College Essay: Why It Is Not Just About Writing

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Today I would like to welcome guest blogger, Kenneth Waldman, freelance writer and content creator at essay writing service EssayMama.com. He is here to give some tips on essay writing.

Writing an essay is extremely difficult if you do not have a good knowledge on the topic. Writing is also very challenging if you don’t know how to properly structure your essay, how to add annotations, bibliography or how to perform editing. It takes quite some preparations until you can finally sit down and write your essay.

If you want to get a good grade, then you need to spend quality time on preparations before even writing anything. So let’s check out a few quintessential factors to remember regarding how to write a really good essay.

Brainstorming for the perfect topic

If you are allowed to write on any topic, you need to choose something that you are really knowledgeable about. Sit down and start your brainstorming session. Think about your hobbies, your favorite books, things you are most interested in, news you like to read about the most. Something will ultimately come to you mind, and from there you can narrow down your brainstorming and come up with the perfect title.

Brainstorming often times starts with a single word. Then, from that word you will come up with a sentence, and that sentence will take you towards a story. Brainstorming is the technique used by the most creative ad makers out there, so use it because it will help. The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers some really interesting resources pertaining to essay writing.

Plenty of research

Before you sit down to write anything, you need to spend long hours on research. Only this way will you be able to concentrate all your knowledge and come up with a nice essay. If you don’t have enough knowledge on the topic, you cannot possibly write 500 words about that topic. However, if you will read enough information, you will assimilate the basics that should be developed in your essay.

Get online and start reading magazine articles, peer reviewed journals, and even a few novels that are relevant to your topic. As a source of entertainment, you can also watch relevant documentaries and movies that will add to your knowledge base. Find out more on how to do research for an excellent essay here.

Drafting is essential

Drafting, or prewriting is indeed important. Before you start writing your essay, you should add on paper important sentences, phrases and notes that will help contouring your main essay. Scribble on paper, draw if you have to, and be creative- make a draft that represents the rough sketch of your main essay. When you sit down to writing, you just need to use this draft, and it will guide you to write  brilliant essay, quite effortlessly. More information on drafting an essay can be found at this resource.

Planning the general outline

If you have a rough outline for your essay before you start writing it, you will write it much easier. How many paragraphs will the introduction have? How many different topics you will talk about in the body of the essay? How many subheadings you plan to have? What about the conclusion? Is this a persuasive or open-ended conclusion?

You really need to answer all these questions in order to write a well-structured essay and respect the number of words in the directions. Otherwise, you risk writing an essay that is not proportional- too long introduction, short body of essay and so on. Always plan the general outline on paper, with approximate number of words for each section/subsection. Check out this helpful pdf on essay outlines – by the University of Washington Tacoma.

Grammar & style

You need to write a very grammatically correct essay. For this you need to spend some time on checking a few English grammar rules first. Use he available online applications, tools and grammar tests as part preparing to write your essay. Spend some time on revising carefully your grammar, and ensure you will hand in an essay that has good sentences, correct grammar and no stylistic mistakes.

There are many free spellcheckers and grammar tools online. Within minutes you can download them to your laptop, and use them as you write your essay. When you are done, remember to edit and proofread your essay, put it aside for a day…and read it again the next day with fresh eyes. For more tips on grammar, punctuation & style read this.

Practicing before the final version

If this is an extremely important essay you need to write for your college class, you should practice enough. For example you could write 2 or 3 test essays before writing the final version. Such practicing will help make your writing skills more powerful. With practicing, you will be able to write great sentences and paragraphs for your final version, and you will already know what you need to be careful about (such as too many run on sentences, certain grammar mistakes, bad structuring, etc.)

Read out loud your final work

This is the rule of thumb. Many poets, essay writers, screen writers, will use this trick. When you have finished your essay, don’t just hand it in. As a final step, read out loud your essay. How does it sound? Is it interesting? Are the sentences too long? Does the entire piece sound boring? Do you like what you hear? How would you grade it if you were a teacher? Be extremely analytic and objective when reading your own essay. Change the things you do not like about it, and the read it again. Now your essay should be perfect!

It may sound like you need to do a thousand things before you can finally sit down and write. In fact, all these preparations will help you write your essay quite fast and quite well. Don’t struggle on writing an essay of 500 words without having enough knowledge on the topic. Don’t struggle to come up with the sentences, when you have problems with certain grammar rules. Study first and get down to writing only afterwards.

Writing an essay should not be complicated, if you will pay attention to these tasks that you need to perform besides writing proper. Spend enough time on research, and choose research sources that are truly trustworthy and quality sources. You will be able to write an essay that will impress your teacher or even your application assistant in college!

 

Author: Kenneth Waldman, freelance writer and content creator at essay writing service EssayMama.com. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.

