Student Escape

Landis Green

College, the time when students dive headfirst into student loans, wild parties, and late night cramming. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am was one of those students who always tried to do everything else but school. Weekends were my days off from school, and so were weekdays. I found that it was important to escape not only the campus life, but the city life in order to deal with the stress of school.

I tried doing all the things students usually do: Party, Tailgate football games, etc…  I fit perfectly into the role of a Nole, at Florida State University. I will admit that on occasion I ended up enjoying the fictitious rivalry between schools and the sport games, but soon enough that gets old and repetitive. So I found myself a more enjoyable hobby exploring places.

Location Location location, doesn’t matter:

My experience in College was great from a artificial point of view: I got excellent grades and I made good friends. But from a realistic point of view I was desperate to get as far away from it as possible. Exploring any other location far from my classes had soon become my hobby in between classes.

FSU Reservation

FSU Reservation

I initially explored only on campus. I started in what seemed to me at the time the center of the school, Landis Green. I almost immediately started heading uphill in an effort to spot from up top good locations, so I went up to the parking lot. I marked locations in every direction on my handy dandy campus map, and set out exploring. Off the bat the campus was very monotonous. Every building looked the same, and half of the people I ran into were obnoxious Jersey Shore types that made the act of enjoying a scenery feel like I was sitting on the couch watching E Television.  I was actively walking back and forth looking at different things, and that in itself was what was relaxing. Soon enough I found out that it doesn’t really matter where you go, as long as you go somewhere that is different.

My favorite locations included but weren’t limited to:

  • Parks
  • Housing Complexes
  • Downtown
  • Random Hallways
  • Rooftops

EXPLORE EXPLORE EXPLORE.

Francis Wayles Eppes

Francis Wayles Eppes

Always keep your mind open to exploration. For me, Tallahassee is a beautiful place with a lot of hidden gems. There is the FSU Re(z)servation for kayaking and rockwall climbing, and Apalachicola National Forest is right around the corner if you like hikes. You can get more information about the reservation by visiting FSU’s campusrec website, which also gives you more information on recreational activities around town. The key to this is to keep your mind moving by exposing yourself to new things. Some people like exploring new restaurants, new clothes, new shoes. I like new places.

The goal is to always keep yourself focusing on other things not related to whatever is causing stress in College. Now find something you like, and go out and explore! That is my student escape, what is yours? Leave comments below and share what works for you in relieving stress.

To quiz or not to quiz

Have you ever found yourself hours away from an important event which required you to memorize lines or facts? As a college student and business owner, I have very little time to study, and ended up relying on a great service called Quizlet.

“The world learns on Quizlet.” Or so their page says. Quizlet is essentially a service which allows users to create a list of terms and definitions, which when coupled with their online learning tools, makes learning anything a cinch. Did I mention that its free?

Quick Guide

1. First off we start by viewing a sample Flashcard. (you can follow the link here)

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The flashcard is in the center and has buttons to the left and right to control it.

  • Tools below the flash card allows you to study in different ways such as:
    • take a quiz generated on your flash cards
    • Play games such as matching words to definition as fast as you can
    • Spell out terms based on the definition
  • This page also features a chat on the lower lefthand corner, which allows anyone to openly discuss the content.
  • The Flashcard itself has a certain degree of customization:
    • Full Screen
    • Shuffle Order
    • Audio readout of the Term & Definition
    • Show Term first or Both sides at once
  • If you prefer to print out your flash cards or add the terms you like to your own, Quizlet offers you a few tools for that:
    • Print
    • Export
    • Copy
    • Combine
    • Embed

2. Now lets create our own Flashcard. On the upper left-hand corner, click Create.

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If you are logged in, the screen will look pretty much the same as below, with the exception that the extra steps to create an account wouldn’t be there.

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  1. At first it is self explanatory, you fill in the Title, Description and even choose a subject if you so wish.
  2. Now as we proceed to add our terms and definitions, we come across a pretty unique feature within the world of online flashcards. Language. This gives us more formatting feature when typing.
  3. After you read the end of the fifth term & definition, you have two options: Either click ‘Add Row’, or press TAB on the last input box and it will do one for you and focus on the Term so you can keep on typing.
    • One option to note, is the search and add images. Searching through their images and selecting one is free, but uploading your own requires you to upgrade your account to a paid version. (well worth it I might add if you are a visual learner)
  • Here is a screenshot of what mine looks like:

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Go ahead and Click Create Set. This will guide you through the Account creation and in a matter of seconds you will see your Flashcard. Pretty nifty isn’t it?

