Archive for the ‘college education’ Category

The Problematic Roommate

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Teenage boy using personal computerSometimes my roommate makes me want to cry. I just can’t. Even. Express. I just get those days where I’m in a bad mood and he (we’ll refer to him as Jarvis for the sake of anonymity) thinks it’s a great idea to test the new iPhone feature of activating Siri from across the room:

Siri, what time is it?’

The time is 7:30. Good morning.’ (more…)

Managing Your Time on Campus

Monday, October 6th, 2014
Time Management too much to do?

Time Management too much to do?

Given all of the academic, extracurricular and social pursuits offered at college, the fact that there are 24 hours in a day becomes more and more inconvenient. The fact that we have to sleep for a lot of them is equally annoying. Regardless of how difficult managing your time becomes, don’t go looking for the answer at the bottom of a 5-hour energy bottle. There are ways to increase your productivity and be more efficient at organizing your social time. And by that I don’t mean ‘fun with rules.’ To hell with the rules, just break them under a strategically organized work-fun relationship.

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How Do I Entertain Myself On/Off Campus?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Extracurricular-ActivitiesThe day is done. The weekend is looming and pressure mounts to find something fun to do. Try to avoid Friday night laundry and start looking for ways to blow off the steam you’ve accumulated throughout the week.

An easy option is joining a student organization at the start of the year. Debate, a cappella, improv, and model UN are some of thousands of diverse activities run by students that can prove to be the best study breaks. Find something you love and pursue it. Find something you have absolutely no clue about and try that too. Before coming to the states, I’d never really encountered improv comedy and gave it a go on the advice of my suite mate. I auditioned and was recruited despite sleeping through tap night. It’s been one of the most enjoyable and valued experiences I’ve had at college. I’ve met some great people I probably would have never encountered otherwise, and learned some new things about myself too. Ignore the cliché and go try something that terrifies you.
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The Truth about Picking a Major

Friday, August 15th, 2014
SAT Questions

Picking a Major

Some people will tell you that you should major in what you’re proven to be good at. Other people will ridicule these people before telling you that college is the chance to explore your options and take classes in areas you never even realized existed. Avid Harry Potter fans will spout some rubbish like ‘the major chooses the student’ and you can just go ahead and ignore that. You, of course, choose the major. But that process may well be as difficult as getting magic out of a stick.

There is something quite overwhelming about being told to pick one subject. Most students have multiple academic loves in their lives and narrowing down isn’t easy at all. There may be a few interesting anthropology classes on offer but if – as is likely the case – a student is unacquainted with the field of anthropology they may be hesitant for GPA reasons or because they think it’s a better bet to stick with what he or she knows. Perhaps you’ve taken many English classes and have been repeatedly told you’d be great as an English major. This may well be true. But what if that Anthropology class awoke some crazy desire to do something else? You never know until you try, and a liberal arts education is the perfect time to start trying. Around 50% – 70% of US college students change their majors for quite possibly this reason. In high school we’re unable to have the breadth that encompasses subjects like Anthropology, Environmental Science or Linguistics because there’s so much ‘core’ information we have to learn first. So most students head on in to college with a predestined Biology orientated mindset before realizing they actually love Anthropology more. Don’t feel pressured to have a major in mind when you enter college. Spend your time just flitting from class to class and get a feel for what it is you’re truly passionate about.

It’s probably not a good idea to major in something only because you think it will make you money on graduation. Bear in mind that college generally means dedicating yourself to four years of studying. If Economics looks real useful but after the first class you hate it, don’t take it. Try Physics or a language or theatre. Find your interests and pursue them. Never feel pressured to have to take something.

The first year at least of college should be about finding new interests you never before were able to explore. So many people end up changing their fields of study because their high school never taught psychology, for example. There can be literally thousands of classes on offer each year, and it would be far too limiting just to focus on those that you’re already used to.

By the time sophomore year comes, things may seem a little clearer in terms of major selection. Or they may not. Either is absolutely fine because there’s still time. Choosing a major is more often than not a long process that can take years to work out. Fortunately many of the education people in charge get that, which is why the system can accommodate panicky indecisiveness as well as it does.

One of the more common reasons people have for pre-selecting a major before arriving at college is for grad school. If a student wants to be a doctor then I guess majoring in English makes the MCAT a little trickier. But apart from a small number of areas like medicine, the rest aren’t particularly concerned what you studied at the undergraduate level. In fact, graduate schools often accept students who didn’t major in that particular field of study. There are Business school students who majored in English and Drama school students who majored in Sociology. It’s not so much about the major as it is the skills you learn and can transfer at the next stage, be it graduate school or employment.

Ultimately, college should be the one time in your academic career to experiment as freely as you can. Take risks, explore more options and discover new passions you otherwise wouldn’t have known. Don’t feel like you need to have an idea of what to study as soon as you set foot on campus. Just enjoy the single word stamped across your transcript that captures your pursuit of new realms of academics: ‘undeclared.’

How to Pick a Major

Friday, June 6th, 2014
College Major

College Major

Picking a major can become a daunting task for many students, especially when you feel pressured to make this choice your freshman year in college as you sign up for classes that will put you on track for your major’s requirements. Whether the problem is that you have too many interests or your goal is to obtain a “useful” degree that will increase your employment chances on graduation, there are many factors to consider. I will try to address some of them here.

A lot of the time, students head into their freshman year with a preconceived notion of what they will be majoring in. However, universities have hundreds and even thousands of courses, many of which are in fields you may not have explored before now, or even have heard of before now.  Don’t feel like you have to settle down in your studies immediately. Sure, take classes in subject areas you enjoy, but it may be worth it (yes, even academically) to try something new. You could end up unearthing a passion you never knew existed. (more…)