5 careers you can pursue in medicine

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For today’s post, I want to welcome guest blogger Jessie Agarwal. She writes for Univariety, which provides career counseling advice for college students. Be sure to check the site out sometime!

Since humans started inhabiting the world after the extinction of dinosaurs, there always has been a need for people who can advise and help others in matters related to health, the most valuable treasure of every living being. With the passage of time, the knowledge of helping others in maintaining their health and aiding them in overcoming health related problems became a science and its practitioners became more revered and respected in the society.

Contrary to the belief that a career in medicine always leads to becoming a doctor, there are many other professions and careers in the medical field which have gained much importance in this age. Following are some options which can be pursued by those who study medicine.

Medical Doctor

Undeniably, the most sought after and famous career in medicine is that of a medical doctor. Although it’s a rather long career to pursue, doctors not only command respect in the society but are always in demand. The satisfaction it gives is also combined with the fact that even developed countries like USA is facing shortage of doctors and physicians. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the country will face a shortage of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by the year 2025.

An MBBS followed by a master’s degree is the minimum requirement if one wants to become a doctor.

Hospital administration

Hospitals are great places, literally as well as metaphorically. From heavy and complex machinery to an equally complex and tough system, hospitals need strong administrators who possess medical knowledge and also have administrative insights.

The US Bureau of Labour has projected a 23% growth in hospital administration jobs by the year 2022. It requires a bachelors degree in hospital administration followed by a masters degree and an experience in assistant position.

Sports Medicine

Ever seen a medic running over to an injured sportsperson in the play ground? These are highly trained medics in sports medicine, another one of the most lucrative professions in the medicinal field.

The US Bureau of Labour has stated that sports physicians get an average salary of $205,573 per annum. Not to say the chance to interact with sports celebrities.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a science which deals with physical fitness and rehabilitation in cases of injuries and body impairments. In India, many universities offer diploma as well as degree courses in physiotherapy. However, in USA (where the current average salary in this stream is $82,390) a doctorate degree is required.

Veterinary medicine

Many people don’t consider it a profession serious enough to be pursued., However, the truth is that this stream is a rage in European countries and also US where the current average salary of a veterinarian is $87,590.

Apart from the fact that animals also deserve care, veterinary science is vital in preventing diseases among animals which can harm humans too.

Career in medicine has branched out into a number of careers in the current era. However, even with the diversification of career options, the competition remains as high as it ever was. The top medical colleges in India still witness massive applications at the time of admissions. Apart from the challenges in enrolment, medicine is a career which is considered the longest of all careers and requires considerable patience and hardwork.

Author Bio:

Jessie Agarwal is a passionate blogger from India. She writes articles on various topics such as Education, gadgets, travel…etc. As of now she is focusing on Univariety, which provides career counselling for college students. The organization also helps school students in career exploration and planning.

How college students clean their room…

“Don’t worry, I got this covered.”

The 5 stages of grief when losing your keys

 

Everyone has that moment. That moment when you’ve just left the car and are about to step into your house or dorm.  Or about to key into your office for another day full of uneventful work. You reach down your purse or pocket for your keys, and are dumbfounded when you grab a full load of nothing. Nada. You may be grabbing that old mint you left in there weeks ago, but no keys. We’ve all had this happen to us at least once, in many different situations and locations, but yet we all react the same way. Based on the Kubler-Ross model, here are the five stages of grief we go through whenever we lose our keys.

 

Stage 1: Denial- “I didn’t lose my keys”

“If I can’t see it, it isn’t happening”

 

“That’s not possible!” you think to yourself, as you check your other pockets. “Surely, I must have them.” Despite the fact that we are beings of routine, that we always put our things in the same place in our pockets/purses/bags for the sake of convenience, you believe that this one time, for one reason or another, you decided to switch things up. Why? Who knows? Maybe you were feeling feisty. Maybe you were bored with the direction your life was headed, so you felt that the rebellion of switching up the location of your keys was a minor victory in a world full of predictable mediocrity.

Whatever the reason, you decide to check every nook and cranny of your person, even going so far as to check the very same pocket again! Surely you must have not dug deep enough the first time. Maybe you’ll find it there the second time you look. Right.

Stage 2: Anger- “Why did I lose my keys?!”

“I’m going to kill me for this!”

Once you’ve come to the startling realization that you have, in fact, lost your keys, a surge of anger kicks in. First, you blame yourself. If only you had checked before you left the house. If only you had them in your hand the whole time, then you would always know where they were. If only.

Then, you blame others. You quickly think back through your day to figure out who is to blame for this scathing revelation. Your friends who invited you to dinner, giving you a chance to lose your keys there? The cashier who forced you to pay for your groceries, making you reach in to pull out money, taking out your keys in the process? Your significant other, whose couch may have decided to devour the contents of your pockets, never to be seen again? There are just so many to blame, and so little time!

Stage 3: Bargaining- “Maybe I can still find them”

“Please, if I can just find these keys, I promise I will never again complain about the cancellation of Community.”

