Archive for March, 2019

Living With a Chronic Illness: College Presents Problems

March 27th, 2019

By Jori Hamilton

College should be a time in your life when you broaden your horizons, meet new people, and enjoy the challenge of learning new ways of thinking. However, if you have a chronic illness or disability, you might be met with interruptions to the normal rhythms of college life that make it a bit more challenging to find your footing. You must learn to balance your academic success, extracurricular activities, and manage your hardships, often alone for the first time in your life. If your parents helped by advocating on your behalf for an inclusive education in your younger years, you might feel even more pressure as you start your post-secondary journey.

All of this pressure can leave you feeling a bit shaky about continuing your path of higher education. However, with a few lessons and support from your professors, you can get off to a good start in no time.

Challenges of Living with a Chronic Illness in College

Ask any college student if they feel pressure about succeeding in this new world and you will likely be met with a resounding, “yes” — however, because of your chronic condition, the demands of college-life can feel even more significant.

 

  • You might struggle to find balance living with a roommate on “sick” days. Consider sharing your needs with them to develop a plan.
  • If you have any special dietary needs, be sure to speak with your advisor to see how you notify the cafeteria staff of dietary requirement so that you can remain on any specific diets.
  • If you move away from your hometown, you’ll probably need to find new care providers, which can be a unique experience if your parents have always helped you. Talk to your physician at home or the university clinic to get suggestions of providers in the area who treat others with your condition.

What’s more, college students worry about money. You might be living off a minimal budget while you watch your student loan amounts steadily rise year after year, compounding on top of medical bills, especially if you no longer qualify for your parent’s health insurance. This can leave you with even more stress over how medical bills will affect your credit score and long-term financial success.

If finances are a worry, you may be tempted to prioritize some health concerns over others — however, it’s critical that you understand how ignoring your condition can lead to other chronic health problems. One example of this is the connection between diabetes and eye health. If you make the decision to slack on your diabetes care, the high blood sugar levels in your body could lead to poor eyesight, kidney damage, and nerve problems. It’s understandable that money may be tight when you’re pursuing a degree, but it’s never a good decision to not get the proper care needed for your overall wellness.  

How to Self-Advocate

It’s crucial to know that you have rights as a person with a chronic illness or disability. To fully understand your rights, you need to know a few essential details about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Post-secondary institutions are required by federal law to make reasonable accommodations to provide you with an equal opportunity to participate in college life. You might think that this is only for people with physical disabilities that change how they walk, talk, or otherwise get around. However, college students with chronic health conditions are covered as well.

The first step in knowing how to self-advocate is making sure you have a solid understanding of the ADA. You might need to self-identify as disabled with your university, which could be a simple or complex task depending on the school. One good thing is that most higher-learning institutions are more prepared now than ever before to help those with disabilities succeed.

All college students must learn how to speak with professors about problems or barriers as they arise. When you have a chronic illness, this is pivotal to your success. Schedule time with your professors to discuss possible absences or accommodations in private. It’s not necessary that you share any details with your peers, but if you want to succeed, you need to trust that your professors are here to help you in any way possible. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a flare-up of your condition before you decide to talk to your instructors.

What Professors and Administrators Can Do To Help

Being a college professor today might be a bit different than it was for professors even 20 years ago in terms of working with people with chronic health conditions and disabilities. The ADA opened a whole new world for individuals with a variety of health issues to pursue higher education. This means that, as a professor, you need to know how you can help.

Remember That Not All Disabilities Are Visible

When you’re preparing activities in the classroom, keep in mind that not everyone with limitations will have a walker or wheelchair. Choose activities, ice breakers, and class projects with inclusivity in mind. Consider accommodations such as auditory software and braille materials for visually impaired students, and sign language interpreters and assistive listening devices for students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Create a Seamless Process for Identifying

Students are trying to acclimate to their environment, so having to jump through multiple hoops to find the help they need can be tedious and even discouraging. Create a simple process for students to register with your office of disability services. Consider automation of this process through an app or other technology to cut down on wait times for appointments.

Make Classrooms Accessible

Universities often have beautiful old buildings that lack ramps, elevators, and central air conditioning. This type of environment can be difficult and even debilitating for students with mobility issues, breathing problems, heart conditions, or other chronic illnesses. Make sure that you have a process for students to report any special needs they have in regards to the physical facilities.

Host Support Groups

College campuses have a group for just about anything these days. Why not create a group for those with chronic illnesses and disabilities so that they can connect with others who are going through similar challenges? This is also an excellent place for administrators and professors to speak to students about accommodations that might be needed around campus and other ways to improve the college experience.

College is an exciting time of life for young adults. If you or your students are rising to the challenge of heading to university with a chronic illness, remember that this is a critical time for your success. Use these tips as a student, professor, or parent to get off on the right foot when attending college with a chronic illness.