5That is it!  You can quiz yourself, share it with others, and even edit the terms. Two of my favorite features in this page is the ability to double click the term below the flash card and do a live edit, and the live audio playback (read your term aloud).

Give it a try, and post any questions to the comments ! Hopefully more people can take advantage of this great simple tool of learning.

A multimedia way of learning

Learning Ever have a difficult time learning something? A lot of students suffer every day from the “One size fits all” model used by most educational institutions in North America. Teaching is a lot more complex than people think and educators can fall into the trap where they assume students aren’t learning because they are doing something wrong. The truth is that everyone learns differently, especially in our day and age. The traditional classroom model might as well be broken, especially in a society that is becoming increasingly interconnected by electronic means, yet we are forced to attend a physical classroom with examinations to ‘measure performance.’ Children are growing up surrounded by electronics with on the spot gratification of information whenever they want. So its easy to see how sitting in a classroom for 6-8 hours a day listening to someone lecture can be counter productive. The alternative? Online resources, more specifically, video lessons.

I grew up doing horrible in all my classes. Ever since kindergarten, you would often find me in remedial math or English classes. I was told I had a learning disorder, and for a short while I beginning to believe it myself. What a lot of young students face, is the inability to learn the way that the material is presented.struggling

I started programming when I was 10. At first with some basic HTML, and afterwards I progressed to other languages.  I would download instructional programming videos in a horrible 320×240 resolution, and mimic what the instructor was doing. I would re-watch the video again, only this time I tried to understand the conceptual aspect.  At the age of 16, I had dabbled in more programming languages than I can remember, yet I was failing my basic algebra classes. I came to the realization that at the rate things were going, I had to be a self learner if I wanted to do well on school exams. When college came around, I decided that it was time for me to pause programming and test my learning skills. First semester was an adaptation period, I had 8 am classes, and a horrible 2 month cold so my grades were mostly B-.

The following semesters, I started studying for my classes the way I studied programming. I would scour YouTube for instructional videos on accounting and biology, and learn from them. Suddenly I was getting straight As and I didn’t even have to go to class. What did I learn? That the way classes are structured doesn’t take into account a students perspective of learning, and instead focuses on a standard one size fits all model, which does not work for me. I am naturally curious, so when I do go to class, I end up questioning the material that is being presented, and ultimately not learning things that I will be tested on. I want to know why A = B, not just that it does. Of course there are time constraints to go fully in-depth in a subject, which is why I find online video lessons the best. You can learn in your own time, on the bus, in bed, and even in the shower.

Alternative methods of teaching are being adopted by big educational institutions, and some are even offering degrees for an online education. MIT offers free online courses, which in comparison to the programming classes that I took at a four year University, offers a lot more in both content, assignments, feedback, and flexibility.

I would like to focus on the multimedia side of online learning, more specifically videos. Video learning has a lot of advantages on top of a traditional classroom setting:

  • Can be free
  • Choice of instructor
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Follow along with the ability to pause and skip sections.

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There are free and paid services, including Khan Academy which makes use of Youtube, and Lynda.
Khan Academy has more than 3,000 Youtube videos, allowing you to “learn almost everything, for free.” Some colleges have explored recording the lecture and putting it online for students to review, or for those who couldn’t come to class. I have had a few classes that took advantage of this, and my experience was fantastic.

Walter Lewin, a famous MIT professor has become a YouTube sensation with his wacky, but very entertaining teaching method. Check out the video and judge for yourself. By searching Walter Lewin on YouTube, you can view his full physics lessons.

https://www.khanacademy.org offers thousands of video lectures.

Here is a list of popular Youtube educational channels:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MIT

http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy

http://www.youtube.com/user/tecmath

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBadAstronomer

http://www.youtube.com/user/ResearchChannel

30 Things Every High School Student should know before going to College

oie_transparentBeing a Senior in College, there are things I wish I knew before I had even clicked the dreadful submit button on the application.  There are decisions that I would like to have made during freshmen year and foreknowledge that would have helped any student to better prepare for the days after graduation. So I compiled a list of 30 things a student should know before leaving mom and dad for College. Items in bold are the ones I found to be the most important.