Still holding on to that last glimmer of hope, you immediately begin to problem solve. The situation is not truly lost, or so you believe. Perhaps you can retrace your steps. Surely, you’ll be able to remember exactly where you last saw them. Maybe you still have time to run back and grab them.

This is usually the time when you wonder whether or not this is an issue that’s big enough to concede to a higher power. If you are the religious type, is this a prayer-worthy situation? You wonder if God would appreciate you using His time for something as trivial as losing your keys. Even if you are not religious, this is about the time when you wonder if this was some sort of predetermined plan for you to lose your keys, some sort of cosmic fate that would result in this scenario regardless of what you did. This is the time when you wonder what you can do to change your fate, to undo that which has been so unjustfully done.

But then, you get the startling realization which leads to…

Stage 4: Depression: “I won’t find my keys. My life may be ruined.”

“It’s over. My wife will leave me, I’ll lose my house, and now I’ll never know if Community gets brought back.”

All hope is lost. You’ve finally realized that you are not going to find these keys in time to open this door. Your life, just like your passage through this door, has come to a complete halt.

With nothing else to do but wallow in your own thoughts, you begin to wonder what really happened to those keys. What if you dropped them somewhere public? What if someone found them and now has access to all of your personal things? They can get into your house, your car, and that love locket your bff gave you when you were 14.

And what of you? Where do you keep the spare keys? Now you’ll have to go to the locksmith to make yourself another copy. Do locksmiths even exist anymore? You’ll probably have to spend hours at Wal-mart having to locate the locksmith section to make you a key copy! Dang it, are they in housewares or electronics?!

As your thoughts into your keys’ future spiral out of control, you are finally ready to move into the final phase:

Stage 5: Acceptance- “I lost my keys, and that’s okay.”

“I’m finally free!”

Finally free of despair and resentment, you finally come to terms with the departure of your keys. You realize that sitting around, moping, is not going to get you into that door. Now is the time to call that friend or family member who holds your spare to come get you. Or to call campus security to let you back into your dorm. Or wait for a nice enough colleague to arrive at work to use their master key to open your office. Regardless of what happens, you know you are going to be late. Late to work, late to that meeting, or even late to bed. But that’s okay. You’ve realized that at this point, there is nothing you can do to change your fate, but to get that door open somehow and solve your key problem later. You will live to see another day, and likely lose another set of keys.

Book smart vs. Street Smart: Using Your Intelligence Effectively in College


book smart street smart

It’s the question we’ve all had in our minds as soon as our brains were capable of thought. Which type of intelligence do we prefer, book smart or street smart? Learning through traditional, organized education or learning important life lessons through trial and error and tough love?

When hearing these terms, what do you think of? For many, the stereotypical book smart person is usually some type of nerd or geek, adjusting his or her glasses while burying his or her head in some type of book.

Preparation is more than half the battle.

Likewise, those versed in the arts of street smarts are usually thugs or those who grew up on the “street”.

Some people got it… Some don’t…

The truth is, being book smart and street smart has a lot more to do than just your upbringing and personality. It has a lot to do with your preferred learning style, and which way you perceive the world.

Some people are analytically intelligent (or book smart). This type of intelligence is used to recall or recognize, analyze, evaluate, and judge information. In other words, your traditional school-type of learning. Someone, usually a teacher or instructor of some kind, will disseminate information through oral or written methods, and you will learn. Simple, right?

Well, that’s because at its core, it is. Analytically intelligent people love to learn and are good at learning. They are organized, prepared, and will always have back-up plans for everything they do in case something goes wrong. Let me illustrate an analytically intelligent person using one of my favorite shows of all time, Leverage:

As the video shows, Nate has a plan for just about every single thing that can go wrong in an operation. Is this you?

According to this article, people with more analytical intelligence tend to have the following traits:

•Tend to be higher educated and work more hours
•Tend to have less leisure time on average
•Have at least a bachelor’s degree, with an unemployment rate of 3.9% (2012)
•Have more access to better-paying jobs and hold higher white collar positions
•Tend to think things through, and will likely have a back-up plan when things go wrong

The more you learn analytically, the better your tacit knowledge becomes, or your method of learning. For example, say you are taught that 2 + 2 = 4. Through analytical learning, you are taught that by a teacher, as well as the logic involved with coming up with that conclusion. That’s how you build analytical intelligence. It’s pretty easy to remember that 2 + 2 = 4. But what about 3 + 3? Or 4 +5? You can’t realistically memorize every math problem. That’s where tacit knowledge comes in. Using tacit knowledge means learning why 2 + 2 = 4, then being able to apply the same concept to other math problems.

