5 Quotes that Offer Perspective on Teachers

professorThe school year is in full-swing, which means that students and teachers alike are once again balancing busy schedules. In the middle of the school year, when stress runs high, it can often be difficult for students to remember that these times are hectic for their teachers or professors as well. It’s easy to harbor resentment when they schedule an exam on a date that coincides with the exam of another class, or when they expect you to learn too much material. But it’s important to remember – especially if you’re studying to become a teacher yourself – that everyone is just doing the best you can.

As you work toward your degree in education online or attend classes on-campus, try to learn from your teachers’ methods as well as the material they give you. These quotes will offer some perspective that will help you to take it easy and look forward to doing the job yourself one day.

“The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers rather than to fill it with the accumulation of others.” – Tyron Edwards
This is an important quote to consider as a student, a teacher, and even a future educator. Teachers shouldn’t want to simply give their students as much information as possible; instead, they should want to help their students hone their skills so that they can effectively use that information and acquire experiences. Perhaps if you’re frustrated with your teacher, this will help you to better understand him or her, and later you can use it to guide you in your career.

“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

This quote goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, but acknowledges that passion and curiosity can help to fuel a student’s ability to learn. There’s no end goal – a fire can consume as much as it wants, as long as it has the strength.

“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” – Malcolm Gladwell

If you’re struggling with learning new material, perhaps it is time to get your hands dirty. Get yourself into situations where you can learn by experiencing, rather than by listening to a lecture, even if this means asking questions and debating with your classmates. Eventually, you will encourage your students to do the same (and to be better learners).

ECF Blog Conversion“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” –Maria Montessori

Teachers will not always be there to hold their students’ hands, which is why it’s so important to learn through experience and to ignite a desire for them to learn more. Teachers are the training wheels, but eventually, the students will become teachers all their own.

And finally…

“Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.” – David McCullough

It takes a certain type of person to be an educator – and those people love their jobs. Even if the educational process seems difficult for now, it’ll be rewarding to be on the other end.

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Weird College Scholarships you Never Knew Existed

weird college scholarshipsIt’s a common misconception that if you don’t get good grades, play a varsity sport, or chair a prominent club in high school, you won’t be eligible for a scholarship. Too many students envy their classmates who end up with money to help them pay their college tuition, and never consider just how accessible scholarships can be.

Did you know that you can get scholarships for belonging to a certain race, having a certain hair color, or living in a certain region? If that surprises you, you won’t believe just how specific the requirements for receiving certain scholarships can get. This list will hopefully open your eyes to show you that not only are some organizations willing to foot your bills for extremely silly reasons – but also the fact that there has to be a scholarship out there for you no matter what university or online college you plan to attend.

Get a Scholarship for Duct Tape Prom Attire
That’s right: the Duck Brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship is available to any couple who is willing to wear duct tape to prom and send in a photo. You and your date do have to endure a night of dancing (and sweating) in a duct tape suit and dress, but it’ll be totally worth it if you win that scholarship money.

Get a Scholarship for Reading an Essay about Sprinklers
Most scholarship contests will award its winners for writing the best essay, but the American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship is given to someone who reads an essay about fire safety and then answers questions on video. Each correct answer gives them an opportunity to win a $2,000 scholarship.

Get a Scholarship for Being Left-Handed
It’s that simple. If you want to be entered to win $1,000 to put toward your college tuition (and you’re attending Juniata College), all you have to do is submit an application and be left-handed. For once, lefties can come out on top.

Get a Scholarship for Having the Last Name “Zolp”
If you attend Loyola University in Chicago, are Catholic, and have the last name Zolp, you get a free ride to university. Loyola isn’t the only university that awards students for having a specific last name – at Texas A&M University, Scarpinatos attend for free, and Van Valkenburgs are eligible to win $1,000 for the Van Valkenburg Memorial Scholarship.

Get a Scholarship for Having a Great Duck Call
The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest awards $1,500 to the best duck caller, as well as smaller prizes for three runners-up. Contestants are given 90 seconds to perform hail, feed, comeback, and mating calls, and all high school seniors in the USA are eligible.

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Back-to-School Tech: From Note-Taking to List-Making

dv740069Around this time of year, there are a lot of different products that are marketed to students as “must-haves.” Because students make up such a specific demographic, and it’s easy to prey on their desire to do well in class, it can be hard to distinguish what pieces of technology could be a game-changer for learning and studying and which ones will collect dust.

