Tag Archives: Education

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.

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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.

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.

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)

14 Life Lessons You Will Not Learn in School

A while back I came across a very interesting article stating 11 rules about life as quoted by Bill Gates. It was very insightful, as they were things that students were not taught in schools. Though Mr. Gates is a pretty smart guy, a quick search on Snopes.com tells us that these rules were incorrectly attributed to him. There are actually 14 rules, and they were written by Charles J. Sykes, author of the 1996 book Dumbing Down Our Kids:  Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, Or  Add.

Someone probably found it easier to cite Bill Gates for those rules than to quote that long title.

I think it’s a very good read, and something that every college student should read before heading off into the real world. Behold, Mr. Sykes’ 14 life lessons you will not learn in school:

Rule No. 1:   Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average  teenager uses the phrase “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a  day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be  the most idealistic generation ever.  When they started hearing it from their  own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2:   The  real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as  your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good  about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated  self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair. (See  Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3:   Sorry, you won’t make  $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or  have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a  Gap label.

Rule No. 4:   If you think your teacher is tough,  wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit  edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5:   Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your  grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it  opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would  have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6:   It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you  are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the  boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn  18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it, or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7:   Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring  as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and  listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you  save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’  generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8:    Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In  some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right  answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped,  lest anyone’s feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of  course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule  No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9:   Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t  get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day.  For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It  just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interested in  fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to  self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10:   Television is not real life. Your life is not a  sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus  time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee  shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer  Aniston.

Rule No. 11:   Be nice to  nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12:   Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look  moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his  mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing  yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13:    You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under  the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is  romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature  lately.

Rule No. 14:   Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are  a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize  how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome.

Read more about it here.

Monsters University offers a surprisingly deep look at college

Pixar’s latest entry in the animated film industry received a lot of mixed reactions upon its announcement. Following in the footsteps of two other PIxar sequels, Toy Story 3 and Cars 2, many figured that Pixar was running out of ideas and had to recycle their existing series into sequels and prequels.

Although Toy Story 3 was met with strong critical acclaim, with a 99% “fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes.com, Cars 2 was met with a 39% “rotten” rating for feeling too much like a cheap cash-in and lacking that Pixar magic that their movies have been known for.

But where does that leave Monsters University? Just like in the original movie, Monsters Inc., the movie takes place in a world inhabited by the monsters that children fear are hiding in their closets. They have their own society, with their own economy, factories, and of course, education systems. As a prequel to the original Monsters University, this movie follows Mike Wazowski who attends Monsters University in an effort to achieve his dream of becoming a scarer.

Make him a few inches taller and that’s me my first day of college.

Let me just say that I went into this movie pretty skeptical. The last two movies I had watched, Cars 2 and Brave, didn’t really impress me much. Monsters Inc, while a good movie, just didn’t appear to me to be the kind of movie that needed a prequel. However, I was pleasantly surprised that not only was this a good movie, but it offered a really nice view of college life through Mike’s eyes, and even ended it with an interesting message that you wouldn’t typically expect from a movie for kids.

Let me explain. At first glance, this movie is just pure fun, providing typical satire of college life, such as the super peppy RAs that you find on campus, to the new roommate, the craziness of sororities and fraternities, and the rigors of academic pressure.

But where this movie really shines is the parts that aren’t so typical for a college movie. At first glance, the relationship between Mike and Sulley when they meet seems to follow the typical movie cliché: nerdy guy meets the cool guy. Cool guy is popular and everything comes easy, whereas the nerdy guy has to fight his way to make it through the top. Cue a rivalry through the whole movie until the nerd comes out on top. Surprisingly, this movie was not as shallow.

Right from the beginning, despite Sulley’s cocky attitude at the beginning due to being son of a famous scarer, he quickly realized that his reputation wouldn’t get him far in class. His lack of care and preparation had him fall behind in class and get a pretty bad tongue lashing from the dean. Meanwhile, Mike’s studying and preparation actually made him a force to be reckoned with in the classroom, quickly becoming the professor’s favorite and impressing the rest of the class. This is quite different than what I expected, which was Mike having to catch up to Sulley through the whole movie.

Their bickering eventually gets them in trouble with the dean, causing them to fail the qualifying exam and kicked out of the college of scaring. This forces the two of them to work together to prove that they can be decent scarers.

The rest of the movie has your typical “ragtag team of losers overcome the odds to win the championship” type of plot, but once again wowed me as it reached the end. The entire point of the movie was Mike’s dream to be a scarer. It is all he wanted since he was a child, and promised himself he’d do whatever it takes to make it. This manifested himself in the scaring competition, where he truly believed in himself, and against all odds, scared the tacos out of the child simulator and won the team the competition. I rolled my eyes after watching this scene, as the whole “you can do it if you believe” schtick is in just about every animated movie you can imagine.