Sure, your teacher can tell you the answers to all of these, and even how to solve the answers for all of these, but unless you practice it yourself, figure out the nuances, you will never be able to do the problems without your teacher. This is why basic arithmetics is repeated over and over in elementary school, having students doing problem after problem after problem. In addition to learning through repetition, students learn the patterns, the trends, and the applications of these problems into other problems. Tacit knowledge involves finding a learning method that works best for you.

Let me illustrate the concept of tacit knowledge through another Leverage clip:

Even though Parker was being taught the art of persuasion one way, she managed to reach the same solution using an alternative method that worked for her.

Now, practical intelligence (or street smart), is learning through experience. You can’t be taught the kinds of lessons you learn through practical intelligence. Let me illustrate with an example. Your neighbor bought an expensive car. How much did it cost?

What was your answer? Now go and ask that same question to your best friend. Now call up your parent and ask them the question. Now go ask a stranger on the street (be cautious of pepper spray!). Do you think you’ll all have the same answer? Why not?

We all know what a car is. We were all taught what a car is through analytical learning. We also know what “expensive” means. It means “a lot of money”. But how much is a lot? Can a teacher “teach” you how much “a lot of money” is? Well, he or she certainly can, but that is completely subjective. Their idea of “a lot” is based on their experience of money. Something that they learned through experience.

People with high practical intelligence are adaptable. They learn from their mistakes, like the child who put his hand on a hot stove. They learn what works and what doesn’t. Once again, let me use a Leverage clip (seriously, they should be paying me for this), to showcase a person adapting to their environment when faced with a sudden crisis.

Sometimes there’s just no time to plan. You have to think quickly and use the tools around you to solve a crisis.

According to the same article mentioned earlier, people with high practical intelligence:

•Include Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, neither of which had a college degree or much formal education.
•Tend to have less formal education, and face an unemployment rate of 13% (people with only High School Diploma)
•Are more likely to take risks, resulting in more extreme life situations (either really rich or really poor)
•Tend to be less stressed overall and have more leisure time
•Are more likely to adapt to new situations, or solve problems on the spot in a crisis

Here is a chart that illustrates the levels and types of intelligence:
Intelligence Chart

As you can see, intelligence is divided up into two areas: analytical and practical.

Lower levels of analytical intelligence simply allows you to learn through teaching, which most people can do once they start school. The higher levels of analytical intelligence involves improving your tacit knowledge, or your ability to learn more complex concepts using learning techniques you’ve acquired through life (such as using a more effective way of studying for a test after understanding how you learn best).

Lower levels of practical intelligence allows you to learn on your own. You do this automatically as a child when you learn to walk, as well as when you learn that crying and throwing tantrums as a young child gets you what you want, but then gets you a spanking when you reach a certain age. Higher levels of practical intelligence involves using these learned experiences from your past to adapt to situations in the future, such as knowing which way to take an organization as their new CEO based on strategies you’ve used in the past that worked and those that didn’t.

So which one are you? Are you more book smart or street smart? This little quiz is fun and gives you an idea of which way you skew.

So how do you use this information to do well in college? Here are some tips:

Improving Analytical Intelligence:
– Go to class!
– Not only study, but find a great studying technique that works for you
– Do the readings for assignments. This isn’t high school; the readings will help you in the test
– Don’t be afraid to ask questions, use tutors, and visit your professors in their office
– Read! Not just your textbooks, but read for pleasure. Fiction or nonfiction, doesn’t matter! It keeps your mind working and alert, allowing you to become a more efficient learner.

Improving Practical Intelligence:
– Join on-campus clubs and organizations
– Lead on-campus clubs and organizations; you won’t believe the amount of skills you’ll learn as a leader
– Apply for internships
– Use your college resources such as mock interviews, resume critique workshops, and life skills classes (if offered)
– Network! If you go outside your circle of friends, you will learn so much about the world. College is a salad bowl of cultures and customs. There is much to experience by leaving your comfort zone and making new friends and connections.

‘Twas the Night Before Finals

Twas the night before finals, in the dorms they all sat
Not a student was partying, not even the frat.
The books all piled up to the top of the room,
Only 12 hours left ‘till they head to their doom.

The freshmen were cramming it all in their heads,
Not a single Facebook status was left unread.
My roommate in her pj’s, and I in my slacks,
Trying to find a way to relax.

When out in the hallway there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
I opened the door to a delightful surprise,
My friends were leaving to get burgers and fries.

I said to myself, “It’s early enough,
And studying while hungry can be a bit rough.”
So, I put on my coat and I put on my shoes,
And we went to get food, some snacks, and some booze.

After a ride into town, and a little bit of fun,
I came back to my room, a quarter past one.
Less than eight hours to go before my exam,
And three different subjects for me to cram!

I grabbed my first book and as I sat on my desk,
I said, “There’s no way I can work in this mess!”
So hyped up on sugar and lots of caffeine,
I put down the books ‘till the room was all clean.

