BY SANJAY SINGH PANWAR
Being a student is the golden period of a person’s life. It is a period of formation and transformation. A person can shape their personality and build their character during this period. It’s also considered the best time to acquire knowledge, strive to learn, and to grow physically, intellectually and spiritually.
The sustainability of a civilization depends on its youth as they are the future as well as the torchbearer of the society. Success in a student’s life should not be restricted to getting a job or making money, but being happy and healthy.
“Success is not the destination, it is the journey itself.” Fits perfect here.
To keep moving ahead in this journey, students need strong mental foundations. These foundations will keep them grounded and calm when things get hard, especially when things like anxiety and depression can start to get in the way of this transformative journey they are embarking on.
Causes of depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental disorders that have a chance of being seen in a person. [Source]
In students, there could be hundreds of reasons for getting diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression but the most common are increased burden of academics, peer pressure, deadlines for assignments, the stress of competitive exams, the fear of missing out and even their relationship status.
An article recently published in Forbes has shown how social media has become a factor in determining people’s mental health, including the likelihood that they are diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders even in people younger than college students, affecting about 10-20% of children and adolescents worldwide. [Source]
How yoga tackles depression and anxiety
Yoga and Meditation have been proved to be an effective non-pharmacological and non-conventional intervention for treating depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders in students.
Knowing what yoga is and performing it’s simple practices could wipe out the symptoms of anxiety and depression among students.
There is a long list of symptoms of anxiety and depression that have seen decreases in students who practice yoga, and to list just a few:
- Reduces Stress Hormones
- Increases the Secretion of Mood Stabilizing Hormone
- Reduces anxiety via relaxation
- Eliminates Restlessness
- Enhances concentration
- Removes negative thoughts
- Reduces overall agitation and irritation
- Enhances decision making abilities
- Reduces Stress Hormones
The “stress” hormone cortisol plays a critical role in the quality of sleep a person gets each night. Disturbed sleep is one of the symptoms of depression and by regulating endocrine functions, yoga helps to reduce the level of stress hormones that get released causing this disturbed sleep.
Due to lack of sleep and increased amount of cortisol, students’ work efficiency is compromised.
In an article published in the Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine in 2018, adolescents were recruited and their hormone levels were assessed. The conclusion was that yoga optimizes the energy levels of endocrine and nervous activity.
- Increases the Secretion of Mood Stabilizing Hormone
People with depression have low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is the mood stabilizing hormone which makes people feel happy.
Regular practice of yoga and meditation increases the secretion of Serotonin and helps students overcome some of these negative mood swings, which aggravate the symptoms of depression.
- Reduces anxiety via relaxation
Yoga increases the heart rate variability (HRV) i.e. the time between heartbeats is changed. This actually increases a person’s relaxation response as opposed to their stress response.
- Eliminates Restlessness
Due to increased work pressure and depressive symptoms,
students often feel restless. Yoga not only channelizes the
energy but also provides calmness.
It is also connected to chakra healing. Each chakra is thought to correspond with a particular nerve plexus and, by focusing on taking care of your chakras, restlessness can be avoided.
- Enhances concentration
Inability to concentrate is a very common complaint among students. If they are not able to focus, they can not perform well which can bring about feelings of self-doubt.
“To be not able to concentrate on is a depressive symptoms”.
Yogic kriyas and pranayamas are very beneficial in enhancing concentration. Trataka helps to develop deep concentration and meditative power of the mind. It calms the mind by removing distractions, and prevents the mind from wandering here and there.
- Removes negative thoughts
“The feeling of guilt and hopelessness is often found in depression.”
Students start losing interest in the activities that they once enjoyed. They start feeling as if they are worthless.
Yoga helps in eliminating the suppressed thoughts, emotions, unfulfilled desires from the subconscious mind. It boosts the determination and can treat depression.
- Reduces overall agitation and irritation
By regulating the endocrine secretions, yoga helps to enhance one’s
mood. Regular practice of meditation followed by yogic kriyas,
pranayama, and asanas provide stability to the mind.
If the mind is at peace, the rate of responding becomes steady. If students follow this consistently, they will learn how and when to respond. Quick responses due to anger would be minimized and irritation would definitely be avoided.
- Enhances decision making abilities
Depression often leads to poor decision making and vice versa
among the students. Making the right choices at the right time often determines their career and future.
