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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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Nineties

Some of you may remember the nineties, or at least part of them. So here's a quick look at what was popular and big with past college students, as well as a quick chance at nostalgia.

Also, I recently discovered, via StumbleUpon, a blog devoted to this kind of thing: Children of the 90s

Monday, July 26, 2010

Housing Problems

For the last couple of years (fall of 2008 was the beginning of this trend) colleges and universities across the country have been experiencing record enrollment numbers, and fall of 2010 isn't supposed to be all that different. The biggest problem with having this number of students is what to do with them. Many new students are traditional students expecting to live on campus. Unfortunately, between the sudden influx of students and continuing budget cuts, expanding student living is not always an option, especially for the short term.

A major problem that this leads to is students come to campus for orientation and have no idea where they are going to live for the next few months. Some students end up in triples when the room is meant for only two students, other times up to ten students are living together in a lounge.

Traditionally, colleges accept more students than they can house because they know some students will not show up and the rooming assignments will even out. Unfortunately, with even greater numbers of students applying, there are still too many students without rooms.

Several solutions are possible, and are done. One is to allow more students to live off campus. This works in some towns, but other times there is not enough off campus housing within a short distance. If money for students is an issue, schools may choose to allow financial and scholarships to cover off-living expenses. Another thing some colleges do is to focus on recruiting more non-traditional students. They will still bring money into the school, but the college does not have to worry about housing them. Schools will also turn spaces that are not normally used for living spaces into rooms. This is probably the least advisable option. Finally, schools can simply choose to turn away more students by raising their admissions standards.

Have you ever been caught in the middle of housing overfill? How did it affect the first few days of school? How does your school deal with it? What do you think is the best short-term fix? Reply in the comments section.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Work Study Funds are Being Reduced

Now that you know where you'll be going to college in the fall, one question may remain to be answered: how will you cover the cost of school that scholarships, savings, and your parents did not cover? For a lot of students the answer is loans and grants. For others, the answer is work study. For those who don't know, work study is essentially just a job that the campus gives you. Unlike other campus jobs though, it is need based. For more information on what work study is, go to this web page:

Unfortunately, funds at many institutions to pay for work study has gone down. Not even students who had work study last year are going to be guarenteed positions. The reason for this is that last year many students received their pay through the Federal Stimulus Package, and institutions no longer have that money. The result: many students will lose necesary funding or have to take out more loans. Does this mean that student workers who were not funded by Federal Work Study will also lose their jobs? My campus certainly had many more student workers last year than they have in the past.

Less work study money available
This article has some good news, however

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Liberal Arts Majors

CollegeMonster recently posted an article about high-paying jobs that do not require a specific degree. Check here to see if any of them are appealing to you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Murphy's Law

Most of you have probably seen a list of Murphy's Law (Murphy was an optimist). It includes gems such as "You'll always find something in the last place you look" and "The car will work perfectly when you show it to the mechanic." Here is a list of the education version. I think it will be amusing for teachers and students alike.

Monday, July 19, 2010

AP Classes

Because of lower revenues, high schools in Fort Wayne are being told that they must increase the number of students passing AP Exams (Advanced Placement). The state wants a minimum of 25% passing, and only one area school is meeting this goal. Not only do they want more students passing, they want more students taking the classes, which is certainly a good thing. Although if students are not ready for an AP class, they shouldn't be taking the class, which could hinder things. An issue like this represents why "No Child Left Behind" hurts students, even at higher levels when schools no longer have to follow the restrictions. Schools are more concerned with reaching benchmarks and not looking bad that they forget the real purpose is to help the students.

One argument is that success in AP courses is a good indicator of how a student will do in college. There is only one problem; it sounds like rather than helping the students do better in the class, they are just making it easier to pass, which certainly won't help their success in college. See the article here:

I am a huge supporter of AP classes and took two high school. Unfortunately, neither one helped me all that much because I wasn't clear on what classes they replaced, so I ended up taking most of those anyways. To top it off, the college version was a lot more useful. However, if the classes are done right, they can be a huge help to students, but not if we're letting them take the easy way out. I know students who took AP instead of Honors because AP is easier.

Did anyone here take AP classes or is planning to take them? Were they useful? Leave your response in the comment section.

How to know what AP scores mean
Do College Prep classes really prepare students?

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Facebook Hits a Major Milestone, the bane and crutch of nearly every college student (as well as high school students and adults) now has 500 million users. While this is clearly a big step for the company, as well as a success story for the rest of to marvel at (Facebook was started by a couple of students out of a dorm room at Harvard) I'm not sure I really see the big deal. After all, we've all known Facebook was a big deal since it gained a following at other schools in 2006. This is sort of like when McDonald's sold their one billionth hamburger.

