Friday, December 3, 2010

Gift Guide

Typical Dollar Store, San FranciscoImage via Wikipedia
With Christmas right around the corner, and Hanaukah already begun, presents are on everyone's mind. Here are a few ideas of what to get for some of the people in your life.

They might appreciate some of your school paraphenelia, such as a bumber sticker, license plate frame, or a sweatshirt. Buy at your bookstore if you can get a student deal (there might be extra discounts near the end of the semester) or, if your school is better known, shop around for the best deal.

If they are also in school, then gift cards are an excellent choice. Get one for the restaurant students like to hang out at, or for iTunes or Some places, including Kroger and Giant Eagle will offer money off of your next gas purchase if you spend enough on gift cards, so check out those places first.

Are you president of a club and need to get gifts for all of the members? This is what I did one year: I went to a dollar store and bought the needed number of decorative jars, and then bought a bunch of bags of candy to fill it up. I think I spent about ten dollars on six gifts.

Whether older or younger, you can't really go wrong with makeup or jewlery. Make it age appropriate and something you know she will like. You can get a wide range of products at a nearby drugstore.

Chances are, your brother loves movies. Find him a DVD of some lesser known movie that is in his favorite genre. These will be well-priced and often available in the discount store of anywhere from Blockbuster to your local grocery store.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Student Government

Student Union at Oklahoma State University - S...Image via Wikipedia
Almost every college and university out there has a student government of some kind. The power and prestige of these organizations varies between schools, as does how they function. In some schools, the elections are nothing more than a popularity contest. At other schools, student government actually has some level of control over the administration.

No matter what kind of reputation your school's student government has, I would recomend getting involved, even if just by attending meetings. You will hear all kinds of rumors about what your Student Government is like, and while a lot of it will be true,  some will also be assumptions, opinions or false. It's best to find out for yourself.

No matter what they student government is like, you can still have a role in it, and therefore a role in changing your school. So talk to a current member and find out how you can get involved or learn more.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday

In honor of Cyber Monday, I'm going to share some tips to save money while browsing the Internet. The World Wide Web, as every college student knows, is a blessing and a curse. It's great for shopping, researching, and killing time. But with it comes endless possibilities for wasting time and money. Here are some tips for keeping your spending within the limits of your budget:

1. Consider whether you would buy the product at its usual price. If it's only worth it because it's 75% off, then it probably isn't worth it at all.
2. Don't forget about taxes and shipping costs.
3. Sales, especially short-term ones, often create an artificial need, so be sure not to succumb to pressure to buy something just because it won't be on sale tomorrow.
4. Put items in a wish list and come back another day to see if you still want it. Even better, go to the brick and mortar store to look at it in person.
5. Know the return policy.

Here is another of my posts about saving money.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Small Business Saturday

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is enjoying their breaks and all of the food. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays and I don't think it gets enough credit, what with it coming right before Christmas.

As everyone knows, tomorrow is the biggest shopping day of the year. A lot of people will be trekking out early to start knocking items off of their Gift lists. The next day, November 27, will be the first of what will hopefully be a long standing shopping tradition. It is called Small Business Saturday, and is sponsored by American Express, a company known for their support of one group of their clients, small business owners.

Small businesses, or businesses with less than 100 employees, are a vital part of local economy. They create jobs and leadership positions, stimulate the economy, on a large as well as small scale, and bring money to their communities in the form of taxes. They also create a local culture unique to their area. See the Small Business Administration website for more information.

I have a few personal reasons for wanting support small business in addition to the ones I listed. I plan on becoming an entrepreneur after graduation. I believe that this is the best way for me to make a difference in the world. Also, my favorite part about my hometown is the downtown area, with unique coffee shops and stores that sell merchandise unavailable at WalMart. I also believe that small businesses are more ethical than larger ones, often without trying. They are more likely to employ full-time employees, and they create less waste.

Entrepreneurs are brave and creative people. They took a chance, often times giving up a steady income in order to see their dreams come true. For this, I believe they should be rewarded. We often do not think to visit small businesses because we don't know about them. We like what we're used to. Small businesses do not have marketing budgets that can accommodate major campaigns like corporations do or enough money to rent prime locations. But if we let small businesses die, we will lose an important part of our economy. One that encourages people to take chances and give us more choices.

Small Business Saturday's goal is not only to get consumers to shop small this Saturday, but to frequent these places more often throughout the year. On Black Friday, consider visiting your local gift shop for some Christmas shopping, instead of the mall. You'll miss a lot of the crowds and might even discover your new favorite clothes store.  While you're at it, you will be keeping the money you spend within your town, rather than to National Headquarters on the other side of the country.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Greek Letters

Some of you may be in Fraternities or Sororities. If so, how do you get your letters that you wear? Make them? Gifts? Buy them? What places do you use to buy them? What kind of fabric do you prefer? Do you have a favorite set or a set that is most meaningful to you?