Bio: Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Northwest who is passionate about education and social justice issues. You can follow her on Twitter @HamiltonJori

10 College Majors Or Degrees Creative People Will Love

March 27th, 2019

BY LORRAINE McKINNEY

When considering what you will major in at college, think about things that you like doing. If you are a creative person that enjoys art, writing, music, or any other creative interest these ten degrees might perfect for you.

  1. Creative writing – This degree encapsules more than just writing a novel. Creative writers can work for newspapers and magazines both paper and on-line. You can also write short stories and mysteries that might be featured on an on-line company. Ghostwriting can be a lucrative career. Many people want to write things but they are not sure exactly how to do so. You can write for them and get paid for your effort.
  2. Technical writing – This type of writing involves business. You could be writing journal articles, menus, pamphlets, and more. Most business will used technical writers in their marketing or public relations departments. You will work with graphic designers to create something for the business. Whether you are creating a new menu or an informational pamphlet that will be used by the safety industry you will be using your creativity to design something that is creative and functional. You can also expand your role to editing technical documents. This can be done at a traditional job or from home.
  3. Game design – If you are artistic and like to play video games you would enjoy a game design degree. You would work on the graphics for the next cool game, promote games, and market games. This is a growing industry and they are looking for creative people. You will need to be creative if you want to become a game designer. Game designers can draw what they are asked to or come up with their own new characters and settings.
  4. Dancing – “You can get a degree in dancing. With this degree you could join a company or teach dance. You can teach dance therapy and help others enjoy dancing and feel better. You can open up your own studio and work with other professionals to encourage everyone to dance,” recommends an expert from Dance Studios in Jacksonville. If you enjoy dancing you could have a career doing something you love.
  5. Architect – This degree will lead to working for a company designing buildings, offices, and homes. You can also open your own business as an architect. Architects are needed to help design all the structures we work and live in, and more. You will work with engineer to make an office flow in its design. You can be creative and innovative within this career.
  6. Interior design – A degree in interior design will open doors for you. You can use your artistic flair to impress clients when you design and furnish their houses or offices. You will make their space attractive, functional, and comfortable. Along with furniture you will choose colors and fabrics to highlight their space. You will be able to sketch out your concept and put it online to see the finished product. Interior designers are in charge of everything functional and fashionable in the space. You will pick out plumbing fixtures, wallpaper, and more. From the large desk to the pen holder, you will be in charge of creating a design that your clients love.
  7. Art therapist – With your degree in art therapy you can go into art therapy. Art therapy combines art and psychology. You could work at a hospital, a therapy center, or more places. You can use your love of art to help others who are going through a difficult time. Painting, drawing, clay, sculpture, and more can be integrated into this career. As they sketch or create works of things that have traumatized them you will be there to guide them.  You will be helping others while doing what you love.
  8. Animation This degree is for people who love to draw and who want to see their images come to life on the screen. From movies, to games, to television shows, animators make pictures come to life. You can work for a large or small company and enjoy seeing what you have created bring joy and happiness to people.
  9. Industrial design – This degree will focus on things we use everyday. From cars to computers to light switches. Someone has to come up with the design and that can be you. This is a field that can really stretch your creativity. You can design the next new electric car or a rocket. An industrial designer combines creativity and function.
  10. Photography – A degree in photography opens you up to world travel and excitement. You can work for a company that sends you around the world to photograph exotic locations. You can also work for a news outlet that will send you into the thick of things. Are you more of a homebody? You can open up your own photography business right at home. You can be creative and have a great time.

 

Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.

5 Ways to Organize Your College Assignments

March 26th, 2019

BY JANE HURST

Weekly assignments, midterms, final papers… all piling up each day, making every year of your college life seem more difficult than the previous one. But it doesn’t have to be this hard.

There are several different ways to help you sort out your assignments and actually get started with completing them. Whether you prefer putting all your notes and ideas on paper or would rather reduce your carbon footprint and go all in for tech, here are 5 ways to organize your student assignments:

  1. Assignment binders and planners

Perhaps the most accessible method for organizing your student assignments is creating a binder to hold all your papers, reminders, and auxiliary materials. You can either create one for each class or a separate binder for your assignments only. Alternatively, you can put together an up-to-date semester agenda with assignments and their due dates so you can check it out each week to see what’s next for you to prepare and if you’re on track with college work.

These two options are strong organization tools you can reach out to at any time. Try color-coding or sorting them in a specific order of your choice to find the files you need more easily. For instance, you can divide your assignments binder into 3 parts: a red folder for assignments you have to complete, a yellow one for the ones you’re working on, and a green folder for any papers you’ve already delivered. Be careful here not to put an assignment you’re done with into the green folder until you’ve delivered it to your teacher.