As much as you probably don’t want to hear it, Google Glass isn’t exactly the most important tool for learning facilitation. There are, however, a few pieces of tech that could help to lighten your load, keep you organized, or even just make studying more enjoyable. Here are a few.

E-Readers
A kindle, or an app on your iPad, or a Nook — there are lots of options when it comes to e-readers, but all of them share a pretty useful purpose. With e-readers, you can often find texts for class at a lower price than you’ll find at the bookstore. Simultaneously, you’ll have less weight to carry around in your backpack and can organize your highlights in an easy-to-study way. You can even download PDFs and other class documents onto them so that you don’t have to worry about losing them.

Laptop Locks
Yeah, we’re referring to that thing that your totally lame roommate’s dad insisted on buying her. You don’t know what true devastation is until your laptop has been stolen, and while your dorm probably isn’t the most unsafe place in the world, it’s entirely possible that a break-in could happen. Perhaps more importantly: do you want to have to drag your laptop to the bathroom during every late-night library study sesh? Didn’t think so. They’re relatively cheap and save you a lot of trouble.

Flash Drives
A lot of college students have this recurring nightmare: you get up to discuss your senior thesis in front of all the students and staff in your degree program. The projector is already displaying on the screen, and you’ve e-mailed the slideshow to yourself. Do you run the risk of opening your e-mail in front of everyone? Or do you attempt to give the presentation without it? Flash drives make sure that all your school work stays in one place and make it easy to hand off information. Just don’t forget to back yours up.

External Hard Drives
Speaking of backing up… just like you don’t want your laptop to get stolen, you don’t want it to crash, either. Periodically back all your data up onto an external hard drive so you don’t have a mini-heart attack when your computer won’t boot up when you go to put the finishing touches on your final paper.

Noise-Canceling Headphones
Some people don’t understand the concept of being quiet in the library. You don’t want to have to find this out the hard way. With a good study playlist and some high-quality headphones, you can avoid distractions and get in the zone.

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5 Classes to Take Before you Graduate (Regardless of Major)

200309684-001When you’re in college, a lot of the schedule-planning revolves around what you need for your major. That’s obviously completely necessary – otherwise, you can’t graduate – but you’re going to have a lot of other requirements that need to be filled and you might even be left with some extra time for random classes. Don’t just take any old math course to fill that Quantitative Reasoning requirement, and don’t miss the opportunity to take useful classes during your last semester even if you only need one more course to graduate. There are a few classes that are useful for any major because they make you much more hireable and able to demonstrate a larger skill set.

A Class on Finance
A lot of times, finance classes will help you to fill out those math requirements that are necessary to complete a major in any field. Finance courses, you’ll find, are useful both in your personal life and in nearly any career. It never hurts to have a little bit of money managing experience so that your manager finds you to be a bit more trustworthy. Even if finances don’t come into play in your career, you can still learn how to budget for yourself, invest, save, and more.

A Class on Culture, Diversity, and/or Minorities
Being sensitive to social issues is an incredibly useful component for building character. It’s likely that you’ll live in a multicultural world and work with all kinds of people, and being sensitive to the different challenges they face is important when it comes to building leadership skills. On the other hand, you can also take classes that pertain to your own demographic to better understand the history behind your practices and how to use diversity to your advantage.

A Class on Project Management
Even though your title may not be “project manager” when you break into your career field, it’s good to develop the skills required to become one. Project managers need to be organized, hands-on, efficient with time, and unbiased. These skills and traits, once developed, make for a good leader in the making, which is ideal for getting ahead in work and in life.

ECF Blog ConversionA Class on Tech
Unless you’re incredibly computer savvy (or studying computer science), you could most likely use a class on current technology – even if its Computers 101. In today’s world, you’re more than likely going to need to do the majority of your work on a computer, and a lot of companies give computer literacy exams before hiring. There’s always more to learn considering how quickly technology is advancing.

A Class on Writing
Again, you’re probably going to have a writing requirement to fill, so it’s important to fill it wisely. Classes that teach you to write argumentatively are ideal if you’re going to be working in law, and creative fiction courses are great for students who don’t have the best grasp on the English language and the associated grammar. Knowing how to put together sentences, write in different tones, and properly punctuate will help you to write an effective resume and better communicate in written form.

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Five Great Schools for Sports Nuts

Great Schools for the Sports NutAre you a sports fan? A face painter? An unofficial cheerleader? A costume-wearer? Do you lose your voice after every game you attend and judge people for leaving early? Or, perhaps you’re an athlete. Fiercely competitive. Willing to rise at 6am for practice and compromise a weekend of partying so you can bring your A game at the championships. You spend winter break training alone – unless you don’t go home at all, because you want to stay with the team. If any of these describe you, sports are probably going to be a huge part of your college experience.

