Thursday, May 16, 2013

College Suggestions: How to Get through College a Little Faster and a Little Easier

College can become a little difficult when it takes longer than 4 years to get your degree, takes up much of your free-time for social activities or work opportunities, and leaves you stressed out (see A College Mess: The Double Standards) when you take into account how many bills you're looking at when you come out of school.

To make it easy, I have compiled some small tips that I've tried that have greatly lessened the load.

  1. Take college classes before you reach College. When I was in my junior year of high-school, I decided to take college classes after school or during free periods. I went through what was called the Excel program, specific to the Georgia area (although there are others by different names specific to other areas), which allowed me to finish up general requirement classes (a.k.a useless pre-requisites or introductory classes) in an actual college and college classroom. I knocked out Math, English, etc., and got to get a feel for a real college classroom and all the expectations of one. In my senior year, I went to college mostly during my free periods at the end of the day as well and knocked out some more classes that would have took up most of my coursewaork in my first two years at a University. *Not the same thing as AP classes in high-school since high-school AP doesn't always tranfer into college credits.
  2. Go to a community/technical college first. If you don't want to take college classes before college, try going to a community/technical college straight out of high-school, at least for the first two years. When you take you're two years of general requirement classes at a community college, you pay less for what it would be at a University. Also, some community/technical colleges have quarter hours vs. the semester hour system you mostly see at 4-year universities, so the classes will be a few months shorter than what it would be at a University.
  3. Get an inexpensive Associate's degree and/or a short specialized certificate at the community/tech school while there and it will be easier to get a job later. When you choose to do this option first, that's more on your resume and better hands-on experience with the coursework in usually smaller classroom sizes. This will enable you to find a better job while studying for your Bachelor's degree at a University you migt transfer over to.
  4. Take summer classes every summer in college, at least 2 (online or on-campus to make it bearable). College classes during the summer can help you fill required classes up faster, and with 1 or 2 classes, you can still find summer employment without having trouble juggling both if you are otherwise full-time during regular semesters.
  5. Clep out of subjects you know all too well. If you're really good at Math, take a clep test to clep out of general req. math classes in College. You don't want to take introductory level classes you thoroughly know already and spend more money on being re-taught it, forced to stay in school longer. The same goes for English, Spanish, and other subjects that are covered by Clep.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A College Mess: The Double-Standards

College is a means to an end and an end in itself. We've been told this for so long that we can probably predict when someone is about to say it to us a few minutes before they open their mouths with a thoughtful or encouraging expression; and it's been everyone.
Parents, teachers, school guidance counselors, and maybe even coaches.
So, why do they harshly blame these college-going kids when they wind up in tremendous debt after the college years are up?
I came across an article on youth unemployment in America and it being the worst among the developed nations as there was less job participation among young people in the age groups of 18-34 than any other place.
The article is here if you'd like to read it.

It is mostly all of what you've heard before with a few more interesting facts about the severity of the problem.
But what surprised me wasn't the article itself, but the commentor's reactions in the discussion board below it.
Just a few of the comments:

....Party less and save more

....You skated through college with bullshit degrees, and you have to expect bullshit

....some of them are too young with no experience, they might as well just start their own business.

The comments speak volumes to the sheer ignorance of some people on this national issue...or explicitly show their lack of concern.
And it is a problem, something we all should worry about and seek the solution for.

The youth are the future, am I right? Because it's been told to each up and coming generation forever, as it should be since the new generation will always predict the standard of living we can expect within this country in the span of some years.

And its not looking so great.

 First off, what made me very angry-these comments are blaming the kids and not the system.

Kids are constantly told to go to college and that if they don't, they will not be employable.
 No matter their economic level or the lack of college readiness, kids are barraged and pushed into higher education for the sake of getting a job.

What I did, and I wish most teachers advocated to me, was go to a community college for 2 years then transfer to a university for a higher degree because I thought that best and because I was ready for it. That way, I had an Associate's that was more specialized (because it was technical/trade college) and most of my general requirements were fulfilled at the low cost the community college offered.