  1. Digital Kanban boards

If you’d rather have a tool remind you when your assignments are due, try digital Kanban boards. A Kanban visual board is a practical method that lets you track all assignments and college work through 3 simple stages: To Do, In Progress, and Finished/Delivered.

You’ll receive email notifications or alerts whenever an assignment’s deadline is approaching. The best part is that these tools can also be used together with your classmates in case you’ve got group projects to work on.

Free project management software options like Paymo often offer a Kanban feature in addition to simple to-do lists that will also allow you to keep track of any other duties you have be they personal or college related.

  1. Consider a cloud-based file storage solution

If you’re always on the run going from one class to another, you probably won’t want to keep all your files, binders, and notes with you. Online file storage options like Dropbox or Google Drive help you store all of these in a single place.

This way, you’ll be able to access your assignments and class notes from anywhere whether you’re on your laptop, smartphone, or classroom computer. You can also become a power user of these digital solutions by learning how to organize your files into folders so you’ve got every structured according to your year of study, semester, and class.

 

  1. The classical desktop folders

For those of you who like taking their laptop to class and writing down all notes digitally, you might want to stick to organizing all files in your computer. This is an accessible and free method that will also allow you to get started with an assignment without having to download any external files.

An example for this filing system could be: Assignments -> Molecular Foundations -> Midterm Assignments -> To Do -> DNA recombination paper (file).

To make sure you don’t miss a deadline, just pair this method with a project management tool or your calendar app to send you regular reminders in time.

  1. The Big6 Organizer 

Now that you’ve got your files sorted, you need a strategy to get started with working on your assignments. The Big6 method is a 6-step process that helps you conduct your research through a series of clear stages. This way you’ll never be stuck again wondering what you’re supposed to do next.

The 6 stages are:

 

  1. Task definition – Define your information-related problem and find the facts and figures you need.
    2. Information seeking strategies – Identify all potential information sources and establish the best ones.
    3. Location and access – Locate these sources and find the info you need within them.
    4. Use of information – Engage with the information you found by reading any written content, watching a video, or experimenting and extract only the information that is relevant to your research.
    5. Synthesis – Organize the info you found in your multiple sources and present it in a structured manner.
    6. Evaluation – Judge the effectiveness of your results and analyze if the research process was efficient and you’ve covered all of the assignment’s aspects.

Test a few of these methods for organizing your student assignments before you decide to rigorously follow one. Pay particular attention to how stress-free you feel when using one or another of these techniques. For example, if you’re feeling anxious at all times thinking you’ll forget to hand in an assignment, then perhaps it’s better for you to go for one of the digital methods that will notify you whenever a due date is approaching.

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

 

 

The Art of Persuasion: How to Transform Your College Presentations

March 25th, 2019

BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN

 As a university student – particularly a student in the final few semesters of your degree program – presentations are a way of life. And if you want to elevate your GPA and feel like you’re adding value to those around you, it’s helpful to brush up on your persuasion tactics.

Why Does Persuasion Matter?

 The idea of persuasion gets a bad rap. People often discuss it in negative connotations – referring to pushy salespeople and manipulative leaders – however, there’s a whole different side to the equation.

 If you dig into the etymology and definition of the word, you’ll see that persuasion is simply the act or process of moving people by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a specific belief, position, or course of action. No perverted manipulation or overbearing force necessary.

 Whether you pursue a career in sales, marketing, management, finance, or entrepreneurship, the ability to persuade others will result in you hearing “yes” more frequently.

 4 Tips for Persuasive Presentations

 As a student in university, you’ll be asked to give dozens of presentations in your undergraduate career – and even more if you pursue graduate school, regardless of which faculty you are in. If you treat these presentations as learning opportunities, you’ll recognize that they’re perfect for honing your persuasion skills and learning to communicate with diverse audiences and future clients.

Here are a few steps you can take to get better results:

 

  1. Hold Yourself With Confidence

We’ve all sat through presentations where a presenter’s awkwardness and anxiety rubs off on the audience and instantly makes everyone uncomfortable. We’ve also all experienced presentations where the speaker’s confidence is infectious and instantly puts onlookers at ease. Body language is everything in a presentation. And whether you realize it or not, the audience is judging you from the moment you step behind the podium.

Regardless of how anxious you are inside, you need to hold yourself together and portray a strong, confident exterior that communicates mastery and poise. This means wearing something professional and appropriate, holding your shoulders back, relaxing your knees, and smiling. The more comfortable you are, the more receptive your audience will be to what you’re saying.

 

  1. Leverage the Right Supporting Materials

 

PowerPoint presentations accompany most of today’s presentations – from pitching proposals to showing statistics. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a visual display behind you, be careful not to rely on slides to carry you through.