Yoga increases concentration and certain kriyas have psychological impact, for example, trataka helps in developing clairvoyance. It polishes the insight and intuitive abilities of the mind. This wisdom results in good decision making.
Byline: Sanjay is a Yoga learner and teacher of yoga in Rishikesh
BY LESLIE WILDER
In today’s world, formal education is very important because it is sort of a benchmark. Formal education also trains you to become a virtuous person. It trains you both intellectually and socially. We all have desires to attain something in life…something great and big for ourselves as well as for our families and a college degree can bring happiness in our lives, the benefits will be discussed below. We all need opportunities in life right? And college education is like a door through which opportunities walk in.
Who doesn’t like a settled life? Stability in life? We all do right?
So know that college education can bring all the stability and overall happiness in life.
If you want to enrich your life with whatever you want then go through the top 10 benefits of college education and college degree mentioned below.
- It is the key to stability in life.
Most people nowadays, go to college with the aim to earn more money. Graduates are more desired than non-graduates as far as employment is concerned. Many people opt for higher education after college such as for a Masters Degree or PhD because higher education ensures higher pay as the employers look for candidates with higher skill sets. Research shows that graduates earn more money than people who have just a high school education. If you want a good job you need to have a college-level education and a college degree at least.
- Beneficial for retirement plans
To all of us, our families are important and college education is also beneficial for you and your family. AT some point in time, you have to think about your retirement benefits too. Jobs that are offered to graduates generally pay more and have all these factors covered i.e. your expenses of medical, travel and retirement investments, etc. And remember these sort of benefits are generally not offered in jobs that you get after completing high school. If you earn more you will be able to settle down fats, have a family, own a house, own a car and indulge in other luxuries of life. Your importance will be more in your family… yes, this sounds pretty ridiculous but this is the truth of life… if you are more educated and earn more people respect you more and this is an undeniable fact.
- Choose from a wide array of career options.
Your future is more secured if you get a good job because the unemployment rate in the case of college graduates is lower than that of non-graduates who just have school level education. If you are thinking of settling down and having a family then you must get a college degree otherwise you might have to face adversities in life later.
You want to have a tension-free life right? Then why not get a college degree and settle for a secure job? Certainty in life is better than uncertainty, isn’t it?
Say you have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, definitely, you’ll get a good job… now, you want to do something more, you can opt for higher education… the more you are educated, the better your job profile will be and greater the security in life. Today people who just have school level education are facing troubles as the employment opportunities are gradually shrinking for them. When you are a college graduate you qualify for a wide range of career opportunities because you have skills and you can work well to meet the needs of your employer.
- Reach and realize your dreams and goals
By opting for college degree you are paying beforehand for the success that you are going to achieve in life in the future. A feeling of fulfillment in life is an amazing feeling truly. When you know that you’ve earned something just by the dint of your hard work and intellect… wow… you know how lovely it feels right? So, your success is in your hands whether you want to utilize or not is your choice but choosing for a better future is something that you should crave for as that will provide you mental peace and rewarding career which are much needed.
- College-level education will help you to make your network and connections stronger
The more you know the more you gain. Knowing more people can be beneficial in case of recommendations… suppose you want a job at a so and so company where your college buddy works, you can ask him to recommend you in case there’s an opening. Next, the more you work with people the more you get to know about different mentalities and mindsets which will help you in the future if you, ever, decide to start your own business. Connections help you to learn a lot and this way your brain develops and you get prepared to face the world. Socializing with others, going to college, taking part in different activities of college is good for your mental as well as physical health.
- If you have college-level education, your marriage might last longer
How? Well, research shows that people with higher education tend to stay strong in marriages and that too for long, unlike people who have school level education and are immature. People with college-level education don’t opt for a contested divorce. As stated earlier, higher education helps in developing the moral virtues which is why people tend to understand the implications of divorce and failed marriages more which is why they try to keep things happy in their relationships.
Leslie Wilder a creative writer & blogger, who is residing in Nashville the capital of U.S. state of Tennessee, I’m also a self-proclaimed happiness junkie, and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced.
BY SAMANTHA BROWN
In today’s world, the role of social media has evolved a lot and it has become instrumental in not only helping a student to learn more about the world but also to get higher education. In this digital era, students can connect to social media easily and can assimilate stuff related to different subjects very fast.