I looked at my clock and saw it was three,
I cried, “How could this happen to me?”
“I really hope they offer extra credit!”
Is what I posted on Twitter and Reddit.

And then, with a buzzing, I felt in my pants,
I just got a Snapchat from my buddy in France.
He was studying abroad and his finals were done,
He sent me a pic going down a ski run.

Depressed and distraught, I went back to my book,
It was an e-version that I bought for my Nook.
The miniscule font was driving me insane,
And searching for the settings proved to be a pain.

Fraught with pure anger and in such disarray,
I did the unthinkable and tossed my e-reader away!
It hit my left bedpost which cracked the display.
I let out a sigh. “This just isn’t my day.”

As I sat at my desk and worked on some math,
The undercooked meat I ate unleashed its wrath.
Propped on the toilet I held on for dear life,
As I let out a fudge bomb that stung like a knife.

Though tired and stressed, I still studied some more,
while trying to drown out my roommate’s snore.
Ticking and tocking teased that damn clock,
As if poking fun at my mental block.

But I studied and studied every chapter and section,
Memorized my terms to the point of perfection.
There was really no more I could do to prepare,
But to show up to class with a hope and a prayer.

Later that morning, I sprang out of class,
With a skip in my step, with a notion I passed.
“What do we do now?” asked my friends in delight.
“Well, my finals are over, so to all a good-night!”

~frozenflan

10 excuses college professors have heard a million times (and why you shouldn’t use them)

It’s the night before that big paper is due. An unfortunate combination of technical failures, insufficient sources, and good old fashion procrastination has you pulling your hair out as you take a bite out of your day-old Taco Bell and down your fourth cup of coffee. Sure, you can try to pull yet another all-nighter and try to concoct something barely readable. Maybe you’ll get a sudden 5am rush that will turn you into a writing genius and finish those last five pages like you were coloring by the numbers.

But then again, that bed over there is seducing you with its cozy comforter and plump pillows. Perhaps it’s easier to just show up early to class tomorrow, dressed in your best brown-nosing attire, and sweet-talk your professor into extending your deadline. But what can you tell your professor that they haven’t already heard? The good old days of “My dog ate my homework” just won’t cut it anymore. You have to evolve with the times. Get ahead of the curve. Come to your professor with a story that will bring her to tears. She’ll have no other choice than to gift your troubled soul with an extra day to turn in your paper. Right?

Wrong. For every unique excuse you can come up with, your professor has heard three variations of it. So save yourself the embarrassment and read the below 10 excuses that professors heard a million times, with reasons why they aren’t willing to accept them.

1. “My computer crashed!” (and other technology problems)

In an era where digital papers and electronic submissions are the norm, a plethora of problematic possibilities have opened up for the already-stressed college student. You’re working on a paper, forget to save, and right as you’re about to hit that little disk icon on the top left of your screen, your screen freezes and your mouse stops working. Or the power goes out at your house. Or your internet gives out the night you have a huge research project to do. Or your DVD drive fails right when you’re about to watch a video for class. Or your printer fails to print that 30 page pdf. I could go on and on.

The point is, surely your professor can’t fault you for that. After all, you can’t control any of the above-mentioned situations. While that is true, any professor who’s been around the block will tell you that such a problem only happens if you’d waited until the last minute to work on your assignment. Procrastination is your biggest enemy with this excuse, because it tells the professor you waited until the last minute to start an assignment.

Had you started the assignment earlier on, you would have had time to get that situation fixed when the university’s IT department is actually opened. Even if the problem set you back a few days, your professor would be more likely to accept the excuse the day before the assignment is due, rather than the day of.

2. “I slept through my alarm”

It happens, I know. I’ve slept through a few alarms in my day. This is especially ruthless for those dreaded 8am classes, where you’re not likely to wake up on your own due to the late nights you’ve pulled. This excuse may  work once towards the beginning of the semester, especially if you’re a freshman and getting used to living independently.

But any time after that and a professor will just see you as someone who is irresponsible. First of all, there are several types of alarm rings on your alarm clock or phone. Experiment until you find one that works. If you really are sleeping through every single alarm you can put up, then you are probably not getting enough sleep. If that’s the case, then you need to work on your time management. Get things done more efficiently so you don’t have to sleep so late.

The thing is, sleeping through your alarm won’t work when you get into the working world. Your boss doesn’t care that you can sleep through a foghorn. If your sleeping patterns are that abnormal, then you probably need to get that checked by a doctor. College is a wonderful place to make these types of mistakes, as the repercussions are not as bad as in the real world. But still, spare your professor the excuse and just acknowledge that you won’t be late again.

3. “There’s a lot going on in my life right now”

Ahh yes. The “woe is me” approach. I hear this one all the time when a student misses a deadline for something I assigned them to do. Not only is this excuse vague and of little value, but this excuse tells me that you are self-centered enough to believe that you are the only person in the world with a lot going on in your life right now.