But in an effort to continue to feed me crow, Pixar once again throws another curveball by revealing that Sulley actually tampered with the machine which allowed Mike to win. As it turned out, Mike wasn’t scary at all!

Yeah, that cute face ain’t scaring anyone.

After a series of events, Mike and Sulley end up trapped in the human world, hunted down by a bunch of cops (or were they park rangers?). In the midst of hiding, Mike gives what I believe to be one of the most heart-wrenching, powerful speeches I’ve ever heard come out of an animated character’s mouth.

Earlier in the movie, the dean had these words to say to Mike: “Mr Wazowski, what you lack simply cannot be taught. You’re just not scary.”

After everything he went through, after all his failures, he came to the realization that she was right. He is not scary, and he will never be scary. Mike realized that his dream was wrong, and that he simply could not be something that he was not. Instead, rather than trying to chase after an unrealistic dream, he altered his goals to match his strengths, and together with Sulley, managed to come up with a plan to scare away the cops that were chasing them and find a way back to the monster world.

Despite their victory, they were still kicked out of the university for cheating and consequently trespassing into places they weren’t allowed. The final foot-in-mouth moment I experienced with this movie was towards the end, when Mike and Sulley finally accepted who they were at the bus stop before Mike left. As they were saying goodbye, the dean approaches them to congratulate them for their previous victory in working together to scare full grown adults.

As I’m sure most people watching were expecting, this would be the part where the dean enthusiastically invites them back in, they finish their degree, then claim their place at Monsters University. But that didn’t happen. She did not let them back in. They did not go back to college, any college, and decided to start at the bottom at the Monsters Inc post office. The credits scenes subsequently showed them working their way up to the scaring positions we are familiar with them having.

This movie shares with its viewers a couple of messages that go against the norm of society today.

First, that just because you really, really want it, doesn’t mean you’ll get it. If you do not have the talent to do something, then you just can’t do it, period. Sure, you can work years and years to become adequate at it, but why waste your time becoming adequate on something you’re bad at, when you can be great at something you’re good at?

For example, try as I may, I will never be a great Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps. I’m not 6 feet, 4 inches, for starters, and my wingspan is nowhere near as long as his. Plus, I just suck at swimming. But society today tells me that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. That’s just not true, and as a result, we end up with a bunch of very disappointed kids who were raised with unrealistic expectations. Many people I’ve talked to complained about the downer ending in which Mike never became scary, but instead became a scaring coach. Well, so what? If this were a real life situation, isn’t that what would happen? I applaud Pixar for giving this realistic ending.

The second message that this movie gives us is that college isn’t for everyone. I may get a couple of dirty looks for saying this (especially from other college professionals), but it’s true: college isn’t for everyone. Some people are just not suited to learning in a college atmosphere. But that’s not a bad thing. Society seems to stigmatize people without a college education. Monsters University is unique in that it doesn’t seem to favor one way or the other. Mike and Sulley quit college, but instead gain all their skills by starting from the bottom of the totem pole and working their way up. They become just as competent in their job as the rest of their colleagues.

But let’s take Randall, Mike’s roommate. He stayed and (we assume) graduated from Monsters University, and yet he was also a pretty good scarer. In Monsters Inc, he was shown to go toe-to-toe with Sulley. Is either approach better than the other? Not necessarily. There’s a reason vocational and tech schools have grown rapidly: some students just don’t want or need college for their career goals. On-the-job training is sometimes the best route for them.

Too often is college seen as the only option, and the message is that if you don’t go to college, you are a loser and will never succeed. This is demotivating for students that either can’t afford to go to college, or just can’t succeed in the college classroom setting. Now, granted, I do believe that most people can benefit from a college education, and it’s true, most jobs nowadays won’t even look at you without a college degree, but I still stand by my statement that college isn’t for everyone.

So all in all, this was a really good movie. Pixar has once again managed to raise the bar with quality animation and throw in some wonderful messages without being too preachy. Good show, Pixar, good show.

My only question is, what the heck happened to these guys? I never saw them at Monsters Inc!

Author Interview for college-themed mystery novel at Twinja Book Reviews

As I’m sure you may have noticed by now, I’m a college enthusiast. I love everything about it. So much so, that I wrote a book about it. Instead of going the traditional route with it and writing a “how-to” guide or a research paper, I decided to create a mystery novel set on a college campus.