As we know the human mind is more drawn towards visuals than anything available in writing. Social media is fun but various social media platforms can be utilized to ensure a higher and better education for students. Teachers are now connecting with their students increasingly on various social media platforms, which is why social media is becoming a healthy environment where teachers and students can share their thoughts and insights. Tfacilitating an uninterrupted flow of knowledge. Many professors are nowadays resorting to social media because these platforms facilitate free marketing.
Let us now look at some of the major benefits of social media in education and how they can improve the process of learning…
- Communication is the key here – As stated earlier students and teachers can communicate freely on various social media platforms which are helping them to bond well. A student can easily connect with his/her teacher or professor to clarify a doubt on WhatsApp or Facebook messenger. Students can connect with other students to share their thoughts and insights on a particular topic; this way they can take part in healthy collaborations which not only help them to learn better but also help them to develop as a whole. The communication skills also improve a lot which makes social media a highly effective communication tool.
A lot of question answers help a person to gain a lot of knowledge and this happens on social media platforms. Many students have stated that they felt hopeless in class and didn’t understand much about the subject. But their problem was solved when they joined the social media groups where students and teachers discussed various topics at length, about a certain subject and that helped them a lot. Moreover, several applications have made sharing documents easier such as Google Drive, Inbox, etc. Some mentors have taken this connecting part to another level altogether by trying to make things happening on Facebook live. This cool and funky way of teaching students is indeed working in many countries and is yielding positive results!
- A never-ending source of updated information – Many websites and social media platforms are incorporating important information about different important topics that are helpful for students. Students can follow important sites and accounts having essential information so that they can keep themselves updated. Whenever some new information is uploaded they get the notification. There are various question-answer forums as well on various social media platforms where students can get appropriate answers related to their questions. These interactive sessions are very much beneficial for students.
- Allows parental guidance and participation – Parents can take part in the learning process as well and keep an eye on what their children are doing on social media. Moreover, nowadays even schools and colleges have their Twitter and Facebook accounts and pages respectively where latest updates are posted, this way parents get information about different things happening in schools and colleges and can communicate with the educational institutions in a better way. A parent can even see Instagram activity of a school or college to stay updated.
- Higher levels of engagement – The online information available on several social media platforms tend to attract students more. They learn yet don’t get bored. The animations and attractive visuals have the ability to grab the attention of students more. Children tend to interact on social media platforms more which make their reading habits stronger. The concepts of various difficult topics get clarified easily on social media platforms where proper and latest information regarding that topic is available.
- Distance learning opportunities – Nowadays, many schools, colleges and universities have started their distance learning programs which have facilitated underprivileged students to gain an education without having to attend regular classes and training programs. Skype is an amazing social media platform where live lectures are hosted to enable students to learn better. YouTube videos and tutorials are utilized by millions of students worldwide to clarify doubts about a huge range of topics, starting from literature to mathematics to physics to chemistry and what not… Social media is becoming an integral part of our modern education system. To invoke the interest of a student is very important and social media has done that efficiently.
- Helps in research – Social media helps many research scholars. There are several subject and audience monitoring tools from which data can be extracted. This way a researcher understands the views or feelings or perceptions of a group of people regarding a given topic or idea… This data helps in the process of compilation and useful research material is created. Many research students use social media platform to get a vivid idea about a particular subject by analyzing the useful information available online.
Thus we can conclude that social media platforms are not always negative or destructive. If a student is using social media judiciously, nothing like it. Parents too must know the benefits of social media and keep themselves updated to help their children grow and develop into becoming great human beings.
Samantha Brown is a freelance writer who specializes on carrier guidance, she is also motivational speaker and author
BY ANTON LUCANUS
You’ll be able to exercise some level of control over your classes, but you’ll probably face some restrictions to ensure you’re taking your baseline required courses, and are on track to complete the coursework for your major. Between sorting through these requirements and your own personal preferences, you could easily end up with a schedule of classes that’s hard to manage or build a routine around.
For example, you might have early morning classes two days a week, but you might not start until late in the afternoon the other two days, making it hard to develop a consistent routine. Or you might have two classes near each other with an awkward time gap, like two hours, between them.
Learning to manage a chaotic schedule like this is one of the best skills you’ll develop during your college career—and it has the potential to follow you well into the future.