Wake up, please. We all have “a lot going on in our lives right now”. That’s just the way our modern society works. We are over-worked and over-stressed and life constantly gets in the way. A part of growing up involves learning to adapt to these situations and make them fit into our busy lives. Breaking up with your girlfriend or losing your childhood pets are emotionally distressing, sure, but such is life. It has its ups and downs, but anything short of death in the family or something equally devastating could be worked around. Could you imagine if everyone used that excuse when things got too tough? We’d be a mess!

4. “My other class is taking up all of my time”

This one is a major no-no! I’m telling you this one from experience. I tried this once on a professor, and I didn’t hear the end of it. Let’s just say that professors are proud of the classes that they teach, and in their own little world, they are the only ones in our lives and all our allegiance belongs to them. They don’t want to hear that not only is there another professor in your life, but that you clearly prioritize your time with their assignments over this one. It’s like telling your significant other that you missed your anniversary date because you had to help your mother with the dishes.

It’s quite the catch 22. All your professors seemingly schedule all their tests and all their assignments due on the same week, then get upset when you have a hard time balancing them all out. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the harsh reality of college. Proper time management and controlling your procrastination can help you escape this conundrum.

5. “I forgot this was due today”

It’s pretty obvious to see why this excuse won’t work. “I forgot” didn’t work in elementary school, and it won’t work now. But what makes this excuse even worse is that in most of your classes, due dates are typically listed on the syllabus! You know that piece of paper you’re given on the first day of class that you doodle on while the professor goes over it? Yeah, you’d best not lose that. Professors tend to put test dates and due dates for assignments on their syllabi, making that a handy tool when trying to keep track of all your assignments.

Plus, this excuse is so lazy and unoriginal, you’ll be insulting your professor more than anything. So please, just avoid it and take the late grade.

6. “I didn’t know it’s considered plagiarism”

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This one can be tricky, because it’s most likely true and it’s most likely an innocent mistake that can happen to anyone. In fact, it happened to me in college one time. I had to write a paper for a business class. I took this class before my first college writing class, and I kinda breezed through my high school writing classes without much thought, so I didn’t know much about citing your sources. There were plenty of paragraphs that had no sources, and could be considered plagiarism.

When confronted about it by my professor, I told him I didn’t know it was plagiarism. What he told me was a life lesson I still remember clearly to his day. “Ignorance of the law does not allow you to break it”. Plus, every college has a student handbook with a conduct policy that discusses plagiarism rules and what you could get in trouble for. Student handbooks are long and rather dry reads, but it wouldn’t hurt to look at their plagiarism section and see how to avoid it.

In the end, my professor gave me a chance to redo the paper, and many professors will probably do the same for you if you’re a freshman and it’s a first offense. But still, try to steer clear of this excuse, as there are only very few situations where such an excuse would work and not make you look like a fool.

7. “I didn’t know this would be on the test”

One rule I quickly learned in college is that, with very few exceptions, everything ever taught in a class has the potential to be on the test. You never know when an off-topic subject told by a professor during his incessant ramblings ends up as a bonus question on the final. Even in classes where they offer study guides, don’t get too cozy. It’s possible that they can change their mind and add something in there. Many syllabi even state that everything from class discussions, to assignments, to study guides are testable material.

So the lesson here is that unless your professor specifically states that it won’t be on the test, it has a chance of being on the test. So for you to show up and tell them you didn’t think it would be just makes you seem silly and amateurish.

8. “They called me in to work”

This one is tough because I know many very responsible students who work because they have to, not just because they want some extra cash. Many of them are paying their way through college themselves, or have to support their families with their supplemental income. And many off-campus jobs are not flexible with work schedules. Sometimes they will schedule you at the worst time, and there’s very little you can do about it.

Unfortunately, it is very rare that a professor will accept work as an excuse for not completing an assignment, studying for a test, or especially for not showing up to class. College is expected to be a priority above all else, and if an off-campus job won’t allow you to do that, you are expected to find a different job or to work on campus.

This is easier said than done, I know. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this type of situation. Unless you’re willing to pull an all-nighter after a long evening shift, your best bet is to talk to your boss way in advance to see if he or she is willing to work with you on a particular assignment or test. I’ve found that employers are more flexible if you talk to them early.

9. “You weren’t in your office when I looked for you.”

I get this one a lot, which is especially frustrating for both parties involved since I am out of the office very often. Let me once again refer you to the syllabus. Every syllabus I’ve ever seen has every available method to contact your professors. Office hours, location of office, phone number, cell phone number (for those brave souls), and email address are listed, as well as their preferred method of contact. Telling them that they weren’t in their office tells them that not only did you not look at the syllabus, but that you didn’t attempt to contact them any other way.

And don’t even think about using this excuse if you didn’t actually stop by their office. There’s nothing more embarrassing than telling them you stopped by at a time that they were actually there.

