with calmly and not with hesitation or confusion.
·        A vet can feel their “souls” are older; meaning while a Vet may be 25, they feel they are 35 based on their life experiences so far.
·        Don’t single out or ambush a Vet with questions about his/her experiences, they might feel threatened, or triggered and react. Ask before class if they are comfortable sharing.
-      Vets may locate special seats in the classroom that enable them to see the entire room and/or monitor exits.
·        Realize Vets have VA appointments that cannot be missed so a flexibility is needed, but also keep them accountable as that is what they are trained for.
·        Treat Vets with kindness, understanding, and most importantly respect.

Mr. Oosten reiterated that Vets are all different, and only a small percentage have severe mental/physical health issues. As a community, we are doing a great job, but as always, more can be done. The key is creating a trusting and caring environment for Vets and show you are dedicated to helping them; prove they can trust and rely in you. This is called Therapeutic Alliance.  Below are a few tools/visuals which Mr. Oosten shared to help understand and interact.

Example of how a Vet feels when coming into college. This video borders on the ridiculous, but this is an idea of how a Vet feels from time to time (keep in mind this is just a generalization):

VA Campus Toolkit with helpful tips, ideas, and resources:

Lastly, if you know of a veteran who is one of the few in trouble, the VA has a fabulous Veterans Crisis Line that connects with the VA clinics - 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or or text 838255.

If you have any questions and would like to talk to someone at St. Scholastica, feel free to call or email Jessica Johnston who is the Veterans Recourse Center Coordinator (218) 723-6645

Posted by Thomas Gallegos
OneStop Student Services Counselor
The College of St. Scholastica

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hello Parents!
For many students, life after college is just a dream beyond the rainbow. There are numerous tests, social events, study sessions, clubs and activities to participate in that the future seems much farther off than what is reality. However, as the months start to get colder, taking steps for preparing for life after graduation is becoming more critical every day.
Last Monday was the LIFE Event put on by the Savvy Saints, a group dedicated to helping students realizing the importance of financial literacy. This event was headed by OneStop Student Services Counselor Bridget Bohn, with help from her two student employees Jason Kazlauskas and Cody Brostrom. In conjunction with Storm’s Advocates, a group committed to student’s health and well-being, tables were set up with different stations so students who participated could play a life-sized version of the board game LIFE with realistic figures, expenses and salaries.
“Students had fun and the volunteers had a good time as well,” said Bohn. “We had twenty more students this year than last year and had a total of 76 students attend.”
Students who attended the event got a real taste of what life would be like after graduation. They saw what expenses would be like if they had their dream job and what it would take to afford a house, paying bills, and various other expenditures.
“A lot of new people learned a lot and it opened their eyes to life after college,” Kazlauskas said. “Financial literacy can be stressful, but it’s necessary and with practice it gets much easier.”
Although the LIFE Event was a success, the Savvy Saints have not stopped their efforts. After each LIFE Event, there are workshops through the rest of the week which includes in-detail presentations on specific topics such as taxes, student loans, and credit.
“Apart from the LIFE Event we will have a Halloween challenge at the end of October and various other workshops spread throughout the year,” said Kazlauskas.
Financial literacy is of the utmost importance for students, but unfortunately gets put on the back-burner more often than not. Not to worry however, with programs like Savvy Saints and their events, students can actively prepare while simultaneously having a good time.
If you or your student would like more information about Savvy Saints and their programs or would like to set up a budgeting appointment you can email them at or check out their website; Another LIFE Event is scheduled for November 9th, coinciding with philanthropy week; be bold, be Benedictine, and be prepared for life after graduation.

Posted by Thomas Gallegos
OneStop Student Services Counselor
The College of St. Scholastica

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Parents of new first-year students: 