Keeping Track of Your Responsibilities
Your first job should be finding a way to attend classes as consistently as possible. Because you won’t be following the same 8am-3pm class schedule every day of the week, it will be easy to forget which classes you need to attend which days.
There are different systems you could feasibly use to stay organized in this way, but the ideal route is to rely on the best calendar app you can find. Calendar apps will keep everything tightly organized and automated for you; you’ll receive regular notifications when a class is coming up, and you can also plan the rest of your schedule around due dates, exam days, and other major academic events. If you prefer not to use apps for some reason, you could always use a system of sticky notes or a physical planner to keep track of your responsibilities.
Your next priority should be sleep. New college students often willfully sacrifice their sleep schedules so they can handle their academic responsibilities, but also have plenty of time to socialize and entertain themselves. If you have a chaotic schedule, it’s going to be even harder to get the recommended hours of sleep every night. However, even one night of missed or low-quality sleep can have a profound effect on your alertness, cognitive abilities, mood, and even your physical health.
One of the best things you can do for your sleeping habits is keep them consistent. If you have class at 7am one day and 1pm the next day, you might be tempted to wake up at 6am day one, then sleep in until noon the next day. However, it’s better for your body and mind to wake up consistently at 6am, even when you don’t have to. It’s also a good idea to schedule ample hours of sleep; so if you wake up at 6am, count back 7 to 9 hours and set a firm bedtime between 9pm and 11pm.
Making the Most of Your Gap Time
It’s incredibly awkward to have a prolonged period of time between two classes, with not enough time to get back to your dorm. Learning to make the most of this time can help you stay sane and tackle some of your most important responsibilities at the same time. For example, you might be tempted to scroll through one of your favorite social media and buy likes for an hour, decompressing from your first class and preparing for your second, but this may not be the best use of your time.
Instead, you could work on consolidating your notes from the first class, organizing and reviewing your work, or you could start outlining your plans for the final essay. If you feel exceptionally tired or fatigued from the first class, consider finding a good place for a power nap before your next class begins, or find someone to help write your stud notes to free up time.
Working With Your Professors
Inevitably, as you’re managing a staggered and complex class schedule, you’re going to run into obstacles; you may find it difficult to get to class on time because they’re so far apart on campus with minimal time between them, or your scheduling difficulties may make it hard for you to hit certain assignment deadlines.
If this is the case, work proactively with your professors to find a better solution, for example task management software such as Time Clock Wizard. Most professors are understanding, so long as you’re proactive and willing to work hard. Ask them for alternative assignments where it’s appropriate to do so—just don’t take advantage of their flexibility.
Learn from your experiences with a chaotic schedule and apply them to your choices in classes in the future. Did you struggle to succeed with this staggered schedule? If so, try to make accommodations for something smoother and more consistent in the future.
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
BY SHAHINA PARVIN
Now in this age of 21st century, nobody can live a standard life without education. Education is one of the basic needs of human beings. We call this century the age of information. Now if we do not have quality education, we will never be able to keep up the pace with others. This leads us to only one solution, that is to be educated.
Everyone has a dream to study in foreign countries. Every student tries to find the best school, college or university for them which is the most suitable one as per his/her passion. Today we will be talking about the college education in the United States of America. To be more specific, we will be trying to figure out why we should choose USA as our destination, what requirements we should fulfill, what things we should have and others related to this.
Why to Choose USA?
Today USA is ranked 2nd in the World Education Ranking. And in terms of international students, 30% of them want to join an institution in USA to acquire education which makes USA globally the first choice for education. Now have you wondered why do all these students choose USA at the very first attempt? There must be a reason, right? Actually there are a few.
The academic excellence in USA is beyond description. USA has the finest education system of all with various fields available for everyone to study. There are every possible subjects, departments and fields to study on. Along with that, there are lots of ways opened for students to be parts of co curricular activities which make them not only a good student, but also a skilled, multi-tasking, versatile and global citizen. Also USA is currently the leader of the world in terms of using technology and scientific techniques. This makes the students to understand things more easily as they get chance to use techs while studying. This also allows them to get involved into more research opportunities and much more. So, USA is for sure, a great choice.
What Requirements Should a Student Fulfill?
As you are coming from a foreign country to study here in USA, you have to fulfill a few requirements.