When I do buy them, I generally use, but I think I just discovered another great site called that you can get the letters made out of personalized fabric. Most of the time, however, I make my letters with fabric that I buy. It takes longer, but saves a lot of money. Plus, my sorority likes to have letter making nights when we hang out in the lounge and trade fabric and stencils

As for my favorite sets, one is one that I made. They are sisterhood letters and have colored anchors on them (my sorority's national symbol) and are on a gray t-shirt. The other two were gifts: one is a purple t-shirt with gold letters and the other is a black hoodie with my sorority's creed on them.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Future of Print

It seems everywhere we look we are faced with news sources. Newspapers have their own websites and bloggers are considered respected journalists. Because of these growing mediums, we are told that, like campus colleges, print media is growing extinct. The same is true with magazines. Why purchase a subscription when you can view the content online for free?

Well, I have to disagree. For example, the internet has not killed book research, although it has changed it. Libraries and book stores are still around. And newspapers are a century-old media, I highly doubt they could die all due to bloggers and Google News. As for magazines, if anything, having sites will help them. It allows more people to get a taste of it so they are more confident investing the money in a subscription. Aside from that, I have tried not renewing my subscription because I figured the site was enough. However, I was wrong and went back to print.

Besides, does anyone really think magazines and newspapers are going to continue to allow their readership free access? Some already have site content that is only available to readers, and I predict more will follow. Others may charge for the site access. And when faced with paying for print or for online content, I suspect more people will be tempted to pay for print.

Here is a blogger that seems to agree with me:

And an article that may contradict me:

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 Reasons Why You Should Always Have Dress Clothes in Your Closet

1. Many clubs and sports will require that you dress up on a certain day of the week.
2. If you have an internship or student teach, dressing up will make you appear more professional.
3. You may have to attend nice dinners.
4. If you are in any type of national or international organization, it is a good idea to dress up when you attend conferences in order to make a good impression.
5. During your junior and senior years, you will be going to interviews where you will have to dress up. Doing so prior to that will help you to feel more comfortable with it.
6. Many teachers (I've noticed this especially in my business classes) expect that you dress professionally for presentations. Even if they don't mention it, doing it anyways will mean you went the extra mile.
7. I know this sounds crazy, but when you dress up, you feel better about yourself and people will take you more seriously.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Costumes

In front of haunted house during Halloween sea...Image via Wikipedia
If you are like me, then you probably plan your costume way in advance. Of course, that doesn't help me much because I end up still not knowing what to go as, or not being able to put my costume together in time. What are you going as this year? How do you get your costume? Do you make or buy? Finally, what do you like to do for Halloween and how long does Halloween (every day you go to a Halloween party) last? I apologize for going a little crazy with the links.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Health Care in College

Many schools offer medical services free of charge to their students as well as other care such as counseling. Unfortunately, not all schools offer this. Some cannot afford it, others only offer limited services. At my school, there is a family practice around the corner, but it is not very good. Most of the time, you are just sent to the hospital. Not to mention, their hours are 8 a.m. to 4p.m., when most students are in class and at work.

Many college students, along with other young adults, are uninsured. They are not covered by their parents' insurance anymore (which will soon change) and they cannot afford to pay for it on their own. I have read brochures for student plans and they are far from inclusive. They often do not cover sports injuries, mental health care, dental, or pregnancy care. While the insurance may be cheap, it is often still a waste of money.

And what about sexual health? Getting pregnant while still in college is far from advisable, but colleges don't do enough to prevent it. At some schools, giving out birth control is the health clinic's biggest responsibility. At others, the best you can hope for is free condoms.

What are your biggest concerns about health care and what can be done to fix them?
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Monday, October 18, 2010


Marriage is not something a lot of college students think about regularly, although many students do get married before they graduate; some even have kids. However, once upon time the tradition was to at least be engaged by the time you graduated college, maybe even high school. My own parents met while in college, and for a lot of my friends' parents, that seems to be the norm. These days though, it isn't unusual to graduate college unattached.

Today, college is seen as the time when you should meet new people and try new things. "Hooking up" with someone even though no emotions are involved is not that unusual. Couples may date for a long time, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will get married.

I have a friend who once said she expected to be engaged by the time she graduated, which for her would have meant 21. That just seems so young to me. It certainly is comforting to know who you will marry when you graduate; it will help you make all kinds of decisions that before you may not have even known where to start. Where to live is one such decision. When another person is involved in making the decision, that limits your choices considerably. Not to mention, you know you'll have a roommate that you trust and can split the rent with.

At the same time, that wide range of options may be exactly what you are looking forward to. Graduating can be an exciting time, and without another person in the picture, your choices are endless. Joining the Peace Corps is not really an option when you are engaged or married, but it may be the perfect choice if you are single.