  1. Start putting some cash away in a emergency fund for rainy days.
  2. Learn to Cook nutritious meals that do NOT consist of pasta.
  3. Form an exercise plan and get into a routine.
  4. Learn to wash clothes!
  5. Learn some basic car maintenance such as checking tire pressure and oil level.
  6. Go to a school that YOU want to go to, not your parents, or your friends.
  7. Student Loans: STAY AWAY IF POSSIBLE. If you can’t afford college, try to fill out scholarship applications, financial aid, and perhaps even get a part time job. It’s easier to pay for your education as you g,o rather than paying off a $40,000+ bill accruing interest.
  8. If you can, choose your roommates VERY CAREFULLY! Living with someone that are incompatible with your personality/habits might not seem like a problem at first, but it can ruin friendships/relationships, and cause a lot of stress.
  9. Always carry some cash. I always try to keep $10-$20 dollars with me at all times. It can really come in handy if you need to grab a cab at 2am or get some quick grub from mike in the hotdog stand.
  10. Pepper spray. You don’t have to be a girl to carry some spray. Most college campuses allow Pepper spray to be carried for self-defense. There are a lot of creepers that roam campus specifically because they know young students are more oblivious to their surroundings around campus  coupled with the fact that campus P.D. isn’t always around. A simple “I have Pepper Spray and will use it. Stay away from me.” is enough to deter most would-be assailants.
  11. Befriend your professors during office hours. College professors typically devote more time to being around school grounds than your High School pre-calculus teacher.  If you have any difficulty, they will usually spend hours with you to help you get through the course.
  12. Join a club as a freshman. In doing so, you get exposed to new people that can teach you the ropes and make some friends.
  13. Live on Campus if possible. It will be cheaper than paying rent + utilities elsewhere and you are constantly around other students.
  14. Pick a hobby not related to school. Sometimes you will want to get as far away as possible from school, so it helps to have some disassociation between the things you enjoy and school.
  15. You are human, so give yourself a brake once in a while. Go to the beach, golfing, etc..
  16. Choose your major based on what you want to do rather than the expectations of your peers.
  17. Simultaneously do an internship or community service based around what you want to do. This will open up doors when you graduate and will also help meet some cool people who share the same interests as you.
  18. Call mom and dad at least once a week.  They raised you for 18 years, the least you can do is give them some comfort in knowing you are alive. Plus, mom may send you a fully cooked lasagna once in a while.
  19. Be responsible with alcohol. Peer pressure drives a large amount underage teenagers to consume unnecessary amounts of alcohol to fit in. This in consequence promotes rash decisions such as driving under the influence.149362_Party[1]
  20. You are a child with little to no experience about life, and need to recognize this. You have no tolerance for alcohol, and you have no experience to assess the consequences resulting from your actions. So take it easy.
  21. Learn to manage your money, because the world is full of schemes to take it away from you.
  22. School may or may not be your thing, but it is important to maintain an attitude of being a life long learner.
  23. Do NOT get a pet (a fish is OK) . The idea may seem cool at first, but quickly you realize that you will be neglecting your pet due to your studying and social habits.
  24. Travel as much as possible. Unless you expect to end up working for a big international corporation that requires constant travel, you will find your self strapped for time to travel to new places.
  25. Related to the previous point, learn a new language. Most Colleges have study abroad programs with scholarships that cover your tuition costs and more.
  26. Be sure that going to College is something you want to do in the first place. It’s at least 2-3 years of your life that does not guarantee you will get a job.  Some companies such as Google, value your experience a lot more than the paper you hang on your wall.
  27. There is nothing wrong with going to Community College for a year or two.
  28. Avoid Technical schools like the plague. Technical schools sound good in the TV commercial which usually shows a student with a 25-30 thousand dollar car in the background, but the truth is that credit hours are usually non-transferable to accredited Universities, and they may actually cost thousands MORE in a place like ITTTech.
  29. Free Food everywhere!!! If you are tight on a budget, keep an eye out for school events as they will usually be accompanied by free Subs,Pizza and etc..
  30. Enjoy your experience to the fullest. This is a point in your life where you have a kind of freedom that is associated with “youth.” You have all your life to go to bars and hang with friends, so why not go hiking, skydiving, or even mountain climbing while your limbs still work without needing Advil twice a day!