10. “You never said that”

This one should be a no-brainer. How else do you think a conversation would go where you are essentially telling a professor exactly what he or she said or didn’t say? Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put this excuse on here, but I’ve seen it used enough times that I felt it was worth mentioning.

The truth of the matter is that a professor is most likely to know what they did and didn’t say. Even in the rare occurrence that they are mistaken, who do you think they are going to believe: their own memory or yours? Unless you have evidence to back it up, don’t attempt to get into an argument with a professor regarding what he or she didn’t say. You will lose.

For The Win Book Review- Sunkissed

Every now and then on my blog, I’ll review a book that I think may be of interest to college students. It’s also a crafty way of getting me to read for pleasure again. Ever since starting grad school, all my reading became purely scholarly, and I suddenly realized I lost my passion for fiction. As a result, For The Win Book Reviews were born!

Today’s book review is for Sunkissed, by Carys Jones.

(This review was done by Jasmine of the For The Win Review Team)

In the small village of Fandova, Dawn Summers lays dying. Her fiancé, Thomas Weeville, wrings his hands in desperation. Her mother resides in the comfort that her daughter will die soon and be free of the disease. However, that does not come to pass…

Spurred on by his love for Dawn, Thomas seeks a solution to save his ailing bride-to-be. His actions lead Dawn on the path of her destiny – which was set forth by her own father, a powerful and influential supernatural being who’s on the run after consorting with Dawn’s mother.

In her transformation, Dawn is turned by the reclusive and mysterious town doctor, a deceivingly evil and decrepit man. The transformation lends less than desirable results for Dawn, but not Thomas, who greedily sees the new power Dawn has obtained. Through his own efforts, Thomas succeeds in finally embracing the evil which has always rested within his heart. His only shred of humanity left lies in his love for Dawn, who sees only a monster in herself and now with him.

Distraught by Thomas’ post-transformation actions one night, Dawn opens the door, letting the killing sunlight hit her face. It is then that she discovers a secret about herself and her lineage, something of which was prophesied by ancient creatures long ago.

Dawn’s story in Sunkissed is about her transformation and discovery of what she is destined to become – the harbinger of change for all her kind. The author does a good job of capturing the details of Dawn’s and Thomas’ post-transformations and the difference on how they embodied light and dark. However, the first half of the book was choppy in its delivery – requiring smoother transitions between character narrations and point-of-view. The author made progress on her transitions later on in the book, making it more of an enjoyable, but relatively simple, read. Sunkissed does not and will not offer any kind of depth. It is a normal supernatural romance novel that, for this reviewer, only took a couple of hours to finish.

Although the novel did start off choppy and a little dull, it transitioned in the latter half of the story into something more interesting and with smoother transitions. This makes it important to note that the author does need to put more thought into the way her storyline progresses. Pace is an important element in literature. In addition, the ending was a bit abrupt, but the assumption is that this is the first in a series – so this reviewer is a little more forgiving on that aspect. However, it is important to close some elements of the story for the reader, so they are feeling more satisfied with the ending, leaving them excited and willing to read the next book in the series. Sunkissed felt like all the threads were still open even to the very end – nothing felt completely resolved… yet.

As a last note, the author should be more careful when world building. It was difficult establishing where in the U.S. Fandova could have possibly been. One guess is the Midwest but the initial world presented struck as old-world Europe rather than early 1850’s U.S. Midwest – especially with the term “village” rather than “town”, the term that would have been used even in a sparsely populated town like Fandova. Some of the clichés of “going to the West” (or even “Mexico”… Mexico??), which Dawn expressed interest traveling to, seemed stemmed out of a stereotypical and inaccurate “impression” of the U.S. and its history at the time, rather than the actual history and mentality at the time. Given the author’s roots in England, this common impression of U.S. during this time period is understandably but not necessarily excusable. This reviewer wished that the author had taken more time in the first part of her novel when building the location. This may lead to another reason the latter half of the book was more enjoyable from a cultural and historical perspective – given its location in modern New York City. Even to most Europeans, New York City is fairly recognizable and understood.

Overall, Sunkissed rates 3 out of 5 stars. Its drawbacks were not nearly enough to detract this reviewer from wanting to hear the rest Dawn’s sage and how she will change the world while running from an ancient evil and an obsessed ex-lover.

A funny leadership video for you to enjoy

Happy Wednesday to all!

Today I’d like to share with you a funny leadership video my wife and I made to demonstrate a leadership model I created called MICE. It was made for a class project, but I feel it’s relevant enough to this blog to share.   Hope you enjoy! (No actual mice are involved in the making of this video)

Why we should focus less on celebrities and focus more on us

Everyone wants to be rich and famous. Or at least, that’s the impression I’m given through the hundreds of reality TV shows on the air where normal people get their fifteen minutes of fame for doing niche, mundane things. Rich and fame are two powerful adjectives. Having either one or both signifies importance. So in essence, you can say that everyone wants to be important.