A couple of digital slides are fine, but don’t overlook the power of print. In a world of online misinformation and fakes news, it’s far easier to convey trust in a printed piece of content. For important presentations – such as final projects – consider handing out printed booklets that complement your speech and drive home important points.

 

  1. Use Fact-Based, Logical Content

Generic presentations are painfully common in all faculties. They’re almost always the result of poor preparation and fear of fully committing to a stance or belief.  Instead of digging their heels in, a student provides an overview from 20,000 feet above and offers very little tangible information to the audience.

To persuade your audience, you need to use fact-based, logical content that’s specific and directed. Never assume that your audience will get from Point A to Point B without you connecting the dots for them.

Stay away from analogies unless you are confident you are able to drive the point home with no room for open-interpretation. Give the audiences a strong takeaway. For instance, when talking about how millennials are more eco-friendly, you could give examples on current trends which reflect your claims such as the rise of veganism and how it has influenced millennials to start their own garden. You can also make responsible tourism an example and take about the rising culture of travelers and how it has bred a new generation of worldly individuals, eager to better their lives and the lives of those around them which includes being kinder to the environment and going plastic or waste free.

 

  1. Use a Conversational Style

There’s a time and place for giving a “just the facts” approach, but your average presentation needs something more. While fact-based, logical content is a must, there’s also a need for some flavor and engagement.

If you can find a way to implement a conversational style into the presentation, you’ll find it much easier to engage your audience and, as a result, persuade them in a desired direction.

A conversational presentation style can be implemented in a variety of ways. For starters, look for opportunities to include stories into your speech. Stories have a way of grabbing attention and making the rest of your presentation more memorable. When used alongside factual content, colorful details paint a more complete picture.

Conversational style also assumes that you don’t just read words off of a script. There needs to be some natural flow to your words – a degree of impromptu speaking, if you will. Your audience is much more likely to feel moved if they believe they’re a part of something organic. It pays to practice in front of a mirror both to build confidence and to gain experience. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will seem and the more engaged your listeners will be.

 Prepare for the Real World

 You shouldn’t view college in a silo. While it’s a fairly structured environment where you’re relatively safe to fail, learn, and grow your skillsets – it’s also a place to prepare for your career that’s coming next. A presentation is about more than learning the subject matter and getting a good grade. What you’re really doing is perfecting your communication skills and refining your ability to persuade others.

When you approach your coursework with the understanding that you’re practicing for the real world, your thinking behind the how and why of your education will shift. Be sure you’re maximizing the opportunities you receive in order that you grow as a person and as a professional.

Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at annabelmonaghanwriter@gmail.com

 

So you want to be a Digital Marketer?

March 22nd, 2019

By Jon Kelly

 

Back in the old days, Digital Markting wasn’t a career people thought about getting into. Even now, you likely don’t hear five year olds, in circle time at Kindergarten, saying they want to be an SEO or social media marketing professional when they grow up. But, for those who are interested in marketing, business and technology, SEO in particular, can be a very solid career choice.

And yet, you can’t get a 4-year degree in SEO. So, how do you get started?

There are a variety of courses, webinars, articles, podcasts and videos on the market promising to teaching aspiring marketers how to be a top-notch professional. As an industry that has been around for over 20-years, it is also one that is always in motion. Fundamentally, how an SEO professional got a site to rank 20 years ago is similar, in theory, to how to get a site to rank now; however, some of the tactics are different.

Today’s up-and-coming professionals have a lot of resources to build their own skills from; however, there is more to SEO than what you can learn from an article or podcast.

In SEO, every website a professional encounters is a new experience with a new set of goals, potential problems and obstacles, keywords, targets and successes. An SEO professional continues to learn what the search engines need from a website to rank it appropriately, figure out what is missing, and strategize how to get it to the top.

It’s actually not that complicated.

A search engine’s only objective is to show the right results to the right person when they conduct a search. In fact, according to Google’s Quality Rating Guide, “good search engines give results that are helpful for users in their specific language and locale”.

The job of the SEO professional and team is to ensure the website is properly optimized for the search engine (back end and front end).  Since the search engines want websites to offer the best in related content and user experience, the SEO professional has to take that into account, too.

SEO moves beyond a formulaic approach because of the target user and what they’re looking for.

In a competitive industry with a range of target markets, SEO can become complicated fairly quickly.

For those who are thinking about getting into SEO as a career, what you might lack in experience, you can make up for in personality.

To decide if SEO is a career that’s right for you, we’ve put together a list of personality traits that can help.

Analytical – The best SEO professionals love to dig into the analytics, the data and the numbers to continue to move strategy forward. They consider it like a treasure hunt, always on the lookout for a new piece of data that is going to help them either solve a problem, or grow the business. Google analytics, Google search console, Tag Manager, Spreadsheets, etc. — those are your friends.