As you’re probably well aware, some schools just don’t “do” sports, while it’s a huge defining factor of others. But which schools go the hardest when it comes to athletics? Maybe that will help you decide which colors you’ll be wearing for the next four years.

Florida State University
If you’re willing to paint your entire body in red and gold and partake in a “war chant” when it’s rally time, you might fit right in at FSU. The school is known far and wide for its diehard football fans, who mimic tomahawk chopping motions during games to channel their mascot, the Seminole. There are arguably just as many college football fans as there are professional fans, and in the grand scheme of things, FSU has a lot of fans – which means that it’s a fun school for sports, whether you watch or manage to make the cut to get on the team.

University of Alabama
It seems that the south has a penchant for interesting sports chants, and ‘Bama fans have gotten in on the action. “Roll Tide” is the battle cry you’ll be shouting if you’re a sports-loving student at UA in Tuscaloosa. This school is so well known for its sporting events – at which students deck themselves out in red and white – that they have even been featured in ESPN commercials for their undying dedication.

Indiana University
Not all sports-oriented schools are only football-crazy. Indiana University, for one, is big on basketball – in fact, it’s thought that they might have the biggest fan following in college sports. Nothing’s better than cheering on the Hoosiers during March Madness or watching their incredible marching band celebrate the football team.ECF Blog Conversion

University of Wisconsin
See? Schools up north care about sports, too – and if you’re a lover of age-old sports rivalries, UW might be for you. When the Badgers take on the Golden Gophers, there’s a tension and team loyalty in the air that’s downright palpable. After all, it’s a rivalry that’s been going on for over a hundred years, and whoever comes out on top gets a trophy in the shape of Paul Bunyan’s axe.

Michigan State University
Michigan State University is another school with a long-standing sports ritual that’s a rite of passage for new students to partake in: the Spartan Walk. Before every home game, the team walks across campus to the Spartan Stadium, making their way past the swarms of fans cheering “Go Green! Go White!” It’s not uncommon to see painted faces and people dressed like Spartans at any MSU sporting event.

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Ways to Improve your Approach to Reading Assignments

103801569One thing that many high school students don’t expect when they go to college is the unspoken rule that you’re much more responsible for yourself. That means than rather having a highly specific homework assignment, such as doing problems #1-15 on page 23, you’ll often just be told to read a certain section of a book and be prepared to discuss it in class.

A lot of students seem to think that this means they have no homework at all. After all, it’s not like your professor can tell mark off points for reading or not reading because they can’t tell if you’ve done it! The truth is that there is no embarrassment quite like the one you feel when your professor asks you a question about the text during discussion and it’s painfully obvious that you haven’t read it. Aside from that, though – it’s extremely difficult to pass a class without knowing the material.

With that said, here are a few ways to make your reading assignments more manageable, especially when you have several at once, as well as to make sure you’re getting the most out of the information.

Learn which passages to skip. Okay, this might seem a little weird – we’re teaching you how not to read in the middle of a post about reading. In most scenarios, though, you’ll save time, better absorb information, and avoid confusing yourself if you know when to skip sections that aren’t important. The best way to do this is first to skim the chapter, then go back and read more carefully if you don’t feel like you got the gist of a certain section.

Have a goal in mind. This practice is particularly helpful with the previous one. Do you know what you’re setting out to accomplish when you read a section of a book? If you do, you can help yourself stay on-task with your reading. If your task is to understand a particular historical event, don’t get sidetracked by someone’s family history if it isn’t directly relevant. If your task is to find a quote that supports your point in a research paper, then again, you can save time and avoid getting distracted if you keep this in mind.

Highlight and take notes. You bought a fancy pack of highlighters at the beginning of the year…now it’s time to break them out! Try to pay attention if something seems interesting, useful, or worthy of discussion in class. You’ll impress your professor and better comprehend the material. If you’re going to have an exam on this material later, take notes in an organized manner so you don’t have to study straight from the book.

ECF Blog ConversionTake a breather and reflect. Every couple of pages, try to recap what you just read. Can you recite everything back to yourself? Would you be able to tell a friend about it if they had forgotten to read the material and you saw them before class? This is a little self-exam that helps you understand whether you’re truly understanding the words you’re reading, and the more often you do it, the more information you’ll absorb. You’ll thank yourself during the final exam.