- Complete application form: Students often underestimate the time given for admission and thus waste their time. So, you have to have a plan for applying in the college you want to get admitted to. At first you have to get check the admission timeline. Before choosing a college to apply for, you have to study about the education system because it varies from college to college. And another must thing, you have to show your secondary school completion certificate while completing the application form. You can do all these things online kn the specific website.
- Complete standardized test: As you are coming from a foreign country, you have to show your certification of having skill in English as your 2nd You have to attend standardized tests like TOEFL, GRE, SAT, IELTS, ACT, MCAT, LSAT etc. You have to get good marks in these tests to get admission to a get college.
- Show your evidence of financial support: If you come to USA for studying, you have to show the evidence that you are financially stable. It has to be shown because if your welfare so that if you fall in any danger, you can get out of that.
What to do After Coming to USA?
Now that you have reached your dream destination, you have to do a few things so that you can stay there in peace and without any problem.
- Once you are in USA, you need to find a house to stay in. You need to keep in mind a fee things before getting an apartment. As you are going there to study, you have to make sure you get an apartment near your college.
- It would be nice if you get a car or hire. There are lots of reputed car dealers in every state and district. Cars will help you for transportation.
- As you are living in a foreign country, always keep the important papers carefully. For example: your passport, visa, ID card, admission paper etc. With you.
Overall if you maintain all these you will surely get chance to study in renowned colleges of the United States of America. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your visa and come to USA!
Author name – Shahina Parvin
3 Steps for Students Filing Tax Returns
Students’ spending on education is a great sum of money, which is not always affordable for every student. In this regard, each student has the opportunity to apply for a tax refund that was withheld from each student payment. The process of Filing for Tax Returns is not very complicated, but it requires special organization, attentiveness, and some patience.
Step 1 – Think Ahead
It is important to remember that in order to collect the entire list of documents, you may need a lot of time. Registration of each form and application is usually carried out in several stages, and the validity of certificates is often quite limited. Therefore, in order to avoid confusion, it is best to compile a list of necessary documents and check the time of their action.
Step 2 – Collect Tax Invoices
Tax invoices are a confirmation of your expenses and/or outside incomes in order to confirm the fact of payment of taxes, as well as obtain permission to return them. Students often have the option to download all the invoices from the college website. If you do not know if there is such an opportunity in your college, then it is best to contact the administration and find out the procedure for obtaining these documents.
Students have the right to apply for a refund of a certain amount that was spent during the studying year for using a public vehicle (buses, metro, trams, and/or intercity train) in order to get to the college. For applying for a tax refund the student has to attach used tickets, which are usually bought each month in advance.
Students can also apply for tax refunds on funds that were spent on acquiring a studying staff, such as textbooks. For applying for a tax refund on the used stuff the student has to get a T2202A receipt from the college and attach it to the general list of documents for tax refunds.
Step 3 – Preparation Of Documents
To apply for a tax refund, the student has to provide invoices not only for paid taxes but also a number of documents that confirm his or her identity and income.
The basic list of documents that you will need:
- Personal SSN, as well as the SSN of the spouse, if you are married.
- W-2 form. It indicates the total amount of earnings for the past year, as well as the amount of taxes. (This form is necessary for students who have a job, as well as for those who receive a scholarship).
- T4 receipt, which is issued to students who have worked throughout the study period
- Inquiries that confirm your studying costs (T2202A certificate that is issued at the end of college).
- List of paid state and local taxes.
A complete list of required forms and documents can be found on the official website of the tax service in your area. Do not use forums for this, they may contain outdated or incorrect information.
Remember that it is important to know your rights and obligations, be responsible for paying taxes, and use all the opportunities that the state provides for your damages.
BIO: Connie Benton is a passionate freelance writer and regular contributor.
BY KRISTIAN KRISYK
Discovery learning has been a buzz term for a while now, and for a good reason. Incorporating discovery learning in your classroom enables your students to ask critical questions, conduct their own research, improve their problem-solving skills, and form their own conclusions.
By stepping away from the traditional learning methods, students are given the possibility to think outside the box. Learning becomes a dynamic and never-ending process of expanding students’ existing knowledge by discovering new information and exploring different objects. This leads to enhanced and profound interaction with the world around them and remembering concepts on their own.