The dating scene after college is confusing. In college it was easy enough to meet people and you had plenty of chances to get to know them. But what about when you are working or in grad school? You are no longer around just people your own age whom you are likely to have some things in common. Some people find it comforting to know they won't have to worry about that.

It's a choice that you cannot know how you will choose until you are faced with the choice. Few people expect to be married or engaged while in college, and those who do may be wrong.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Blog Fest (A little Late)

Over at Cerebral Lunchbox the author is hosting a blog fest specifically for blogs with 150 followers or less. This is perfect because I once wrote a post about how I love smaller, undiscovered blogs and wanted a way to find more of them ( Anyways, the topic is about my favorite Holdiday Special.

I am a sucker for Halloween TV specials, and the TV show with the best Halloween specials would have to be Home Improvement. My favorite would probably be the one where Wilson fakes his death and pretends to frame Tim. At the very end, Tim pulls another prank on Wilson at which point Tim appears with Wilson's parrot who says "Tim's the King!" Of course, it also helps that at the beginning, they were at a costume party and Jill comes dressed as the Wicked Witch and Tim is a flying monkey.

By the way, I'm sorry I got this post out a little late for the blog fest, I'm celebrating a lesser represented Holiday (at least by TV specials) known as Homecoming.

Monday, October 11, 2010


If you have ever been in charge of an organization or had to run a meeting, you know it can get tough: time gets wasted, people get impatient, and the leader of the meeting suffers the most. has some helpful tips for maximizing the usefulness of a meeting. My favorite tip is to make people stand. That way, there will be no useless chatter.
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Friday, October 8, 2010


In middle school and high school, yearbooks were an important part of end of the year rituals. Everyone looked forward to the day when they would be handed out and a lot of students got  credit for putting together the yearbooks. Now that we are in college, the importance of yearbooks has not changed all that much. What may have changed is the format they are in.

A few years before I came to my school, they switched from a print yearbook to DVD. I don't know any statistics on how many people purchased them, but I do know that by the time I got here in 2007 hardly anyone purchesed a copy of the DVD. Even people who did buy them did not  seem to to appreciate them; I found a few copies in the DVD bin once at  Salvation Army. For my sophmore year, the school decided to go back to print yearbooks, a decision people were pretty happy about.

Let's face it: Twenty years from now our kids are not going to slip in DVDs so that they can make fun of our hair. Heck, we probably won't even own DVD players by that point. But print yearbooks are never going to be obsolete.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Advertising in Textbooks?

P&G_JOYImage via Wikipedia
This semester I am taking my first marketing class. I thought I would enjoy it but a lot about the class has fallen short of my expectations. My biggest complaint? The textbook's approach.

I understand that we are learning about advertising, but marketing, especially in its modern day form, is much more than just throwing ads and products at customers and expecting them to buy what you're selling. And my textbook certainly stressses the importance of knowing your customer and understanding them, but I can't help but wonder if the book itself is one giant advertisement.

Proctor and Gamble make many appearances in the book, especially concerning Tide, and I'm not even halfway through the book. I read through an entire list of many products that P&G make, including all of the Tides as well as other laudry detergents. I found this list in the book.

Another issue is when corporations are painted as nothing but good. Even if the company has had problems in the past, the goal of many marketing campaigns is to show that everything has changed. And in the class, the campaign is all we see. One negative concern I've seen addressed is about WalMart. Many dissatisfied customers will start websites criticizing the company and get thousands of visitors daily. While fixing the concerns (which even WalMart has to admit are valid) seems to me like the best fix, they instead try to take down the offending websites. And my book blames the starters of these sites for ruining WalMart's image.

Even in my management classes, whenever we watch a video case on a company, I always feel like I am watching a commercial. You have a narrarator with a cheery voice listing all of the benefits this company has as a result of a new leadership initiative. I understand that the teacher wants us to have a frame of references, but I think we deserve to know what is going on that may not be so wonderful about the companies we are studying. And I certainly shouldn't feel like I am always looking at ads during class.
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Monday, October 4, 2010


So far I have yet to feature any giveaways of my own, however I would like to direct your attention to Lovely Undergrad where the blog author is giving away a $20 gift certificate to be used online. Check it out.

Friday, October 1, 2010


"Forever" is one of my favorite Judy Blume books. In my opinion, it does a better job of speaking to its audience than any of her other books. At the same time, it is still sincere and not exaggerated.

For those of you who do not know, "Forever" is about Katherine, a high school senior who has sex for the first time with her boyfriend, Micheal. It is about their relationship over the next few months as well as what is going on in their friends' lives. When they are together at first, they think they will be together, a summer spent apart proves that things will not work out.