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Five Contemporary Poets who will Help you Get Into Poetry

There are a lot of benefits to being well-read, especially as a college student. Most people find that the more they read, the more their vocabulary expands and the rules of grammar become intuitive to them. Both of these reading side-effects come in handy when writing papers, peer-reviewing during class, communicating with superiors, and even giving presentations –they help you gain confidence in the words you choose.

Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the number of college-aged people that would consider themselves avid readers drops every year. It’s a shame, because not only is reading beneficial, but many find it quite enjoyable once they get into it. For the most part, it’s just about finding what you like to read – it doesn’t have to be the things you learn about in school.

A lot of people find that they like poetry, and for college students, contemporary poetry can be very easy to relate to. Here are a few that you should check out if you’re trying to get into reading – they might be game-changers.

Thomas Sayers Ellis

Thomas Sayers EllisThomas Sayers Ellis has something about his writing that just seems to call out to the early twenty-something reader, much like Catcher in the Rye does for high schoolers. His one collection, Skin, Inc: Identity Repair Poems, seems to speak to the phases of finding oneself that are prevalent during college years. It’s also a great gateway into African American literature.

Tao Lin

Tao LinHis work most definitely isn’t for everyone, but it’s difficult to argue that anyone can encapsulate boredom, uncertainty, and that little voice in the back of your head quite like Lin can. He’s simultaneously literal and abstract, boring and exciting – he’ll make you say “What the hell did I just read?” followed by “I know exactly what he means.” His poems are definitely worth checking out, if only to say you did.

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. SmithSmith, who now spends her time teaching creative writing courses at Princeton, was featured in The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets. But just because she’s a favorite poet of other poets doesn’t mean she’s not accessible. You might have heard of her 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning collection called Life on Mars, which explores the possibilities of the future of the universe as well as a plate of eggs.

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Philip Schultz

Philip SchultzAnother Pulitzer Prize-winner, Philip Schultz writes about a wide range of topics from being Jewish in America to immigrating to the details of his own personal history. He covers loneliness, dealing with family, and being impoverished in a way that seems to grab a hold of the reader, causing him or her to re-think their approaches to their own circumstances.

Charles Bukowski

Charles BukowskiIt’d be hard to write a list of contemporary poets without Bukowski – especially since so many young readers seem to be fond of his embittered, candid, and often harsh thoughts. He somehow was able to take his own misery and use it to create something beautiful, which is a lesson to be learned in itself.

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Starbucks Supports its Employees by Offering Online College Program

starbucksGetting a college education just got a lot less complicated for some 135,000 US Starbucks employees. The coffee company, which used began reimbursing its employees up to $1,000/year for their tuition costs in 2011, is upgrading to a better education program: an extremely steep discount on college classes at Arizona State University.

There’s really no catch. Any employee who works a consistent 20 hours per week can enroll in classes at ASU toward a wide variety of different degrees – they’re not limited to those dealing with business. And students aren’t expected to remain Starbucks employees after they graduate.

Starbucks hasn’t revealed how much this program is going to cost them or what their agreement is with the university, and they probably will keep their lips sealed. But considering the fact that this set-up is likely to direct a significant amount of students toward the school’s online degree programs, it seems as though both the institution and its students will be greatly benefitting from the deal. In turn, Starbucks can raise the bar in terms of employees they recruit.

Whether online or on-campus, it costs about $10,000 per year to acquire a degree at ASU. Since their online programs are so comprehensive, Starbucks workers from all across the country will get to take classes at the university. Starbucks plans to cover about $3,250 per year for the first two years, and due to the low-wage nature of working at the company, financial aid will likely assist with the rest. For junior and senior workers, the plan is the same, except that Starbucks will reimburse any money the students pay out of pocket.

Through the previous program, which began in 2011, Starbucks ended up with a total bill of $6.5 million. Since this program offers a significantly steeper tuition coverage, it’s interesting to consider the costs that the corporation is willing to take on in order to gain a better reputation, help prospective college students achieve their goals, and benefit a willing university.

ECF Blog ConversionThere are 8,200 company-operated Starbucks locations at which employees will be eligible to partake in the program. Unfortunately, employees of the 4,500 franchises are not eligible.

Although Starbucks is most definitely not the first major corporation with low average worker wages to offer such a benefit, these programs are still somewhat scarce. Perhaps Starbucks will blaze a trail once both universities and low-wage employers get a glimpse of the mutual benefits – as well as the benefits that can be reaped by the community as a whole.