Incorporating Discovery Learning
The great thing about discovery learning is that it can be used in almost any class. As it consists of numerous methods, it can be applied whenever there is a need for it. In fact, an entire subject can be taught through discovery learning. So far, it’s been praised by both sides, professors and students, and with an endless list of benefits, it’s only expected to be more popular in the future.
Luckily, incorporating discovery learning doesn’t require too much work, paperwork or time. It’s a very flexible idea which only has one goal to achieve: create more interactive classrooms. This approach prepared these young people for a job market once they graduate, from acquiring skills which are in high demand today to learning how to write successful, well-structured resume examples.
The result of discovery learning is that students will easier remember concepts and knowledge which they discovered on their own. Several models are actually based upon discovery learning:
- guided discovery,
- problem-based learning,
- simulation-based learning,
- case-based learning,
- incidental learning,
- others, …
Discovery Learning Methods
As mentioned above, there are really numerous different methods teachers and professors can use in their classrooms. As one of them never excludes the other ones, the best results are usually achieved when these methods are combined allowing students to reveal their new talents and skills, not to mention their most efficient way of learning new things.
Here are some of the commonly used discovery learning methods:
- Interviews: Encouraging students to talk to people with greater knowledge on a certain topic can tremendously enhance the learning process.
- Individual research: Giving students one topic they need to explore on their own by using technology, books, and other material that could provide a greater understanding of the given topic.
- Data-based projects: Giving students a topic which should lead to research and gathering information about it. The more the topic is explored, the more will students learn about it along the way.
- Video presentations: When learning about a new topic, students can create video presentations about a certain issue within the topic to practice their creative thinking and learn how to express themselves in various ways.
All these methods mentioned above are based on the five principles of discovery learning. First one is problem-solving where learners are motivated to seek solutions. The second is learner management, where learners are discovering studying methods according to their preferences. The third principle is related to integrating and connecting where learners are encouraged to apply that knowledge in the real world. Fourth is information analysis and interpretation, followed by the fifth principle, which focused on failure and feedback. In other words, these principles follow a specific process which motivates learners to make the most of studying.
Benefits of Incorporating Discovery Learning
Incorporating discovery learning leads to the constant improvement of knowledge and skills. For instance, creating a video presentation on most important inventions of the 17th century can teach you what people around you think about that era, which tools you need to create a good video presentation and, finally, you’ll understand better that part of the history.
With discovery learning, students are learning so much more than just the topic given by their teachers and professors. Compared to the conventional way of learning, this is a more holistic and engaging way of acquiring information because it’s based on understanding, not just learning.
There are numerous benefits students will notice while applying discovery learning. Some of them are:
- Increases active engagement
- Promotes motivation to learn and make the most of their knowledge
- Promotes responsibilities, autonomy and independence
- Develops creativity and problem-solving approach
- Tailor learning experiences
BY LINE–Kristian Krisyk had been working in the field of web design for 7 years before becoming an entrepreneur in 2014 in design and marketing. His professional interests and hobbies defined major topics of his articles. These days Kristian runs his business and looks for new development opportunities. Follow him @KristianKrisyk or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN
When you are a student in college, trying to navigate your way through the chaotic and exciting experience that is higher education, it is fair to say that it is considerably easy to fall into a pattern of focusing solely on your assessment due dates. After all, the whole point of higher education is to learn and expand your horizons academically and intellectually. But the students who tend to get the furthest are those who are willing and able to work with a decidedly different mindset, always going out of their way to create new ideas and bring new visions to life from their own creative inventory. These students are the ones that get the furthest ahead because they are the individuals who want it the most. That is literally the only difference between the leaders and the general success stories – consistent effort and hard work across the board. Being in college is already a challenging experience, but if you are bold enough to leap outside your comfort zone and work a little harder in your down time, it is almost sure to pay off. But how do you go about doing that in an already chaotic time?
