Coffee Squawk w/Courtney O’Connor

Today’s post is the first in a new series, Coffee Squawk, that will feature one member of our Thundering Chicken clutch …in an effort to understand: Who are we chickens? Who are we?
Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love. ~John Steinbeck

CourtneyThundering Chicken: Courtney O’Connor, Microsoft Applications & Support Desk

Roost: Moundsville, WV

Hatched How?: After high school she worked – at Burger King. “I didn’t really have a lot of support…”. In retrospect, she’s glad for the time off before pursuing a college degree – she feels that break helped her mature and be ready to commit to her college education. She tried an online school, but felt it was just for profit rather than helping students. “What drew me to WVNCC – was the cost, I mean, it’s reasonable – and it’s close to home. I don’t drive so…”

Courtney takes advantage of being on campus all day and has several favorite spots, including: EC labs, the Student Union, and of course…the ASC! She’s become uber-involved in the campus community through Phi Theta Kappa, SGA, and serves as a student representative on the Curriculum, IT and LRC Committees. (Crow, chicken, crow!!!)

One Tough Chicken!Courtney was born with Aortic Valve Stenosis.* She’s had open heart surgery 3 times: at 3 days, 3 and 11 years old. She said it made “school and personal things difficult.” But when you meet Courtney, you wouldn’t know it. She remains one of the most upbeat, vivacious chickens in the coop.

“Pluckiest” Quality: Questions everything. “There is never a wrong question or answer.”

Advice for “chics”: Talk to people. Meet people. Learn about financial aid. Question everything.

Flying the CoopShe plans to get her Bachelor’s Degree from a school in Boston – her father is in Boston.

Favorite Thing About Being a Thundering Chicken: “I get support from everyone here!”

*Aortic stenosis is one of the most common and most serious valve disease problems. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening. Aortic stenosis restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and may also affect the pressure in the left atrium. (American Heart Association:


FREE Cocoa (pronounced Ca-Cow by the cool kids)…Sign Me Up

And the true beauty of it is…you don’t have to sign up, login, get stamped, answer security questions…nope, you just have to show-up. And I mean…if we’re keeping things real, this is rare…because showing up is not half the battle.

But tomorrow (that’s Wednesday, January 27) all you have to do to snag your FREE “ca-cow” (yes, we could turn this in to some kind of chicken calling contest) is show up in the Student Union after 9:30 a.m.

So chickens…there may be a few flakes tonight and the temperature is going to soar to 33º tomorrow…with a “RealFeel” of 25º…so you will want to get your ohhhs and ahhhs on by warming up the old tum-tum with some toasty “ca-cow.” And I have to say the Student Activities folks know how to do things up right…we’re talking Starbucks …no watery, powdery, do-it-yourself mess.

So take your tired♥frozen♥over-worked♥under-paid♥winter-blahs♥psyche over to the Union for a moment of sweet surrender. Cackle with some other chickens or find a quiet corner in which to roost.

And…um…don’t be afraid to show up packing marshmallows!

My Big, Dopey Dog Doesn’t Need Carol Dweck

I mean…I’m upwards of fort-…ahem…twenty-nine and I’m a reader and a thinker and I’ve come to love learning and I’ve always been curious about all kinds of things…I’ve even, with help from my son and math instructor Jennifer Kriechbaum, come to appreciate math, for God’s sake…

Wally iBut my big, dopey puppy has recently made me realize how small-brained, or “fixed-minded,” I really am.

You may be familiar with Carol Dweck’s work regarding mindsets…it’s been all that and a bag of Fritos for the last decade or so…if you aren’t…here’re the Cliff Notes:

Growth Mindset: I can get better, do better, be better…always and forever exist in a continually superlative state…challenges, struggles, criticisms and setbacks…puh-sha…bring ’em on…I know no kryptonite…

Fixed Mindset: I ‘yam what I ‘yam…it is what it is…judgey-doubt…judgey-doubt is what it’s all about…

So here I am thinking I’m pretty evolved…and then comes this big, dopey puppy who desperately wants to sleep on my bed.

Trouble is he couldn’t get up…the circumstances seemed “fixed” against him…the bed was too high; a tricky, rolling table at the foot; fixed-mindset people with wagging fingers tsk, tsk, tsk; oversized paws; a too-heavy head and ears that don’t quit…

My big, dopey puppy understands, in less than six months, what life is all about.personal_growth_by_mordachai71-d4vk7io

A growth mindset isn’t just about effort…it’s about new strategies and feedback…a repertoire of approaches…he tried the chair first…until it reclined…on to the tricky, rolling table…clothes slipped off and so did he…so he nosed the clothes off and rolled it aside…

Great effort! You tried your best! We smirked…he was not deterred…he smirked, getting even more excited, thriving on the challenge and setbacks…he was learning with each failed attempt…a running start on the wood floor, slid him into the corner head-first…

No harm-no foul…his ego wasn’t even bruised.

After a week or two of struggling, failing and figuring it out…his persistance paid off.

Maybe there’s still hope for me, though my ego does bruise…when I asked him his secret…he suggested I reflect on the following:

  • Do you feel overly anxious or does a voice in your head warn you away from challenge? Watch for it when you face a setback.
  • Do you feel incompetent or defeated?
  • Do you look for an excuse? Watch to see whether criticism brings out your fixed mindset.
  • Do you become defensive, angry, or crushed instead of interested in learning from the feedback? Watch what happens when you see someone who’s better than you at something you value.
  • Do you feel envious and threatened, or do you feel eager to learn?

My big, dopey puppy reminded me: Accept those thoughts and feelings – work with and through them. And keep working with and through them.

I mean, Carol Dweck couldn’t have said it better herself!

P.S. Stay warm and cozy this weekend, chickens…stay close to the coop!

Good weekend for Netflix!

3-Day Weekend…Yes, Please…Start Right Now

The ASC is all about holistic student support…

We understand that’s it’s not always easy to leave youstress ballr spouse, the kids, your crazy boss, that stack of bills, your squeaking breaks, barking dog and carping in-laws at the classroom door.

It’s all about taking care of yourself…physically, mentally, emotionally…because to do your best, you have to be your best.

We get you…we know sometimes you just need a Calgon moment…a minute or two to close your eyes, breathe deeply and escape…


So for the Friday finale of Welcome Back Week…we offer just such a moment…have a seat in our massage chair and rock your cares away while you squeeze out that last bit of anxiety with one of our super-squishy stress balls…

Elizabeth Huff and Said Leghlid.jpg
Student, Elizabeth Huff and Adjunct Instructor, Said Leghlid are feelin’ no pain with one of our super-squishy stress balls in hand

If we hear heavy sighing…or light snoring… we will not disbturb.

Trust us. We got you…


Bowl-O-Rama, Chickens

Are you kidding me?!? Like how cool is bowling?

When is the last time you went bowling, huh? The smell of lane grease and draft beer…those tri-colored shoes with chewed up laces…dull lighting and 80’s tunes…do they still have jukeboxes?

Looooove bowling…it’s always a blast (from the big-hair-days past)…and I’m gonna’ call it a sport…yep, sooooo exercise…



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