Published in 1975, "Forever" is frequently challenged because of the descriptions of sex, and the presence of birth control. However, I feel that it gets information across to its audience in a honest and unbiased way without talking down to them. While it does not encourage sex, it does demonstrate that it is a reality. I recommend this book for anyone in high school above (I do not feel that it would be inappropriate for middle schoolers, but they may not get as much out of it) although I think it speaks especially to girls more than boys.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Sex Education"

"Sex Education" by Jenny Davis is a book about two students taking high school biology. Their teacher has decided that the first half of the school year learning about sexual health, but it will not be limited to science and diagrams. She gives them assignments such as telling themselves they are beautiful and making another person's life better.

This book was published in 1988 and was banned or challenged due to presentation of sex education. While I understand what the author was trying to do, I did not enjoy this book. Nor do I think it is a good source of information for teenagers who are wanting to learn how to deal with sex. This book did not address the emotions of having sex or protection; in fact, little of this book had anything to do with sex at all. The only thing I learned from it is to not help people. On top of that, the ending did not seem at all realistic, and rather disturbing.

This is one of those books that is only ever read because it is banned, in my opinion at least. I would like to know what every one else thinks.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week

In honor of Banned Books Week (check out for more information) I will be writing reviews of commonly banned or challenged books all this week. My major focus will be on books that have been removed from school reading lists or public school libraries.

Has anyone ever had direct experience with book challenging? Do you ever think its ok to ban a book? For you future teachers, how would you deal with a controversial book that you wanted students to read?
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Friday, September 24, 2010

When Stuck on Homework

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...Image via Wikipedia
Every so often, (or perhaps daily) you will hit a wall while doing homework. Since doing the same thing will get you the same results, here's how to break through that wall:

1. Get some help. E-mail your teacher, ask a friend in the class or one who has already taken the class or others like it. Someone may be able to explain it in a way that makes sense.

2. Take a break. Clear your mind, get some exercise, or eat a snack. Go for something light and healthy, such as carrots or pretzels.

3. Change the scenery. It you're working in your room, try going to the library instead.

4. Try working on different homework and trying your current work later.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is Harvard Really the Best Choice?

A recent artice on confirmed what many have believed all along. Going to a top school is not an immediate ticket to the job of your dream. According to this article, corporations prefer hiring graduates from state schools over many Ivy leagues.

Part of this is for reasons stated in the article: graduates of Harvard and the like tend to go on to grad school or work at Wall Street, while graduates of state schools go into the workforce. Therefore, those students are better prepared for the workforce. But I think there may be other issues at work as well.

First off, the two stongest jobs that you can get in terms of job security are teacher and nurse. Neither of these pay a lot, but require quite a bit of schooling. Therefore, when choosing an undergrad school, students looking to go into that profession are going to consider price as a big issue.

Also, despite what the American dream tells us, most students at Ivy league schools come from well-off families. They have some form of fallback. Many students at state schools may have to get a job because otherwise, they will have no place to live.

Finally, state school graduates assume that the school on their diploma will not be enough to land themselves a good-paying job, so they compensate through activities and leadership roles. Graduates of Ivy league schools may assume that good grades from a prestigious school are enough and just don't try as hard when looking for a job or building their resume.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

"That's Not my Thing."

This week is my school's Formal Recruitment. That means that last week all of us affiliated with a national sorority were busy signing girls up to meet with all of our campus' sororities. I didn't think it would be all that difficult; all you have to do is sit at a table and ask girls if they want to sign up. If they have any questions, answer them.

However, it felt a little like pulling teeth. Girls who stopped to talk about it had to be convinced that it would be fun and even then a lot of them did not put their names down. The most common reason I heard? "That's not my thing."

As a proud sorority chick myself I found that statement oddly offensive. Many of these girls were freshmen so they had no idea what Greek life at this university is even like. The whole purpose of something like formal recruitment is to find out if this is for you. I know many girls who never saw themselves as members of a sorority but now hold major offices, and consider their membership an important part of who they are.

This post is not meant to be a rant about how everyone stereotypes Greek. College is about trying new things, whether that means going to an interest meeting for a Greek organization or taking a class on Finance even though you want to teach kindergarten. It gives you chance to not only learn new things but to learn something about yourself.

My freshman year one of my friends convinced me to join my school's Philosophy Club. I hated it, and only stayed for one semester. But you know what? I'm still glad I did it. I had never read any philosophy books up to that point, so I had very little knowledge of it. Now, I am better informed, had the chance to meet a professor who turned out to be one of my favorite teachers, and met other students I would not have otherwise.