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The 5 Most Typical “College Student” Posters

It’s hard to say whether it’s because they’re lazy, or because they all have the same idea of what’s super cool, but it seems like all college students have the same ideas when it comes to what they want to hang on their dorm room walls. If you’re just heading into your freshman year of college, you may still be completely blown away by how super cool/artsy/cultured these posters make you look, but by the end of the year, you’ll be sick of looking at them.

Though college students having these posters as décor are a cliché in themselves, let’s see if we can take it a step further and pinpoint what type of student will go for each of these prints.

Keep Calm and Carry On

keep calm

 One of the first girls you meet on campus will most definitely have this Keep Calm and Carry On poster hanging above her bed. When you try to talk about the history of the slogan with her, she’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. She probably reads a lot of Nicholas Sparks, wears Jack Rodgers sandals, and loves the beach. She can be found sipping her Starbucks Frappuccino while browsing Instagram between classes.

Bob Marley

bobIt might not be this exact picture, but it will definitely be Bob Marley or some iteration of “One Love” written in yellow, green, and red. It could belong to a guy, it could belong to a girl, but they will most definitely wear Converse sneakers or Rainbow flip flops with some ratty jeans. They skip class a lot and seem to have a very limited library of music, which can be heard from down the hall at all hours.

Audrey Hepburn

audreyShe who has an Audrey Hepburn poster is always the one who wears high heels for a night out and needs to be carried home with aching feet at the end of the night. She gets together with other girls on her floor to do crafts she found on Pinterest and says she would never want to be in a sorority. You can find her at the local coffee shop pretending to be doing homework.

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Animal House

animalA guy with this Animal House poster thinks it’s really ironic that he has a guy wearing a “college” sweatshirt on his wall…at college. This poster is probably covering a huge hole in the wall – after all, the owner throws the best parties. His dorm is always a mess anyway. He somehow manages to always skirt trouble with the R.A., no matter how many people he manages to cram into his room. He talks very, very loudly.

Starry Night

starryThe owner of this poster will tell you that he or she has always loved art, but namely Van Gogh. This will make him or her seem very cultured, quiet, and elusive, which is exactly their plan. You’ll probably accompany this person to get a tattoo some point, of a feather or a Bob Dylan quote. They’ll probably casually try to test your knowledge about classic rock and subtly shame you for your lack of detailed knowledge.

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Gear Up for Fall: How to Cozy Up your Study Space

cozy up your study spaceThe school year is officially beginning, and a lot of us have allowed our desks to collect dust this summer. Because the beginning of classes is associated with cooler weather, it’s safe to say that we’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors, so getting that study space up and running is essential. Using these tips to cozy up your study space is a great way to kick off a new school year – you can start your new classes with a fresh mind and a clean place to work!

Discard, Discard, Discard
Clutter is just not conducive to a study environment. It’s distracting and it makes things difficult to find, which can make completing assignments take longer than necessary. Take a good, hard look at your desk and decide whether you really need everything on it. Toss those old magazines. Get rid of the broken picture frame. Try to pare it down as much as possible so you have less to worry about. Anything you need to keep should be organized in a filing cabinet, folders, or drawers.

Make New Playlists
Spotify has playlists for just about anything, including Deep Focus, Intense Studying, and Atmospheric Calm. Take a browse and see if any of these work for you. If not, curate a nice, long playlist to help you focus. Having playlists already prepared eliminates the need to make one before you start working on an assignment – which is really just your way of procrastinating.

Invest in Comfort
There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t study in bed, but it’s tempting to do so. As an alternative, make your desk as comfortable as possible without making you want to fall asleep. Buy a new chair, one of those gel things for under your wrists, or a nice pair of slippers so that your study area is comfortable to work in, but not as cozy as your bed.

ECF Blog ConversionLet the Light In
If you can, put your desk near a window so you can get plenty of energizing sunlight during the day and a nice breeze at night. It’s also important to make sure that you have plenty of bright lights – dim lights will make you sleepy! Plus, it’s bad for your eyes to work in a dark room with just a dim light.

Stash some Snacks
You can work up an appetite as you study. Stash some hot chocolate, protein-packed peanuts, or granola bars in your desk so that you don’t get distracted by the sounds of your stomach during a late-night study session. Having a snack can also keep you energized so you can remain focused.

Clean your Computer
It’s a fresh year, and your computer should feel fresh, too. Do a good keyboard and screen clean, change your wallpaper, and clear off your desktop. Distracting clutter doesn’t just happen on your desk – it happens digitally, too!

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