“Youth is wasted on the young.” George Bernard Shaw

Education is more than just a degree, learning is more than an action, it is a state of mind. Remember to always be open to new things and to not take things at face value.

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If you enjoyed our list of tips, follow us on twitter for more.
Have any tips we didn’t cover that could be useful for new students? leave us a comment down below.

What’s lacking from today’s new hires

Business ManThe job market is getting saturated every day with new hires while the number of undergraduates is through the roof. This increase in undergrads in the job market does not always correlate with an increase in the general skill level, but it does increase the amount of competition.

Just like in business, increased competition requires an increased competitive advantage to survive, and new employees have been reported to be lacking certain basic skills that could put them ahead of the curve.

Presentation

The majority of new hires are found to be lacking presentation skills. Colleges do not usually require more than one presentation classes, and students who do not have work experience are usually trying to complete miscellaneous requirements that do little to improve these skills. The problem with the presentation is the ability to research and convey useful information. A tip for students, do an internship or two during; Internships usually have the intern go through a process of researching and presenting data that will that needed advantage.

Communication

Hand in hand with presentation, future hires are strongly lacking communication skills. From the first interview to the day to day job environment, the basic ability to effectively communicate is essential for the employees and companies success. Companies depend on the daily interaction and exchange of information to thrive, and when a future hire shows up for the interview, first impressions can be everything.

1. Maintain eye contact  – 93% of the emotional meaning of our messages is communicated through nonverbal channels, so maintaining proper eye contact and not staring can show confidence.

2. Effective business communication requires an understanding of the proper channels.

Growth

Companies take into account the new hires ability to grow and adapt. Company culture is important day to day operations. Although it is not required to be molded into the culture, the ability to work side by side and adapt is a must for any new employee.

“Many companies hire based on the candidates ability to grow. Employers undergo rigorous interviews and know that the new hire that will be joining the company has the basic skills to complete his/her role. Additionally employers understand that the new hire will continue to develop new skills as they develop in their career.” Kellogg’s

Presentation, communication, and growth are just three skills that recruiters generally agree is lacking from job seekers. There are a lot of things you can do to stand out, and you can start with a resume. A great resume can be the difference when job seekers have hundreds of equally qualified applicants.

For more help, Universities and Community Colleges usually have one-on-one resources for resume building. So if you don’t already have a resume, or just need someone to review it, give that a try. Additionally you can check these links for tips on building your resume:

A student in their finals years of school should be preparing for the challenges ahead. A good internship goes a long way for improving communication and presentation skills. If possible, students should take as many electives as they can which involve practicing conveying information by means of presentations. Keeping an open mind to company culture is also a must as working for a company with no identifiable traits to the employee may lead to poor work experience.

Chosing a major and highest paid careers

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A big question often seen with Freshmen and Sophomores at the University level, is which major to chose.

In today’s economy, picking the right major is important for a healthy living both emotionally and financially. Students struggle with this important decision as our society pushes them to chose quickly and before any experience is acquired.  Today we’re going to focus on the financial aspect of the careers of tomorrow.

Top Paying Jobs

Surgeons – $219,770

Chief Executives – $167,280

Lawyers – $129,020

Computer & Information Systems Managers – $120,640

College Professors – $109,150

Most of the Top paying jobs reside in the medical field, and if that is a path you chose, that is great! Although medical school is no walk in the park, the financial rewards start as low as $39,000 during residency, but will quickly escalate past $80,000 with experience and certifications.

If you have your heart set in a field other than medicine and you worry about making ends meet, don’t worry! There are several well paying jobs that don’t require 8+ years of school to start making money. If you are tech savvy you can follow an IT path or web administrator and start out at $50,000.

The problem many students face is misinformation and pressure. Before even graduating High School, the expectations are raised for students by their parents, friends, and society.  Some families who are not native to the United States and unable to find jobs due to the language barriers rely on their children after graduation. In other cases, roughly 34% of teen students before the age of 20 get pregnant early on and end up having to support a family before getting an early chance at education.

In the end, choosing a major should be something that makes you feel good,  but also one that can be financially sustainable. Regardless of the major, having a plan ahead of time goes a long way for sustainability. We will be touching up on Internships on a future article, but its worth mentioning that employers look highly upon them. It can show several things including work ethics and experience.