So rather than turning something down just because you don't think its for you, jump in and try something you never thought you would, as long as it is not dangerous. You have nothing to loose, but so much to gain.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Today's featured comment is from the post The Military:

"I have a friend that joined the Marines right out of college. He went to serve in Afghanistan shortly after. Because of this, you never know what will happen once you join or where they'll send you. I plan to join the Air Force AFTER I graduate college, that way I'll have some educational background and hopefully have an upper hand in what career choice I want to choose while serving the country. "

Keep the comments coming!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Parents' Role in Students' Lives

College is when most students are away from their parents for the longest time ever. And because parents and their children are often very close, or at least in some way reliant on each other, parents are entering a new stage of life along with their children. Because of this, colleges are adapting to serve parents and deal with their concerns as well. This may be done by including parents in presentations about financial aid or alcohol.

Some parents have trouble letting go. Were your parents this way? The best thing to do is to not let them linger. Once you are done packing, thank them and say good bye. If necessary, tell them you have a required orientation even to go to, one where parents are not allowed.

During the year, when your parents start asking too many questions, suggest that they sign up for the school newsletter or join the Parents' Club. Limit phone calls to no more than twice a week, unless calling for a specific reason (Like sorting out loan information, not they have local gossip.)

College is a time for independence, and no matter how difficult it is for your parents to let go, it needs to happen.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Strange Scholarships

Everyone's heard of those mystical scholarships that you can get for being tall or left-handed. But where are they hiding? Since Fastweb doesn't ask question that will direct you to such opportunities for free money, here they are:

If you qualify for any of them, consider entering. Why not take advantage?

Do you know of any other strange scholarships? If so, please post the link.
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Friday, September 3, 2010


Grilled Ham and Cheese SandwichImage via Wikipedia
As a student who pays boarding fees, I mostly eat in the cafeteria. It works out pretty convientently, and the food is alright. Of course, there are plenty of problems with it. For one, the vegetarian options are limited. When I have tried to eat meat free, I usually end up eating cheese pizza or grilled cheese with tomato and lettuce (delicious, but not always filling).

On top of the vegetarian issue, I'm not sure the cafeteria is the healthiest place to eat anyways, and certainly not the most environmentally friendly. At the beginning of this semester we made the change to trayless, but there has been some resistance, including a request for our Student Government to change it back.
Anyways, this brings me to the topic of today's blog: a woman, known on the internet as Mrs. Q, has just spent a year experiencing school lunches. Understandably, she has a lot of concerns. View her blog here.

The blog made me think: in college, our parents are a lot less involved with school than they once were. As such, they hardly ever serve as advocates for us any more. But what if a parent were so fed up with college cafeteria food that they decided to do the same experiment that Mrs. Q did? Would they be happy with your school's food? What would bug them the most?

Of course, as adults, we are now responsible for our own health and happiness. That is one of the biggest differences between high school and college in my opinion.

What do you think are the biggest issues with college lunches today? Please leave your comments.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Apparently, the library should be a crucial issue when choosing a college. What do you think? Did you take the library into consideration when you choose your school? How big of a part of the tour was it? And how often do you use the library's resources?

Also, are books in libraries going away?

Monday, August 30, 2010

How Curriculum Varies by School

When you choose a school, it's not always enough to find out if your major is offered at your prospective school. Often, a program's focus will vary depending on the economy of the area. Take Recreation and Tourism Management (RTM) for example. My school is in a very rural area and many of the students are from economically depressed areas. West Virginia as a whole is trying to improve the economy while not harming the environment. Therefore, Tourism is a huge focus by the state. Therefore, when the school teaches, its focus is on outdoor recreation such as rafting and hiking.

As a business major, I've noticed that we are being prepared for jobs with large corporations. They are the focus of cases in our textbooks. Unfortunately, I disagree with this particular approach. The reason I became a business major was because I planned to start a business. Since then, I have been very interested in small businesses, particularly working for them. I feel that my school would be better served by encouraging us to either start businesses or find jobs working for one after graduation. Like tourism, it is a key part of improving the economy.

I suppose there are other schools that have business programs with more of a focus on small business or even an entire program dedicated to teaching emerging entrepreneurs. At my school, it sort of makes sense that the focus would be working for a coal company, since that's the major source of income for the state, but if a student wants something else, they usually have to leave the area. Many graduates leave the state, which is dangerous since the next generation of workers is a vital part of the workforce.

Many other programs have a certain focus as well. For example, the social sciences at my school seem to have a major emphasis on research and going to graduate school.

Has anyone else noticed something similar at your own school?

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 22-27 Featured Comment

Today's featured comment is from Monday's post Reading in College and was written by msmoonfox:

"I LOVE to read, (luckily, as an English major!) but never have the time to do any "for fun" reading during the school year in between all my assigned readings - that's why summer has been so great!"

As always, thank you to all of my readers and followers, and a special thanks to anyone who has ever left me a comment.


Who goes home for the weekend on a regular basis? And what do you spend your weekends doing?