Being analytical is a personality trait; however, it’s also a skill you can acquire. To ensure you have what it takes, it’s important to understand how analytics and reporting works and to see if you have the mindset to look out the numbers and determine a plan of action.

A variety of Internet marketing academies and online learning centres offer training in reading and analyzing website analytics. A good place to start would be Google Analytics Academy offered by Google.

Creativity – Over the years, SEO has moved beyond simply keywords, meta tags and titles. Today’s SEO professionals have to have an in-depth knowledge of best marketing practices, brand and call-to-action strategies. Clients will want to know more than just how many people are visiting a website. They want to see conversions, sales and results. There is a fine balance between brand, design and SEO and a top SEO professional will have the instincts to find the winning combination.

You don’t need to be a creative designer to be an SEO professional. But, you should have a good concept of the elements that go into a website, colour, branding, and website best practices from a visual standpoint. Sure, design is subjective. But, if you can clearly articulate key creative elements and objectives, you’ll have the upper hand.

General marketing courses, courses on brand, and learning the basic principles of website design are great skills to have.

Strategic – Google search “SEO strategies” and over 80,000,000 results will come up. Many SEO professionals will follow a strategy laid out by those who have come before. But, a top SEO professional has the instinct and savvy to look at a business, their target market and their goals and can then determine the best approach that is specific to that business.

Can you learn strategy? Experience in working with SEO strategies within a variety of industries for a variety of target markets can help a person have an innate instinct as to what will work and what will not work.

For those that are new to the industry, you can give yourself a head start by learning and reading from top SEO professionals. Discover what has worked for them and what might have failed. Learn from others. And trust sound SEO principles in your decision making until you have the experience to let your instincts guide you.

Communicative – An SEO professional cannot live in the numbers, data, code and content. They have to come up for air and communicate the strategy, tactics and results with their team and often the client. An SEO professional has to speak two, well maybe three, languages. Programming, SEO and Client. Being able to translate the jargon to client-speak effectively is a great skill to have.

A person can learn to be a good communicator. Take English courses or business communication courses to ensure you have the appropriate reading comprehension and writing skills to appropriately understand and communicate. If you’ll have to be communicating orally, you can take a course such as toastmasters which helps you articulate your ideas verbally.

Then practice. As you gain more confidence in your skills and knowledge, you’ll likely find it easier to get your pointacross.

Learner – SEO and the Internet is constantly evolving. Plus SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every industry, every business, every website requires new thoughts and ideas. Those who love to learn will find success in this industry. Staying up-to-date on industry trends, constantly learning about what’s worked and not for others, and staying in the know is not only helpful for an SEO professional, but essential.

How can you do this?  Read. Listen to podcasts (like MOZ’s). Watch youtube training videos. Attend workshops and conferences. Take notes. Find a mentor. The more open you are to learning new ideas as well as the tried-and-true concepts the more successful you will be.

Competitiveness – Having a healthy dose of competitiveness can help an SEO professional. Think about it. Line the top competition up and put them at the starting line of a race. There can only be one winner. It’s a long-game race which means the results can change at many points throughout the course. If you’re constantly thinking about what you can do to get ahead, you will have an edge. Competitive people generally keep one eye on the prize and the other eye on those who are also vying for it. It’s that approach that not only keeps you on track, but propels you forward.

What is SEO and is it a career that’s right for you?Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to affect the online visibility of a website or page in a search engine’s unpaid results.

It’s a fast-paced career that requires a person to be equal parts researcher, treasure-hunter, idea-guy, content creator and planner.

Do you have the skill set?  Can you update a website? Can you read basic HTML code? Can you write? Are you good at coming up with headlines? These skills might get you further than a certificate or degree.

Can you be client-facing? A personable person with good communication skills, who is able to front-face a client can be more important sometimes than practical knowledge. If you can talk big-picture in a way the client understands you might be far more valuable than someone who can only speak jargon.

Certifications? Going out and getting certifications shows that you are keen. Google analytics, adwords, Bruce Clay SEO training, Moz course etc. will demonstrate your ability to learn.

So how do you get started? Ah, there is always that vicious circle of jobs that require experience; however, you need a job to get experience. The great thing about SEO is you can hone your skills on your own. Can you develop a website or blog that targets a specific market with specific keywords? Use that to your benefit. Make it into a case study that shows what you know but can also demonstrate your initiative.

Like with many careers in the tech-industry, seniority doesn’t always count for everything. While experienced professionals have a leg-up, if you can come in, learn from them, have a good idea and put forth the effort and work to make it successful, you can be successful sooner.

In addition, clients and business owners often have unrealistic expectations. You might tell them it will take six months to get results; however they might call you in two weeks asking where all their new business is. A lot of your job will be managing expectations.