Here's a fun video about our Team Delta students rolling out the welcome mat to our newest Saints. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Last week was Homecoming weekend at the College of St. Scholastica.  Among the changing leaves, students got ready for a weekend full of chili, football, and of course a school dance. However, one of the most exciting sights was the newly appointed Homecoming King and Queen.
            This year Michael Jackson and Joy Anderson joined the list of Royalty who have graced the campus. Their 2015 selection is nothing short of amazing and the student body has selected two of the brightest smiles and warmest hearts they could ever choose.
            “I was shocked and it was a total surprise,” said Michael Jackson, new King of Homecoming. “It was an honor to be even nominated, but to be selected is a whole other honor in itself.”
            Jackson has been involved in the student body since he came in campus and he exudes happiness and energy with every breath. From his positivity, kindness, and humor to his overall humbleness, he is truly already a King in the minds of the student body.
            “When I was nominated I was on cloud nine,” Anderson said. “It feels so special; it’s a huge compliment and honor”
            Anderson is a well-known face on campus for her work in student clubs and being an RA for the Freshman class. She radiates confidence and kindness. With her fellow RA’s and support of her residents, Anderson has become a leading woman on campus and much deserving of the title of Queen.
            “I want to spread the message of peace and respect in our community,” Queen Anderson said. “Oh, and down with homework.”
            Both King and Queen have their humorous sides and are the epitome of what it means to be a stellar Saint at Scholastica.
            “I think the spirit of Homecoming brings out the best in the students, faculty and staff,” Jackson said. “What’s really cool is the symbolism of Homecoming and how it brings the CSS community better.”
            Jackson and Anderson lead the Homecoming parade this past Saturday in style and true CSS pride. We at the OneStop office are proud of every student for being a Saint and are extremely happy for the King and Queen.

            “In the words of Megan Perry-Spears: Be Bold, Be Benedictine,” said King Jackson.

Photo Left to Right: Thomas Gallegos, OneStop Counselor, Michael Jackon, Homecoming King.

Posted by Thomas Gallegos
OneStop Student Services Counselor
The College of St. Scholastica

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hello Parents!          
     The stands vibrate with the shake of metal risers and stomping feet. Hundreds of students and parents clad in blue and gold all rise to see the Saints take the field for Homecoming. Among the electric atmosphere brimming with pride for the home team, we can’t forget our Benedictine values such as Community, Hospitality, and of course Saints Pride! Perhaps the last isn’t quite official, the sentiment is still there. We here at the OneStop office are not only extremely proud of the students and athletes, but also for the school and all it has to offer. As Homecoming quickly approaches, remember to check Scholastica’s Master Calendar for Homecoming Weekend 2015. This year’s theme is Blue and Gold Never Gets Old and will be October 2-3. Join us for a weekend filled with fun for the whole family-athletics games, parade, tailgating and Duluth's fall colors! As always, be sure to check in with the OneStop office for financial safety and future foresight. GO SAINTS!

Posted by Thomas Gallegos
OneStop Student Services Counselor
The College of St. Scholastica

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hello Parents!
Wow. Such a simple word to describe such a cacophony of commotion and bustle this first week back on campus. Sometimes it doesn’t take a long complex word to express huge feelings. Although school is finally back in swing, we at the OneStop office cannot be happier. Students of all grades and walks of life are streaming through our doors to make sure they are set for a successful semester. For new parents, this might be the first time your student is on their own, but we assure you they are in good, caring, Benedictine hands. Every office, from Student Activities to the OneStop is open and welcoming. This year marks a revitalized emphasis on community and with everyone holding doors for one another, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator, community is bursting from the early morning hours to the late night burning candles.
            The first week is winding down and the first weekend full of relaxation, taking a deep breath, and of course homework is almost underway. Be sure to encourage your student to explore the campus ground. Have them take a hike through the trails, or explore the buildings. See if they can go to new friend’s places and share a meal. The best way to help your student is to let them know they are being thought of and cared for. Support from the sidelines and they will make a touchdown, or goal, or score, whichever your preference. As always, if there are any questions, feel free to let the OneStop office know. We are here for them and are stocked with plenty of candy to keep their energy high and smiles a little bit brighter. Have a beautiful first weekend and let us know if OneStop can help you!

Posted by Thomas Gallegos
OneStop Student Services Counselor
The College of St. Scholastica

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Warm Reminder,
The summer hours are fleeting and the woodland critters are getting ready for a long winter’s rest. With the weather changing from bright and sunny to calm and brisk, that can only mean one thing; the campus is about to be bursting with happy faces and bustling students. Everyone from near and far will be flocking the beautiful Scholatica grounds to start another year of learning and fun. However, with students come cars. Just a gentle reminder, to park during the school year, every student must have a parking permit which can be purchased online through their OneStop page in Cor. We want to ensure every student has a permit as to not get any parking violations for not having the permit. Be sure to check which lots are appropriate for overnight and which are commuters and which are for visitors. Remember, if you have any questions, call OneStop at 218-723-6570 or email We are here for you and are eagerly awaiting the low rumble of cars coming up our driveway for the new start to the academic year. Safe travels and we’ll see your students soon!

Posted by Thomas Gallegos
OneStop Student Services Counselor
The College of St. Scholastica