Many people associate the professional social media platform LinkedIn with being a prime networking tool for people who are making waves in their chosen career fields. Of course, this is absolutely correct, but LinkedIn can be and should be a tool that individuals know about during their college years. Why? Because the sooner that one starts building a reputation for themselves in their industry (even if it is just online), the sooner they can gain valuable industry insights and networking connections that can help to propel their career forward even more. There is something appealing about an individual who not only knows what they want out of their career, but who is willing and able to fit to ensure that they not only get it, but that they get there on their own terms and on the tail of their own personal creativity and hard work. And that is where LinkedIn comes in to bridge the gaps and help you to establish a strong presence in your industry, ahead of the competition.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, and that truth comes the inevitable reality that this is arguably the single largest and most convenient way to not only look for jobs, but to present yourself in a professional platform, with your best foot forward. During your college years, you might not be thinking about expanding your focus beyond the compulsory workload (and who could blame you, after all it is a massive workload, right?). But at the end of the day, the best way to get ahead and stay ahead, is to always be hustling – and yes, that means when you have down time, too (arguably especially when you have down time). The best way to proactively use LinkedIn to your advantage during college is to always be using some of your spare time outside of classes to be working on your own projects. Have you ever noticed how entry level jobs seem to require some prior experience, despite being “entry level”? While it might seem confusing and even frustrating, this is why it counts so much.
College students who are willing and able to work on their own ideas and practice expanding and fine-tuning their skills and talents in their own time, are more well-rounded, and their experience and willingness to drive their own motivation and progression, ultimately becomes key points in their experience, that are racked up before they have even graduated. And by adding all these self-driven points of industry or personal experience to their LinkedIn pages, they are essentially creating a backlog of all their progression that makes it easy for potential employers to look at their virtual CV with convenience and efficiency. This is where it makes all the difference in the world. LinkedIn profiles will say a lot about how motivated and driven you are to succeed not only when someone is telling you to and paying you for your work, but when you are determined and passionate to make it happen, without any direction from anywhere outside of yourself. Think of your use of LinkedIn as a more industry-specific iteration of the process of going to buy Instagram likes for a personal Instagram profile – the more you add to it, the more people will look at you.
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 email@example.com.
Colleges and States Turn Their Attention to Slow-Moving Part-Time Students
Colleges and states are realizing that they won’t meet their enrollment targets or improve the proportion of their residents with higher educations if they don’t pay more attention to this part of the student population. (Hechinger Report)
Excerpt From Hechinger Report
Fewer than one in five students who enroll part time from the start at a four-year college have earned a degree eight years later, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Part-timers at community college fare even worse.
The reasons these students take so long to finish college, or drop out altogether, often come down to two factors: money and scheduling. Many, like Dzindzichashvili, interrupt their studies because of the cost. Others find it nearly impossible to fit courses around work and childcare.
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Part-time classmates who worked during the day, as she did, Dzindzichashvili said, constantly worried about whether courses would be available at night.
“Students like us were not the focus of the program,” she said. “A lot of us felt invisible.”
That’s starting to change as federal forecasts show part-time enrollment outpacing full-time enrollment through at least 2027 and other new figures shed light on how long it takes for part-time students to graduate. Colleges and states are realizing that they won’t meet their enrollment targets or improve the proportion of their residents with higher educations if they don’t pay more attention to this part of the student population.
More institutions are scheduling courses at the times when part-time students need them, rather than when it’s convenient for faculty. They’re extending support programs to part-time students that have been proven to improve results among full-time ones. Some states are opening up financial aid programs to part-time students who haven’t previously been eligible for them.
But on many college campuses in many states, part-time students remain an afterthought, even though part-timers now make up more than a quarter of students at four-year colleges, and close to two-thirds at community colleges. Many of the growing number of “free college” plans exclude part-time students, either to control costs or to encourage full-time enrollment.
In fact, administrators often encourage part-time students to “take their time,” said Davis Jenkins, senior research scholar at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. That, he said, “turns out to be very bad advice.” (The Hechinger Report is an independent unit of Teachers College.)
Related: Universities that are recruiting older students often leave them floundering
The longer students stay in school, the more likely they will face a family or financial crisis that will derail their ambitions, said Marcella Bombardieri, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress who wrote a report on part-timers.
Going slow means “there’s just more time for things to go wrong,” Bombardieri said.
Among other interventions, many colleges are getting behind a national campaign to simply persuade more part-time students to convert to full time.
That’s because attending college full time saves money, increases the odds of graduating, and lets students realize the financial benefits of their degrees sooner.
BY JORI HAMILTON
Going to college is a big undertaking, but a college degree can open up doors in your career and qualify you for higher-paying positions than you’d find without a degree. When you’re a parent, balancing college, work, and parenting gets a little more complicated, but there are still plenty of parents who decide to go back to school and make college and parenthood work.