When you ask regular folks to name important people, what do you think they will say? George Washington? Martin Luther King Jr? Gandhi? But once you peel back the layers of “politically correct” responses for such a question and judge what people consider important through their actions, it’s easy to see who society considers important. Who is on the mind of your average person at any given time? A movie star? A singer? A football player? It’s easy to see where most of our money goes into: the entertainment industry.

And at its core, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Supply and demand. People want to be entertained, so entertainers entertain, and they get paid. Actors, singers, and athletes get rich and famous, and the executives and professionals who manage them and give them jobs are mostly just rich (though I doubt they’re complaining).

But here is a question I’d like to pose to you today. Why are these people so rich and famous? Could it be because the rest of society is content living their own lives in mediocrity because they can experience exhilaration by following every single thing these important people are doing? Is that why you can get sold out seats to a football game in a 60,000 seat stadium but can hardly fill up a room on voting day for local elections? Is that why newspapers and traditional storytelling are going out of style while tabloids and gossip columns keep getting stronger and more powerful? Is this why some people will obsess more over a royal wedding and the marriage of royalty in another country but neglect their own marriage at home?

Our society has a problem with obsession. Obsessing over all sorts of things, not just celebrities, is pretty common. In a world full of increasing stress and disappointment, it is easy to fall back on something that can give one comfort. For many, it can be food. For others, some sort of hobby. For others, less healthy habits like drugs and alcohol. But one specific sort of obsession that people don’t blink an eye at is celebrity obsessions.

Recently, I’ve noticed the public outcry over casting Ben Affleck as the new Batman in an upcoming Batman and Superman crossover. I’ve noticed an uproar over Miley Cyrus’ performance at the music awards that people would not stop talking about. With college football season almost over, that’s all I’ve been hearing about from fans of their teams, trash talking each other in every chance they get when their teams are set off to face.

And then there’s this image, supposedly meant to be a message as a way to support their team:

I’m not here to get into an argument about political correctness. I’m merely stating that people can sometimes get too involved into the things that they admire. My Facebook feed is filled with people who won’t stop posting about every little thing that any one particular celebrity is doing. Gawking, admiring, obsessing.

If all the time and effort spent into those types of obsessions gets put into one’s own life, could you imagine the possibilities? My question is, how can someone be content living such a plain and simple life while at the same time celebrating the lives of those who live in much more wealth and have much more influence? Many in this world are born, grow up, work a decent-paying job, have kids (maybe), grow old, retire, and die. That’s it. No real lasting impact on the world and they leave about as unknown as they came into this world.

Now, I’m not saying that we should all be drug-induced celebrities that get into scandals and live this shallow perception of fame. But why does not everyone strive to achieve significance in this world? Why doesn’t everyone set their sights on being people like George Washington, Dr. King, and Gandhi? I read this great quote once that said that Mother Teresa and Einstein had just as much time as we do and accomplished great things. What’s our excuse?

I can’t know for certain, but it’s reasonable to assume that important figures throughout history (politicians, scientists, and even celebrities) have striven to earn the significance that they’ve acquired. They set their sights on a really high goal, and they achieved it. What’s there to stop the rest of us from dreaming big? I think the answer for most of us is simple: the work to get there seems too hard and the risk seems too great.

Why try to be important when it’s safer to just live comfortably and follow other important people? And yet, it’s that kind of complacency that allows the rich and famous to become more rich and famous. Predictability. They know that most people will never attempt to reach higher levels of significance than they currently have, and are content with just traditional societal expectations, such as getting a 9-5 job, buying a house, getting a car, filling their house with material possessions they don’t really need, and living a life of debt.

 

So, I leave you here with the following thoughts:

Instead of obsessing over those football players down on the stadium, strive to be that football player down on the stadium.

Instead of following that famous singer in all of her concert tours and staying up until midnight to buy her latest album, attempt to be that singer who can seduce millions with your powerful lyrics.

Instead of complaining about corrupt politicians and the destruction of America, run for office and attempt to make that change yourself.

It’s true, we don’t all have talent in our specific field of interest. But everyone has a talent somewhere. And just like those famous people you see on TV, you need to take risks. They took a risk, and put their talents to the test. So can you. There’s no guarantee you will make it. In fact, it’s statistically impossible that every single person can become particularly significant, since it would be the equivalent of highlighting everything in your textbook.

But take comfort in the fact that you tried, and continue trying for as long as you live. The most dangerous disease that can affect the human race is complacency. Once we stop trying, there is nothing worth fighting for. Once we give up, we’ve lost. Who knows, you may be the next Einstein, the next Abraham Lincoln, or even the next Taylor Swift. But don’t let your own lack of ambition keep you from reaching that dream. When you are on your death bed and looking back at the kind of life you’ve missed out on, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

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