I won't lie, I suspect that this, coupled with the "Facebook Stories" is a bit of a marketing ploy to get attention and raise the value of their ads. Afterall, Facebook has been dealing with some negative press lately. Users were pretty upset over the changes in the privacy settings and rumors have been going around the site (although likely unfounded) that Facebook is going to start charging. Also, some hate sites have been showing up, although none of them seen as a huge threat. I suspect this is leading to some people the site and others boycotting it. And, while this is not a huge issue, people are finding that Facebook is no longer what it once was; the layout is changing every couple of months, and applications are continuing to take over. Not to mention the companies' and their ads are filling up the feeds.

This leads me to another suggestion about why Facebook is celebrating such a landmark. While it is a marketing tool, it is more noble than what I have implied. Facebook wants to return to its roots, hence the "Facebook Stories" showing Facebook in a positive light. Maybe Facebook wants to show that it is a way to connect with friends rather than a way for companies to bug their markets easier.

What you think? Is this milestone something to celebrate or just ignore? Leave your answers in the comments section.

More about Facebook's milestone.
Clcik here for information about Facebook's founding.
A Facebook movie?
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Designing Your Own Degree

King's College Arts and Administration Buildin...Image via Wikipedia
Students at various colleges have been known to design their own degree, and for a variety of reasons. My degree was pretty straightforward (business) but at a few points I did consider creating an arts administration degree (most likely a minor) based off of one I had seen at another school. Most of the timess such degrees are mulidepartmental. Doing this is especially helpful if you have a very specific track in mind, or you do not know what you want to major in when you first choose schools, or you change your mind and do not want to (or cannot) transfer.

Who out there has created their own degree? How did you go about it? What was the degree? What were your reasons? Finally, are you happy with your choice? Please respond in the comments section.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Recruitment for Organizations

During the first few weeks of school, the main concern of many upperclassmen is how to get freshmen to join their organizations. Everyone from fraternities and sororities to the psychology club are hosting recruitment parties and interest meetings. And its no wonder; if recruitent doesn't go well, an organization may not survive another year. There are a few stand bys; advertise an interest meeting and give out free pizza, or talk to freshmen during orientation week. Of course, getting people to show up to the first meeting isn't the hard part, nor does it indicate the success of your recruitment methods. The only way to do both those things is to see how many people become members and keep showing up to meetings.

What recruitments have been successful in your experience? What weren't successful? If you were a prospective member, what would make you want to join or not join?


Location is a big issue when choosing a college. Many students opt to remain instate because the tuition is cheaper. Others choose a school because it is in their dream location such as Hawaii or New York. Still more want to stay close to home.

I chose my school because the price was low since it was public and instate, but it was far enough away that I was still "going away" to school. Many kids at my high school choose to go to the local university, so I wanted to avoid "Grade 13."

My state, West Virginia, has always had a problem not only attracting out-of-state students, but keeping in-state ones. There is a stigma attached to West Virginia, and on top of that, not many jobs are available and the grad school options can be limited. So even if students stay or come for college, they may not remain after graduation.

New Jersey seems to be having a similar problem, one that I can attest to since many students from there come to West Virginia for college, due to the price. They feel more prestigious colleges are available elsewhere, especially with the close proximity of large cities. You can read the article here.

What was your logic when picking your school? Did you choose instate or out of state? If you had the option to stay at home and go to school right nearby, would you?

Monday, July 12, 2010

What to Keep out of Your Dorm Room

On friday, I posted a list of necessities for dorm rooms. Here is a list of things that should stay out of dorm rooms:
  • A pet- most dorms will tell you that you can keep a pet as long as it cannot survive out of water, but even a gold fish might be inadvisable. No matter how responsible you are, it gets difficult to remember to feed it. Sometimes you'll be out of the room so much you won't be able to feed it.
  • Strong scents- in small places scents will pervade the air. Some people might even have allergies. So do your floor a favor and stick with basic perfumes or colognes and shower every day with regular soap and shampoo.
  • Video game consoles- they will be too distracting and you will never want to get anything else done. I've seen it happen. The same is true with computer games such as The Sims.
  • Junk- if you don't need it, don't bring it.
  • Cigarettes- this isn't a "smoking is bad for you" lecture, but cigarettes are expensive. Money will be tight as it is, and that three dollars a day could be put towards food, school supplies, or savings for when you have to start paying back loans.
  • Large amounts of cash-You may be living with your roommate, but the truth is you can't trust them yet. Or any one else on your floor if you leave your door unlocked.
  • A car- most students will be divided on this but I think the best thing to do, especially if you are a freshman, is to leave the car at home. You will save a lot in gas money, and you'll get to know more people since you will be staying on the weekends, using public transportation, and sharing rides. Also, parking is a huge hassle that will be stressful, particularly the first couple of weeks.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mary J. Blige is Going to College

According to CNN Mary J. Blige, who was just awarded her honorary high school diploma, has decided to take the next logical step in her education: she is going to college at the age of 39. She says she has been accepted at Howard University, but officials there say nothing is set in stone, although they are willing to help her with the process.