There are a lot of misconceptions about SEO in terms of skill, how hard it might be, the time it takes to see results and what needs to be done. You may find yourself managing clients in a way that goes beyond your typical SEO job description. You may find yourself having to clean up after clients or their employees who are ‘trying something’ because they know.

then, you have to manage expectations within your own company and it might involve stepping on toes. Can you properly communicate your required changes and edits to a programmer or web designer without them feeling like they’ve failed? Often,  you’re coming in and out throughout a project with a ‘change this’ or ‘change that’ approach with the best interests of the project in mind. Getting them on board the SEO train, helping them understand that SEO can enhance their quality work rather than replace it is key.

So with the right skills and the right personality, you could be well on your way to a successful SEO career. If you’re willing to stay up on current trends, while relying on tried and true business practices, if you like figuring out how things work, if you like going through stats and uncovering hidden opportunities, if you’re able to recognize the fine balance between SEO requirements and business requirements then yes, SEO is right for you.

Jon Kelly has been involved in digital marketing since 2004. He currently works for 1stOnThelist.com, an award-winning Internet marketing agency based in Vancouver, Canada. When he is not helping people with their website, he enjoys learning about cutting-edge technologies like crypto-currency and artificial intelligence.

 

7 Books Every College Student Should Read for Self Development

March 21st, 2019

BY MIAH ELIAS

 

One needs to acquire as much knowledge as possible to change his or her mind and thoughts. Education is the first and foremost step to initiate that change. Since childhood, we are acquiring knowledge from everything and everyone around us. Our self-improvement starts right there, knowingly or unknowingly. In every sphere of life, we face obstacles. When we get older, our previous struggles might feel simplistic, but the challenges of life are never easy. Self-improvement helps to lead a good and honest life. It helps to overcome the issues and fears in life. Getting ready for the life struggle filled with responsibilities become easy this way, especially for a college student. A college student who is now in that phase of life where he or she has faced a lot of emotional struggles and has a clear about his or her intellect. It is he who is responsible enough to understand the struggle he will face to get his or her dream job and build a career to be economically stable. Self-improvement tips make us an updated version of ourselves each passing day. Other than life experiences, we have inspirational assets in the form of books. These books leave an impact on self-improvement. Let’s have a look at a couple of hand-picked shortlisted books for self-improvement.

 

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

 It is a book on ambition, setting a goal in life, and achieving success. So, relevant for college students who are yet to decide the goal. It explains why setting a goal is necessary and what should be the right steps to reach the goal successfully. The explanation of the indifferent attitude and lack of ambition is so on point. This book will enlighten. It provides tips on good habits and principles. It shows the way to become a good human being and also asks to believe in oneself.

 

  1. The Power Of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

 If we lack something in today’s world, it’s positive thinkers. We tend to raise eyebrows in disbelief if someone utters something positive as if it is next to impossible. So, what will be better than a book on making us believe in the power of positive thinking! This book inspires us to hope and dream big. It tells us to improve our relationships. However, the biggest lesson it gives is how to be kind on ourselves.

 

 

  1. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

 If you want to make a list of the best books 2018 , you must include this one. It’s a book with the right amount of humor and very informative. It forces to judge one’s intellect and ideologies but in an entertaining way. It discusses discipline, freedom, and responsibilities. It breaks the stereotype rules of leading a good life and human nature. It logically questions science and faith. It provides food for thought.

 

 

 

  1. It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

 If you tend to study or work crazily sacrificing your sleep, peace, family, me time, then wait for a second and read this book. If you are a college goer and is ambitious enough to become an entrepreneur even then this book is for you. This book works wonder on over-ambitious people. It teaches us very well that being ambitious is fine, but losing peace over it is not rational. The dream will still be possible achieving without being extremely enthusiastic. It teaches us to take things easy.

 

  1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

 College students and their habits is a world-famous topic. There is hardly any parent in existence, who are not fed up of their child’s wrong habits. This book hits the bull’s eye by highlighting the stubbornness of habits in a positive way. It explains the power of good habits and what positive changes those habits can bring in our lives. It teaches how to transform life and brings self-improvement.

 

  1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

 The biggest obstacle is when others don’t receive us the way we are. It can shake us within. It becomes hard to accept when the behavior which is normal for us is abnormal for most of them. It destroys every drop of confidence we have in ourselves. We fail and feel shame to be ourselves and stop living our life on other’s terms which eventually makes us unhappy for the rest of our lives. This book screams the importance of self-discovery and makes it loud and clear that every individual is unique.

 

 

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 This book is a good option for testing one’s intellect. We often mistook ourselves as rationals, but we always tend to be biased. It is a common problem not only among college students but also for adults. Sometimes the bias is so dense that it makes us blind. It hampers our decision-making ability. After reading this book, you are obliged to judge the whole process of our thinking and how we choose things.