Everyone, have a good weekend and don't forget to comment.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Environment

All over the country people are making the effort to "go green." Colleges tend to be a hot bed for new trends and activism, so it is no surprise that administrations everywhere are make earth-friendly changes, often due to encouragement from students. According to this article, some students are even factoring environmentalism into their college choice.

What is your college doing to become more environmental? How are students reacting to it? And do you feel that your part of the country affects people's reactions and their willingness to make such change?

In your opinion, what changes do you think would be going to far? If, say, the cafeteria removed trays, or the school limited parking to encourage bus use, would you fight such changes?

Also, have you ever taken a class focused on the environment, such as one of the ones in this discussion? Would you?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reading in College

If your study schedule is anything like most college students, most of it consists of reading for class; and trying to limit that reading. With all of that reading, is it any surprise most of us do not read for fun? After working, studying, etc. all I ever feel like doing is watching T.V., going on the computer, or reading magazines.

The only reason I am ever able to get reading done that I want to do is because I have a job where I sit at a desk for hours on end and talk to people when they stop by. So, I get to read between giving directions- that is, when I don't have to do homework.

So who here likes to read but doesn't have time? How do you make the time? What are your favorite books?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This Week's Featured Comments, a little belatedly

I forgot until today that I didn't post the featured comment. Today's is from Wednesday's post, Textbook Rental. Jet-Setting Divas wrote:

"amazon helped me a lot with my books! also getting books from older students! i got a few for free!"

Thank you for your feedback, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, August 20, 2010


At the start of college, many freshmen start to miss home, their families, friends, and the places they associate with their home, such as a favorite hangout spot. published an article on their website about homesickness.

There are various ways to deal with homesickness. Here are a few:

1. Bring a few items from your old bedroom to make it feel like home faster. A few pictures of your friends and family are a good idea.
2. Adapt your old routines to fit with your new surroundings, such as going to church each week, or going to get a donut form a local bakery each Saturday morning.
3. Make friends and acquaintances to spend time with. Home is where you are surrounded by those you care about. Sounds cliche, but its true.
4. Find activities that you enjoy so you are not always thinking about home.
5. Call your family and friends from back home, but not too much. It may backfire and make you miss them even more.
6. Do not ignore your feelings. If you need to talk, talk. Do not deny yourself the right to feel your emotions. Overcrowding your schedule will not get rid of homesickness, but it could make it worse.
7. Recognize what is good about your new location, and get to know the area.
8. This is a good chance to go outside your comfort zone and try things you never thought about doing or never had the opportunity to do in high school. You may discover your passion, and no one can say stuff like, "I can't believe you're doing that!"
9. Be careful about comparing your new location to your old one. The new may come up short just because you are not used to it, even if you haven't given it a chance. Also avoid saying negative stuff to people you've just met. Some of them may be from the area or very attached to it and won't appreciate hearing things like, "I wish this place had a Trader Joe's, my old town did. My old town is so amazing!" It will come off as, "I hate this place, and everyone who likes it is an idiot."

College is a new experience and one of the benefits is that you are in a new place meeting new people. It can take some getting used to, so just give your school a chance.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Textbook Rental

TextbookImage via Wikipedia
Almost every college student these days must purchase textbooks for classes. No matter what your classmates may tell you, you cannot get through all of your classes without at least one textbook. When I took Oceanography, I just barely passed because I only had my notes to study off of.

While students try many methods of lowering the cost of textbooks, I think the best solution is book rental. Sites like and are costing bookstores, and therefore the school, money, and they are not saving students much when you consider the inconvienence and the fact that they may not be able to sell their books again.

Textbook rental would save students a lot more money, help school bookstores and still be convienent. Everyone wins. Publishers would also not want to make new editions because they could continue to make money off of the old editions. This is assuming that publishers and authors would get a cut each time a book was rented, something that does not happen when students sell their old books on the internet.

Currently, there are options for renting books. is the most popular. I ordered my books there this year, and although I cannot comment on their delivery service since I only ordered the books yesterday, it was much cheaper than buying them on Amazon. And with my recent troubles with my old standby, I do not think I will be using them for textbooks for awhile.

Renting textbooks is not a new concept; according to my mom, that is how she got all of her books. I believe that it is a method that will help everyone that is involved in buying and selling textbooks. Bookstores are often seen as villians, but the fact is that they are trying to make a profit just like any other business. Textbook rental could help them do that, while at the same time ensuring that students can still afford to get the best education possible.
Sorry about all the links, its a popular topic.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Money by not Wasting it

Benjamin FranklinImage via Wikipedia
Everyone has heard Ben Franklin's saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned." And I think most people would agree that its true, even if we don't always live by that simple rule. Part of it I think is that we associate new, expensive stuff with prestige. Our society certainly does its best to broadcast that message. Also, some of us consider retail therapy a valid solution to our problems. But the reality is, wasting money does not make you any richer. In fact, people who became rich most likely got that way by living like they had no money. So here are some basic tips for saving money:

  • Don't pay for something if you can get it for free. Especially if you are already paying for it, such as printing paper in your school library. Are you applying? Some schools will waive the application fee, so keep a look out for what you have to do, whether its applying online or talking to  representative at a graduation fair. Does your friend have a new DVD that you've been wanting to watch? Borrow it first.
  • Always ask if what you're about to buy is a luxury or a necessity. And be honest: for example, if your school has a good public transportation system or everything is within walking distance, a car is a luxury.
  • Calculate all of the costs associated with a purchase. Does that shirt say its dry clean only? How much is shipping on the online order?
  • If you are saving for something in particular, say, study abroad, keep a picture in your wallet or purse that you can look at anytime you're about to buy something. This will make you think twice.
  • Don't be afraid to buy used. Consignment shops are best if you are picky. Here is an example of one with top brands.
  • Brand names are hardly ever better than store brands and can lead to big savings.
  • Do not spend beyond your means.
  • Know when it is best to spend extra. If you are shopping for a new laptop and spending an extra $100 means the computer will last all the way through college instead of breaking down halfway through, you could be actually saving as much as $400. Think long term.
  • Remember, time is money. This is a good motto to remember when you want to be generous. If you want to make a donation to a worthy cause, consider volunteering rather than giving money. When gift giving season comes around, think of who would appreciate your time. Grandam might prefer you spend the day with her organizing photos over a gift. Perhaps you could tell your brother you'll baby-sit his kids one night for free.
Inspiration for this blog came from:

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Featured Comments for Friday the 13th

This week we're featuring two comments, one useful and one funny.

The first one is by Hotcakes on the Post Things to Always Have With You:

"dont forget common sense, :) they always get left behind after a summer hang over"

The second comment is by holly on the Post Grad School:

"I have lots of thoughts and quite a bit of experience with this (I'm starting my doctorate in a few weeks), but as far as one of the beginning stages, don't let anyone convince you it's impossible to study for the GRE. I've heard from so many unmotivated people, "There's just no way to study for it. Go in there and do your best." Lies! When I was preparing for the GRE the first time, I crack a study guide a couple of times, looked at a website or two and decided to wing it. The second time, I spent several hours a week all summer writing sentences with vocabulary words, reviewing math formulas and practice equations and fine-tuning my writing. I'd recommend books by Kaplan and the site Hope this helps!"

Thanks to all of my readers out there, especially those who shared their thoughts.


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Tips for Shopping

1. Make a list ahead of time: It curves impulse buys.

2. If you tag along with a friend to the store, but don't want to buy anything, leave your money at home.

3. Keep things at hand: the less you lose items, the less you'll replace them.

4. The more preparation you have to do with food, the cheaper it will be. So make sure things like frozen foods are luxuries, not staples.

5. The best places to avoid are Walmart and the mall. They have the most tempation. And remember, you're not saving money if you're spending it on something you wouldn't buy otherwise.

6. Keeps snacks like preztels or chips around and in bulk so you don't have to hit the vending machine for a late night snack.

7. While fruits and vegetables are important, these go bad quickly. Share them (and the cost if you wish) with friends and roommates or buy in small porportions.

8. Sign up for a customer loyalty card at the places you will shop the most. Or, borrow your parents' card (or I.D. number) if possible. Get their permission first.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


In college, magazines will sometimes serve as your lifeline. They are good reading, but useless enough that you can take a well deserved break from classwork. Of course, some can get expensive, and it's always better to save money when possible, even if it is only a few bucks a year. So keep a few things in mind:

  • Find out if the magazine you want is available in your school or local library. If it isn't, see if they would be willing to subscribe to it.
  • See if your friends have the magazines you want. Maybe you can trade with them or get their copies when they are done. If you really want your own subscription, see if they will give you the cards that entitle them to special discounts. They won't have any problem with this since they get so many that just end up being thrown away.
  • Search the Internet for deals. Amazon has some good ones, and there are more sites. I would recommend, however, limiting yourself to sites that your friends have used.
  • Check out garage sales and used book sales. You won't get the most up-to-date magazines, but with a lot of magazines, that's not really much of a problem.
  • Check out the magazines' websites. Often, they will post articles from the magazine. It's also a good supplement if you do subscribe.
  • Remember, the Postal Service cannot forward magazines. So, if you graduate or transfer, make sure to tell the magazine, otherwise you won't continue getting issues.
What are some of your favorite magazines and why? What publications do you think are invaluable to students?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Things to Always Have with You

With the start of school approaching, many of us are doing our back to school shopping. Over the next couple of days I'll be posting lists with reminders of things you want to be sure to have.