I think this is great, and that she is unlikely to have trouble getting into any school she applies at, especially in the music department. Howard University probably doesn't want to seem like she gets special consideration so she has to go through the entire application process.

She is demonstrating the value of education, even past the age of traditional students. Many celebrities forgo higher education to continue or begin their careers, and while they have done well, (Oprah and Bill Gates for example) I would prefer celebrities stress the importance of college. Both Gates and Winnfrey have done just that. Gates with his philanthropy and Winnfrey by going back to get her degree.

Here is the article for further information.

What to Keep in Your Dorm Room

    On Wednesday I gave some tips on making the most of the space you have, so here are some tips for what you'll need in your dorm. These may vary depending on what your school is like and what it provides.

  • Snacks- keep them relatively healthy and nonperishable, but always have some junk food on hand as well. Also have enough stuff for an actual meal in case you want to keep working straight through supper time, even if the meal is Ramen.

  • Cleaning supplies- these will vary depending on what kind of dorm you have, but between you and your roommate I would advise having at least a small vacuum cleaner.

  • A clock radio-if possible, get all of your electronic needs in one item i.e. a radio with a C.D. player and iPod dock.

  • Bedding

  • School supplies

  • A computer- a laptop is best, since it will take up less space and is portable. Just keep it charged.

  • Pictures from home

  • A few nick nacks

  • Containers- the more organized your space is, the more room you'll have. Just don't forget where you put stuff.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Making the Most of Your Space

Not only are dorms small, you are also sharing the space. Here are some tips to keep you from getting overcrowded:
  1. Think about what you will really need. If you cannot see an immediate (and logical) need for an item, leave it at home.

  2. Remember, you can ask your parents to ship anything you find yourself needing.

  3. Shelves will be your best friend.

  4. Discuss with your roommate what things only one of you could bring. You do not need two refridgerators, two T.V.s AND two telephones. (On the telephone front, it might be best to substitute your cellphone as your regular phone.)

  5. Make use of the space under your bed. You can also buy posts that will give you an extra nine inches or so of storage.

  6. Make sure you have a clear path to your door. I was once actually told that my room was so messy, it was a fire hazard. It really was, because I stubbed my toe several times during the night.

  7. Talk to your roommate about who's space is who's. I know this sounds territorial, but you will have an easier time making compromises, especially if you are on opposite ends of the organizational spectrum.

  8. Know where everything is.

  9. Clean up regularly. I hate cleaning as much as the next person, but this will make finding stuff and packing easier, and the cleaner and more organized a room is, the more space it seems to have. Also, I've always preferred to hang out in clean rooms as opposed to messy rooms, so it has a social benefit as well.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yard Sales

I hope everyone had a good Fourth of July, filled with fireworks and food. Since we're all still in a vacation sort of mood (especially with today being a federal holiday) let's talk about one of the key parts of summer: yard sales.

During the summer, yard sales are a great way to kill some time in a creative way, and to stock up on all that stuff you never knew you needed. You can get some simple decorations for your dorm, vintage clothing (wash it before you wear it), especially dishes, all for cheap. Here is an article about what you should and should not get at garage sales.

What awesome finds have you gotten from yard sales? What's the craziest thing you've ever seen for sale at one? And what do you refer to them as anyways? Rumage sales? Garage sales? Post your answers in the comments section.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Social Scene After College

Right now, making friends is pretty easy. You go to class, a club, or sit down with a stranger in the cafeteria. Maybe you even become best friends with your roommate. But what about after graduation? This seems especially daunting if you'll be moving to a new city. Jezebel has a good article with some tips here. And remember, even if some of these tips don't work, or you do face some horror stories (not real horror stories, just some embarrassment) like the article mentions, at least it'll make for some good conversation when you meet new people!

Food in the Summer

Lot's of low-income children rely on the free or reduced cost lunches (and breakfasts) for their nutrition. And during the summer, they aren't getting that. Many programs, such as Energy Express, help make up the difference, as well as food banks. Unfortunately, due to the economy, they are suffering. Please take the time to go to this site and find a local food bank to donate to. Just think about what some of your favorite foods were as a kid (macaroni, T.V. dinners, soup, etc) and donate it.

One of my pet peeves is how easy it is to donate to worthy causes during Christmas and Thanksgiving but it is much more difficult during other parts of the year, even though it is no less needed.