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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