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The title is called “Halls of Ivy”, and Twinja Book Reviews, a blog dedicated to multiculturalism in fiction, has agreed to do an author interview with me! Find out more about what it took to create a mystery novel with a plethora of characters on a college campus and make it interesting. Plus, there’s a giveaway that ends today at the site for a bunch of different books. Be sure to enter!

A Helpful College Comparison Tool

Hey all,

For today’s post I just want to share with you a neat little tool I found online for comparing different colleges. It is especially helpful for those of you still in high school who are trying to choose the right college or university. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are many different types of colleges available, and choosing the correct one can make a big difference on whether or not you finish with your degree or end up quitting/transferring out.

The website is called Big Future and is a college planning tool with a variety of functions. It offers SAT prep (as well as a bunch of other tests), general college info, as well as financial aid resources and scholarship links. However, the most useful tool I see on there is a pretty neat college comparison tool where you can see up to three colleges side by side in a variety of categories, such as type of college, cost, campus life, financial aid available, and location.

I played around with it for a while, and it’s pretty accurate, so definitely give it a try. This is also helpful for those of you already in college but are looking to transfer or just want a college experience that better fits your needs.

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You can see up to three colleges side by side in a variety of categories

5 ways college gets you a job (besides the degree)

This blog post was created as a result of an interesting conversation I had with a gentleman who firmly believed that college is a waste of time and money. He said, to paraphrase: “You go to school where they don’t teach you anything that will help you in the real world. You finish 4 years and you start from scratch. You have no experience, you’re stuck with absurd amount of debt which you’re getting charged and there’s little chance you’ll get a job in your field.”

The conversation got me thinking about the usefulness of college other than that piece of paper saying that you finished.

My thought is that college is only as useful as you make it while you’re there. Many people go to college under the wrong impression that it’s high school plus. In high school, you merely go to school, your teachers teach you, and you go home. You are mostly a passive learner.

In college, it is a completely different ballgame. You are expected to be an active learner. What this means is that going to class is not enough. It is rare for a student who just goes to class and graduates really gets much out of the college experience, and in that case, I do believe they wasted their money going to college. Even if they get a job, they only got the bare minimums of what college can offer.

Research agrees that most of the learning in college happens outside of the classroom. There are tons of things you can do while in college to make yourself more marketable to employers. Here are a list of suggestions that will increase your skill set and make college a more valuable experience:

Career Development workshops

I’d say around 95% of universities have these. They include resume workshops to teach you how to write an attractive resume, interviewing workshops to practice your interview skills, dress for success for proper business attire for interviews, job hunting techniques, networking techniques, business etiquette, and much more. And best of all, you’ve already paid for them with your student fees. Go to every single one you can. I went to these, and it did wonders in building up my confidence for job hunting. I don’t even fear interviews anymore. I come in to interviews and just chat with the employer with ease, person to person.  It’s all the practice I’ve had beforehand.

Internships

The truth is, you need experience for employers to take you seriously. Internships are the perfect way to get that experience, whether paid or unpaid. The thing is, government has been cracking down on the ability for companies to provide internships. Nowadays, you can only get an internship if it’s for class credit towards your college degree. This is to keep companies from using “internships” as a way for free/cheap labor. But the opportunities are there. Look online, talk to your professors or career services department for internship opportunities in your field. You can theoretically get an internship each summer you’re in college, or even fall/spring semesters if you want. Imagine graduating college with already one or two years of experience in your field? But internships don’t just come to you. You have to work for them to find them and then apply for them.

Campus Organizations

On-campus organizations are really valuable tools. Most colleges have them, and they range in topics. The trick is joining the right ones. Are you a theater major? Join the Drama Club? A female biology major? Join Women in Science? An education major? Try the Student National Education Association. Just about every major has an organization that relates to it. Become an officer in it. Engage in projects with the community or even the organizations you hope to work with that way. Organizations help you meet others in your field with similar goals, and thus networking opportunities. They teach you how to work with a team in a practical setting. You learn leadership skills, things that employers like to see. Projects you complete in the organization are great for resumes. Employers want to see what you do with your free time while in college. They want to make sure you can take a project from beginning to end.

Research projects with professors

The best part about college is that professors aren’t just there to teach. Behind the scenes, they work on numerous research projects, presentations, case studies, and even consulting gigs with firms. Professors generally love to be asked about their work. Talk to them, find out what they are working on. Then ask them if you can work on a project with them. It could either be a project they’ve already started or come up with a new one. This is another great way to gain experience in your field. Your professor more than likely has connections in the industry. If you work with them, there is a high chance they can get you in touch with people that have the power to hire you, especially if you have good work ethic. Thing is, professors don’t just advertise that they’re willing to work with you on these projects, as there are too many students for them to split their time with. They expect you to go to them, and offer up something of value. They want to help you, but they also want to advance their own Curriculum Vitae through completion of these projects.