 The more we make peace with the fact that in every stage of our life, each challenge was and will be tough. However, we fought and fought hard and won those challenges. We will continue winning in the future as well. We will see progress in ourselves, and that’s self-improvement at its best. Doing this needs motivation, and the books above might work as that much-needed motivation for you college-goer. These can also be a guide in taking the right steps. Self-improvement is an infinite process, and it is never too late.

Byline: Miah Elias a Pro blogger, specialized in online earning strategies and Guest blogging. He is skilled in creative writing, guest posting and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced. You can check his blog – Guestpostoffer.com

 

 

March 20th, 2019

 

5 Ways to Use Technology for a Successful College Career

March 19th, 2019

BY ANTON LUCANUS

 

College is one of the best times in life to take advantage of the developments of technology. You have the internet at your fingertips and tons of services to help you succeed. Take these tech tips to excel in your academic career:

Google Drive and Google Docs

 Google will make every single college project a million times easier. With Google Drive and Docs, you can work in real time with other people on your team. These platforms are great for writing and editing papers, as well as sharing files with classmates.

Not only are they great for projects, but they will make your study game a million times better.

 Photo, Video and Graphic Editing Software

 These tools are especially important if you are majoring in something creative like design or journalism. Take a look at Adobe creative cloud for the best editing software. Either way, these tools can elevate your editing and creative skills. These tools don’t cost a lot when you look at how much use you will get out of them. They will be tools you can use in jobs and projects down the line in your career as well. These items have been tech trends for years for good reason.

Web Development Platforms

 Are you looking to showcase a portfolio, apply for jobs effectively or make a great class presentation? You should look into sites like Wix or WordPress to build a website template. This is a great way to showcase your ability to pull together information and present it in a digestible, innovative way.

These platforms also will come in handy after college when you are applying to jobs and internships. Being able to add them to your resume will make you stand-out from other post-college candidates.

Amazon is Your Best Friend in College

 

Where else can you get books at the best prices? Amazon is the easiest and most effective way to get the best deals on expensive classroom materials. You really can’t go wrong with the ease and effectiveness of Amazon. Amazon also is a great place to order things you might not have the time to drive or walk to the store and buy. Getting the discounted Amazon Prime for students might be the best decision you have ever made. If you’re looking for additional side income, Amazon is also a great place to sell en masse. You’ll need to learn the art of marketing, sales, and online business – but if done right you can earn some handy income on the side of studies.

 Online Tutors

 Do you struggle with some subjects? Good things there is a pool of online tutors that can work with your schedule and help you online. This is a great way to get help in an easy way that is way less of a time commitment. There are tutors who might have far more expertise than others in your class. You might get better grades than ever with the help of an online tutor. Online tutors will come in handy especially if you are in a specific class that you can’t find tutors for in your geographic location.

These are  technology tips that will drive your college career towards success. Take these tips when looking to initiate success in the online tech space.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals

 

 

 

How to Make College Facilities More Student Friendly

March 18th, 2019

BY SAMANTHA BROWN

 

A practice that’s trending all across the globe is to transform traditional college environments to an all new modernized space.

Modern students seek much more from their higher education set-up than they did before. While degrees and academic participations are important, they are no longer the only goal in their lives. It’s absolutely refreshing to witness new-age students focusing on becoming the next big name in the Silicon Valley, and realizing that an ornamented degree isn’t all it takes to reach there.

Nevertheless, we cannot undermine the value of higher education, nor can we risk bypassing it. But, with changing mindsets and preferences, the model or plan of a higher education curriculum is also changing drastically and how!

What we need are upgraded technologies that can pave way for an interactive learning environment, where students have, besides all resources at their display to augment their learning, all the modern equipment to ensure they don’t face any discomfort while attending classes.

In order to revamp the structure of your University, you need to bear a few things in mind.

Ensure your Classrooms Are Well Protected

What this requires is the use of sturdy blinds, preferably privacy shades, which can be effortlessly installed on the windows of the classroom. This needs to be done to ensure there are no distractions and no scope for heat, cold or dust that can disrupt the learning experience. Examples of good privacy shades are room darkening cellular shades, faux wood blinds, Venetian blinds, wooden shades.

No Distractions for Students

The learner’s focus should not be compromised under any scenario. Instead of letting the teacher or facilitator ensuring students are focusing on the subject under study at all time in the classroom, an environment needs to be created where there are minimum distractions. A student’s attention can waver when the window is open, so it’s essential to have the windows protected through blackout curtains or shades. Install app operated motorized smart blinds that are available in a wide variety of costs, colors and designs.