But no, too many people were ashamed of community college/technical schools because of their teachers. They went to a university right out of high school, without being thoroughly prepared for what all that goes into it (short campus visits and brochures don't count, neither do websites)...

Another issue these commentators were blaming on the kids was the whining they do when they get 'bullshit' degrees and expect a job out of it. I understand that some degrees are not as economical as others and that sometimes you are better off getting one degree over another, but let's stop telling kids they can be whatever they want to be if that is the case and that happiness comes from loving your job first. It's a crazy paradox.

Kids grow up being told to follow their dreams and be anything they want to be, only to be slammed by adults that say their major was stupid or meaningless, and sometimes even their jobs. J.K. Rowling, the successful author of the Harry Potter books, took a major in Greek mythology and used that 'useless' degree somehow to her advantage. If students have the creativity and genius to do something with a useless degree, then it doesn't become useless, although it might need some improvisation and much consideration and planning. Preferably, students should do this if they have in mind what the limitless possibilities are with that degree.

The last thing that bothers me about this slam on the youth is the third comment. It's very hard for young people to start their own business as well as fully functioning adults, especially since their high-schools do not teach them how to within the curriculum. Bureaucracy and government intervention has contributed to the lowest number of independent businesses now existing in America (also, big corporations that come into town). This combination is daunting and lethal, and needs to be addressed.

Before you slam the youth, look at the system you've pushed them in.
College is becoming more expensive each year, therefore becoming out of reach for people who are not rich. Student loans are almost can the youth 'party all the time' when they're worried about paying all their expenses at school or get kicked out? Finding jobs and making connections before they leave school to the point they almost or cant at all enjoy the college years, supposedly the best years of their lives?
Don't lecture the youth, help them do more than scrape by.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's A Celebrity World

I f*cking hate celebrities, which is why I wrote a short little e-book about it located on the left.
I don't particularly hate all celebrities, but I do hate what celebrities stand for and symbolize as a whole.

This symbol was made clearer to me earlier this morning when I turned on the TV; what came on was Good Morning America, a faux news channel and useless conveyor of important information that usually presents new customer products.

The big story? After the segment on the perfect vacuum cleaner to purchase? Reese Witherspoon was seen caught on camera refusing arrest and antagonizing a police officer when he was trying to question her.

Don't ask me how or why because I could barely listen after that point and at the moment she said this diva-like statement to the officer in the dialogue below:

Reese: "Do you know who I am?"
Officer: No, but I guess I will find out later."
Reese: "Oh, you're going to see who I am and be really sorry."

Or something like that.

I envy police officers in this situation because they're able to put celebrities down a notch and not give a sh*t about what they will say since its their jobs to do so for any disturbance of the peace.

This incident with Ms. Witherspoon (and countless others) show how we unreasonably prop our celebrities up to astronomical heights, to where real news is forgone for updates and statuses of the  trivial famous and rich people with no worries-of course, the only time a regular person is mentioned on the "news" is if he does something really wrong, really great and out-of-the-ordinary, and really outrageously stupid, sometimes courtesy of YouTube videos that go viral, which makes me wonder why we don't want real news that can actually benefits us.

 I also couldn't really blame any religious person for thinking the public worships idols.

There is a show called American Idol and represents just that...young hopefuls wishing for the chance to be the next, big stars that don't have to take sass from anyone anymore. Nikki Minaj told one 12 year-old boy that auditioned that he should get ready for chicks to start swarming him.

Why do we treat these people like Gods who can do no wrong even though we've seen them do wrong countless times?

What do they actually do for us to warrant special treatment, like shortened jail sentences, being let off, or all the attention they receive from a scared media too afraid to shine light on how most regular Americans live day-by-day...and in a struggling economy ? The illusion of equality shatters a little more as this continues to happen.

Yes, some of them have made decent movies that contribute to entertaining the masses, and yes, maybe they've donated to a few charities, but we don't get so celebratory towards normal people who contribute to charity unless they contribute huge sums.

If I were to donate to charity, but then do something illegal the next day, there is a strong possibility that I would still be thrown in jail and mocked endlessly by the media for that one incident...maybe until I released a hit song and became famous for it a week later.