When you go to college, you’ll be investing in a better future for you and your family. You may need to take a little longer to complete your degree and will certainly face some challenges along the way, but your goal of earning your college degree as a parent is completely achievable with a little determination and planning.
Why Parents are Going Back to School
If you’re uncertain of whether or not you should go back to school, know that you’re not alone, since many moms are also facing the decision of whether to go to college. As a parent, you may feel guilty for taking time away from your children, and the cost of college may seem overwhelming when you need to pay your family’s bills and cover expenses like diapers and daycare.
But going back to college offers valuable rewards, especially to single mothers. Over the course of a lifetime, a woman who has a bachelor’s degree will earn approximately $630,000 more than one who only has a high school diploma. Pursuing a graduate degree increases those average lifetime earnings, meaning a graduate degree will earn a woman about $1.1 million more than if she was just a high school graduate with no higher education.
Going back to school has other valuable benefits, too. You can inspire your child to also go to college when they’re ready. Your degree can help you qualify for better jobs that have scheduling flexibility, allowing you to spend time with your family. These better jobs also frequently offer better benefits, which means your whole family can have health insurance and enjoy better healthcare than you’d otherwise be able to provide.
Balancing Home, Work, and School
One of the major hesitations that many moms feel about going back to college is adding a school schedule and subsequent homework to an already busy life. With stagnant wages and the skyrocketing cost of living, married and single moms alike are needing to work to make ends meet. Indeed, low wages might be what has sparked your interest in going back to school.
While it might feel intimidating, you can absolutely make going back to school work with your job and home schedules. With online schooling options abound these days, you can make school work around your schedule and do it at your pace. You can take as many or as few classes as you feel comfortable doing, which will not only make it easier to fit into your schedule needs but will allow you to work with your budget.
Affording college will require some budgeting and planning. Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will determine any loans and grants you may be eligible for. You should also schedule an appointment with a financial aid advisor at your college to make sure that all of your financial aid applications are complete. An advisor can help you to identify any other scholarships or financial aid that you may be eligible for, since some schools and even departments within schools offer their own scholarships for students.
Next, establish a household budget so that you can prepare for college and identify just how much money you can spend each month. Start by tracking all of your income as well as your expenses and spending for a couple of months to identify areas where you might be over-spending, like going out to eat frequently. With all of these numbers recorded, you can identify areas where you should reduce your spending so that you have more money left over at the end of each month. You can use this money toward your college expenses, like buying textbooks or paying for any extra childcare you’ll need while in class.
Since you’ll likely be living at home while in college, pay particular attention to the expenses you’ll face in commuting back and forth to campus. Be sure to account for the costs of taking public transportation, or of maintaining a car. You may choose to sell a large, gas-guzzling vehicle for a smaller one that gets better gas mileage. Since you’ll be doing lots of commuting, it’s important to try to minimize your transportation costs.
Maintaining Your Health
During college, you’ll also need to prioritize your health so that you can attend your classes while also caring for your family. It may be tempting to skip meals or eat fast food on the go because of your busy schedule, but prioritize your nutrition and make time for healthy meals, even if that means bringing food to school with you and eating in between classes.
If you’re pregnant, first-trimester tummy troubles can make it difficult to get to class, but there are a few tricks you can use to soothe your upset stomach. Nausea is often worse on an empty stomach, so bring snacks to class with you to keep food in your stomach. Ginger and peppermint can help to relieve nausea, and increasing your intake of magnesium and vitamin B6 can also help. Even receiving acupuncture treatments can help to get you feeling better again.
Staying in Touch
When you start college, it may be time to reevaluate your current cell phone data plan so that you can stay in touch with your family and your employer without running up your bill. Find a plan that works best for your increased communication needs, and consider using apps for group text messaging, like Tango and WeChat. With these apps, you can text your significant other and your childcare provider, reach out to your classmates as you work together on a group project, and more.
When you’re balancing family life, college, and even a job, you’ll need to do a little juggling, but you can absolutely pursue and earn a college degree as a parent. It may be stressful and busy, but remember that it isn’t forever, and you’re doing this to give your entire family a better future. Once you have that degree in your hands, you’ll find that all of your hard work was well worth it.
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