Students are seeking real world challenges

The line between a student and a professional is getting more and more blurred with time. The primary idea behind an innovative campus is to create a culture which includes the vibes of a professional world. Providing ample opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurial activities is the key. Offer the real world’s most complicated problems to the sharpest minds on campus, and that’s what will keep them coming back.

Break the walls and take it easy

Taking immense inspiration from Steve Job’s innovation Centre in a garage, recent studies have shown that an open, relaxed and flexible environment contributes significantly towards sharpening the thought process and bringing out the most out-of-the-box ideas. A pale and serious classroom environment with geometrically aligned desks and a strategically positioned whiteboard and a stringent time table is gradually going out of fashion and for good. Modern learning spaces should emanate an easy-going vibe and a more informal setting to give the students physical and mental flexibility to express themselves.

Don’t add on to the pile of books but let your libraries be

Anyway when we talk about libraries in today’s times, we refer to a lot more than the syllabus books. A library can include rare manuscripts, journals and vintage literature which is hard to find over the internet. And, of course, we can’t forget the online sources. A library which also has categorized online materials easily available is sure to be a hit. Moreover, all students and even professional to some extent are emotionally connected to libraries, irrespective of what source of knowledge they use. Thus, a well-planned library which strikes a great balance between the traditional and contemporary is a brilliant idea.

Offer beneficial support to students with great ideas

For students with crystal clear goals, a vision or an entrepreneurial idea, suitable backing including finances is a huge asset. A university can play a massive role in offering the same. Organize events and provide platforms that give these young geniuses an opportunity to pitch their ideas before authorities who might be interested and would be happy to collaborate. Connecting current students with successful alumni is a great way of doing this. When students are sorted with the knowledge aspect, colleges can help in providing resources to take the next leap.

Invest on robust cyber security

As it remains the pivotal factor, campuses are going digital in a major way, and that’s how students like it to be. Thus when majority of the infrastructure and functionality lies on digital platforms, you can’t ignore or underestimate the perils of cyber threats. Leading edge cyber security is one of the most fundamental measures or investments for today’s colleges. With such valuable resources and student data uploaded on digital platforms, college networks are always on the hit list of hackers.

Plan your infrastructure like an urban planner

A thriving and successful community lies on 4 pillars – inspiration, resilience, good health and great connections. Thus, when you are thinking about a thriving college campus which is at par with modern standards and expectations you need to build and support these characteristics.  Also, it is important to understand that all the above pillars are connected and dependent on each other in some way or the other. Thus to create a happy and vibrant atmosphere within the campus, this is crucial.

Time and tide waits for none, and it is only wise and obviously logical to move ahead with it. Changing trends are and will always be a debatable topic. But, as universities, you are offering a service, and you need to keep in mind what your potential customers (students in this case) are seeking for their betterment.

 

By-line

Samantha Brown is a freelance writer who specializes on carrier guidance, she is also motivational speaker and author

Despite High Costs Students Believe 4 Year Degree Is Worth Pursuing

March 15th, 2019

BY DELECE SMITH-BARROW

The Hechinger Report conducted a survey in collaboration with the APM Research Lab and APM Reports’ Educate team. To view the full results of the survey, visit APM Research Lab.

With the cost of college steadily rising, and student debt continuing to overwhelm millions of borrowers, it would make sense if young adults questioned the value of a bachelor’s degree. But more than half of them still believe it’s worth the price.

“Cost is all about what you truly think the value of it is,” said Anthony Bernazani, a 34-year old graduate of a community college and a four-year school, George Mason University, both in Virginia. Bernazani, a defense contractor, believes that because of the job opportunities, salary and intellectual gains that can come with a degree, “the value that you get out of it is worth the cost.”

Despite the weight of student loans, borrowing for a bachelor’s degree offers a return on investment that will last a lifetime, higher education experts say.

Chart showing the breakdown of different demographics regarding how they feel about whether college is worth the cost

With a four-year degree, “on average you make two-thirds more than high school graduates do,” said James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit group that works to improve college access and affordability. “You’re only about half as likely to be unemployed. It is worth borrowing money.”

It’s that idea of long-term gain over short-term pain that may be spurring young adults to keep borrowing, even as national student loan balances increased by $15 billion in the last quarter of 2018, according to the Center for Microeconomic Data at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Related: Americans don’t realize state funding for higher ed is falling, new poll finds

“I think people recognize, especially young Americans, that if you don’t go to college, you don’t have a lot of opportunities and avenues available to you,” said Rachel Fishman, deputy director for higher education research at New America, a think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.

And compared to a certificate or an associate degree, on average, “the bachelor’s degree still performs better over someone’s lifetime in terms of return on investment,” she said.

Considering these statistics, she’s surprised more young adults don’t believe a four-year degree is worth the cost.