  1. Your cellphone (as if you'd want to be without it.)
  2. Extra pens and pencils that are easy to get at, such as in your backpack or purse
  3. Spare change and a few dollars in cash.
  4. A book or magazine to read in your free time
  5. Your room key
  6. Some snacks and water
  7. Any textbooks you need for class and studying that day.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Featured Comment for the Week of August 2

Again, I did not get any knew comments, so I'm going to go back through the old ones.
In the post, "What to Keep Out of Your Dorm Room" WC3 said:

"Good advice on the money. I can't count on two fingers and two toes the amount of people I know who got robbed. lock your doors, kids.

- Chris ( "

Thanks for playing, and remember to comment throughout the week and you might see your comment featured next Friday.
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The Military

CAPE MAY, N.J. (Sept. 24, 2005) Coast Guard Co...Image via Wikipedia
Joining the military while in college or immediately before or after has a lot of benefits, most of which involve money or careers. You may be guarnteed a job and experience to put on your resume, and you will not have to rely on loans or your parents to pay for school. People have other reasons for wanting to sign up too. Some come from military families, or want to go career, or want to serve their country, or have the opportunity to travel.

The military can also take up a lot of time. Things like basic training can take you away from school and your friends and family. While there you cannot communicate with them by electronic methods and must rely on handwritten letters. Other drawbacks to joining the military include how the people around you feel about it, and what your feelings about the military are. My advice to students who are signing up just for the money is to find another way to pay. The Military requires a lot of sacrifice and should only be considered if you are fully aware of the consequences and you are proud to join.

Are you in the military or ROTC? What branch, and why did you sign up? How has it affected your college experience? Do you have friends or loved ones in the military? How do you feel it affects you? Woud you ever consider signing up? Post your responses in the comment section, some may be used in a future post. I am also considering a series of posts about the military and college, so if you are interested, e-mail me at
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Plans For the Rest of the Summer

A view of the cabins at Kineowatha Camps, Wilt...Image via Wikipedia
How much time do you have left before school starts up again? What do you want to do before that dreaded day? Has anyone done anything really exciting this summer? How about more mudane activities? Do you ever make a list of things to get done before the end of summer and have you ever accomplished everything on it?

Share your replies with us by leaving a comment.

P.S. In an earlier post I encouraged everyone to donate some food to their local causes. Now with the start of school upon us and back-to-school shopping in session, please consider picking up some extra school supplies to donate. One way to do this is by going to By joining, a dollar will be donated on your behalf. Don't forget to join the Facebook group; there is a link to it on the page.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Poverty and College

Many colleges claim to be blind to the economic background of applicants. This is true with scholarships as well. In other words, it doesn't matter if an applicant is rich or poor, they have the same chances as anyone else. In theory. The truth is, having money gives students all kinds of advantages. They did not have to work in school, so they could focus on their grades and extracurriculars. These are the things colleges look at. Also, if a student has to pay for college, he or she may have to put it off. This affects what scholarships they can apply for.

Even something as simple as having parents who went to college can make a big difference. Because your parents have a degree, they expect you to as well, and want to help you succeed at going to college. Parents who did not attend college still want their son or daughter to succeed, but they may not know how or do not think that college is a necessity.

Do you see a fair solution to this? Has your family's economic situation made a diffence in where you were accepted? Please reply in the comments.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Featured Comments

In order to encourage responses and discussion on this blog, I have decided to start featuring a comment every Friday from the last week. This comment will either be one that caused the most discussion, was the most interesting, or just made some very good points or had excellent advice in it. Today's comment is not  from the last week, just because I haven't gotten any commenters this week. It was posted on the post Mary J. Blige is Going To College and was posted by meli.mtzesca. Here was her response:

"this is nice to know, my mom just walked down the aisle to receive her AA and graduated from community college & she's about to turn 64. [I was sitting right next to her, as I also graduated]

(: "

A final thank you to everyone who reads this blog and a special thank you to those who take the time to share your opinions.

Advocacy Makes a Difference in Nike Case

Advocacy and volunteering is a big thing amongst college students, and has been at least since the 1960s. Organizations such as Student United Way, Amnesty International, and Circle K give students more opportunities to volunteer, write letters, and protest. It also insures that its mambers are well aware of what is going on in their country and around the world.
A rally at my school protesting the rising cost of tuition

Because of all of the efforts put into noble causes, its always rewarding to see those efforts make a difference. Universities and an Organization called United States Against Sweatshops put enough pressure on Nike that they finally agreed to pay severance costs as well as health insurance for a year to 1800 workers in Honduras who worked for Nike's subcontractors. They will also give them priority hiring.

You can read the whole artilce here.

Let's get some discussion going here. Are you involved in any advocacy at your school? What kind of causes do you feel are most important? Also, share one of your favorite stories about a protest or volunteering of some kind.

Also Read:

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