Life Skills and civic engagement

This one doesn’t directly get you a job after college, but I feel it is an important part of attending college. College provides you a safety net for learning a bunch of life skills. College is the only time in your life when you can make huge mistakes and recover from them relatively easily. Get fired from a job while in college? You can generally bounce back from that once you graduate. Horrible at managing your time when living on your own? Fail that one class and it’ll snap you into reality. You also just learn how to be an adult in a safer environment. You have resources available, such as a free fitness center (usually), counseling center, health/wellness center, career counseling center, minority services center (if you need it), cooking classes, money management tips, parenting classes, Real Estate 101, and all sorts of other things that colleges get funding for to help you learn to live on your own as an adult. College is in part about becoming an adult who contributes to society, and lives interdependently with the community he or she resides in.

My best years were in college. It’s where I met my wife. It’s where I truly grew up and matured. It’s where I got opportunities I would have never had, such as flying a plane, being a television weatherman, and giving a speech to an audience of 10,000 people. My resume is packed to the margins with skills, expertise, experiences, and projects that happened while I was in college, giving me a leg up on the competition.

It’s true, that college isn’t for everyone. But to say it’s a waste of time and money is a stretch. You just need to invest your time into it to reap the rewards.

Related Article:

Top 10 Mistakes College Students Make

10 dorm-friendly items for college students

Moving into a dorm or residence hall isn’t easy. In addition to leaving your comfy room at home, missing your family, and living with a person you’ve never met, you have to deal with the smaller space you have to work with when moving on campus. Here is a list of items that can make your years in college more bearable, if you can scrape up enough money to buy them, that is.

1. Light-up umbrella

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Travelling alone at night through a storm? Rain never fails to appear when you have the longest walk around campus. Prepare yourself with this light-up umbrella for only $22.82. Buy it here.

2. Credit card utility set

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I have one of these myself, and it works really handy in many situations. Armed with a pocket knife, tweezers, toothpick, can opener, and more, it is a great tool for any college student. Get it here.

3. Bubble-wrap calendar

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Who doesn’t like playing with bubble wrap? With a college student’s limited time, this calendar provides you the opportunity to be productive while having fun puncturing those little suckers every day of the year. Get it here.

4. Glow in the dark toilet paper

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You aren’t a college student if you don’t go for those 3am trips to the bathroom after the 4 cans of soda you drank right before bedtime. To prevent unnecessary wiping mishaps, might I suggest this glow-in-the-dark toilet paper to aid you? Get it here.

5. Grocery bag grip

bag grip

If you are unlucky enough to live on a higher floor in your dorm, getting groceries from your car to your room must be a pain. Living in the third floor while I was in college meant several trips back outside to the car, and the parking lot was quite a ways away. This handy tool allows you to carry all your bags at one time so only one trip is needed. You’re welcome.

6. USB charging batteries

usb batteryMost everything uses a power outlet these days, whether to get it to work or to charge its internal battery. But every now and then you’ll come across a pesky item that requires good old batteries, like flashlights, remotes, and digital guitar tuners (for all you musicians out there). These batteries hook up to a usb slot in your computer so that buying new batteries are a thing of the past.

7. Mirror wiper

wiper mirror

You’re running late this morning. You get up, grab your clothes, and run to the bathroom, only to find that your roommate just got out of the shower and fogged up your mirror. Not to worry! This uber expensive mirror wiper clears up your mirror in one simple motion. For those who just refuse to wipe it any other way, the mirror wiper is there for you.

8. Poor man’s Ipad

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Jealous of all the other college students with an Ipad? Upset that it’s apparently a college rite-of-passage that you missed out on somehow? If you’re tight on cash but want to show off, be sure to try out this poor man’s Ipad. Looks just like the real thing, but less likely to break if you stare at it too hard.

9. Bedtime reading glasses

bed glasses

It’s inevitable that you will spend many hours studying for your next exam long into the night. Or, perhaps you like to get some light reading before bedtime. In any case, these really cool glasses allow you to read while laying down, without having to lift your head! It’s the ultimate tool for the lazy. I wonder how many people have fallen asleep using these?

10. Tabletop aquarium

table aquarium

Universities typically don’t allow pets in the dorms, so say goodbye to Spike or Mr. Whiskers when you head off to the big U. However, most colleges do allow a fish aquarium in your dorm. If you want an awesome-looking aquarium without sacrificing the space, check out this sweet tabletop aquarium. It really works! Though be careful, as it is made of pure glass and with a price tag of almost $600, you’d better have a really trustworthy roommate not to break it and flood the room.

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