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student life

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How Being Eco-Friendly at College Can Save You Money

July 10, 2020

Embracing a greener lifestyle is a great way to improve your carbon footprint and help leave a positive impact on the world. But did you know that it can actually save you money, too? Here are some easy ways you can benefit financially from a more eco-friendly college experience

Avoid Single-Use Anything

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the plastic water bottles and to-go coffee cups and opt for a more sustainable option. Every single minute, the world uses one million plastic water bottles, so do what you can to help cut back on that. Take it a step further with reusable grocery bags and avoiding disposable utensils.

Temperature Control

One of your sneakiest expenses can be hiding in your utility bills. Bouncing back and forth between temperatures can be costly, as well as bad for the environment. During warmer months, you’ll probably be tempted to crank the AC in order to stay cool. Instead of turning down the thermostat, you can keep your room cool without using as much energy by getting blackout curtains. You should also make sure that you’re only turning the light when you’re in the room and need it on. Check your air vents, or talk to your landlord or property manager, to make sure they don’t have any dust or debris buildup that could hinder your home’s cooling efficiency. 

Go Digital

Instead of taking notes on paper, try using your laptop or tablet instead. Not only will this save paper, but you’ll be spending less on notebooks and pens. You can even voice record your lectures and listen to them later on. 

Change Your Commute

Consider riding your bike to work. Not only will you incorporate a fun workout into your day, but you’ll also be helping to relieve stress. It can also help you save money on transportation expenses like gas and auto maintenance. If a bike ride doesn’t work for you, look into other options like carpooling or taking public transportation.

Re-think Your Textbooks

Tired of expensive textbooks that you’ll never use beyond that one course? Look into used book options! Many websites and local bookstores offer buy-back programs on previously-used books. Not only will this help you save money in the beginning, but it also gives you the potential to earn money back once you’re done with it. Another great option is to use digital versions of textbooks. Oftentimes you can buy downloadable copies right from the publisher, for pennies on the dollar of what the paper textbook would cost. An added perk? Many of these include updated annotations or dictation, so you can better follow and understand the content as you go. 

Get Thrifty

Why pay full price on anything when you can get great items for a fraction of the cost? Whether you’re looking for a quirky piece of furniture or new clothing, you can find just about anything in thrift stores if you look hard enough. 

Turn it Off

Turning off or unplugging electronics that you’re no longer using is one of the easiest ways to curb your use of power. Hit the lights when you leave a room, and unplug chargers when you’re done using them. Then take it one step further and cut back on your water usage while you shower, brush your teeth, or do the dishes.

Working towards a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. It’s a process, and it’s okay to take as much time as you need to ease into it. Making small changes through the day can lead to lasting effects down the line that your planet, and wallet, will thank you for. 

Adulting Other

Pets on Campus: 3 Rules for Keeping Pets at College

July 1, 2020

For young adults living alone for the first time, college can feel like the perfect time to finally adopt that lizard they weren’t allowed to have growing up; for those who grew up with animals, missing the family dog might feel like a black hole that desperately needs filling. Keeping a pet at college can be wonderful for both the owner, who’s gained a cute friend guaranteed not to copy their physics homework and the pet, who can enjoy companionship and a loving home. In any instance, before getting a pet you need to check with your residence and understand their pet policies. Assuming they do, college living also presents unique logistical challenges that students should take into account before adopting a furry, scaly, or feathery friend.  

  1. Respect your roommates. Since most college students live with other people, sharing a room, apartment, or house, they should take those other people into account when adopting a pet, and take their pet into account when searching for roommates. Dogs and cats, who roam the whole house or apartment and interact with all occupants, absolutely need the buy-in of all roommates if they’re going to enter a living space. Enclosure pets that stay in the owner’s room, like hamsters, lizards, or fish, only need enthusiastic buy-in from the folks living in said room, but everyone in the house should be aware of the animal – especially one that might sneak out of their cage and into other living areas. By making sure their roommates are ok with their pets before they move in, students will both protect their relationship with their roommates and ensure they’re living in an environment that’s good for their animal.     
  2. Respect your limits. College students are often busy, strapped for cash, and uncertain of their future, and pets, for all that they bring joy and companionship into someone’s life, can exacerbate these things. Students looking to get a pet should consider their own limits – on time, funds, travel, living space – before adopting a pet. Even seemingly low-maintenance pets, like cats or gerbils, can be expensive to provide for and have a need for attention and emotional energy from their owners. Animals are wonderful companions, but they’re also a responsibility, and college students should know how many things a pet could add to their already lengthy to-do list before adopting. 
  3. Respect your pet. This is the most important rule of pet ownership, in college or anywhere. While it’s understandable that college students experiencing independence for the first time might be desperate for an animal companion, the college lifestyle is not always good for an animal. For example, busy people living in small apartments should not adopt puppies who need attention all day and room to run – no matter how many cute girls walking said puppy attracts. Nor should people who move at least once a year invest in keeping chickens. The most important thing a prospective pet owner should consider is whether they are in a place to properly care for their pet – not just love, but care for. College students may love their dogs, but if they don’t have time to walk them every day, they’re not able to care for them. It’s a key distinction, and anyone looking to adopt a pet needs to be honest with themselves about their answer. 

Keeping a pet in college can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult. Of course, those struggling with the logistical challenges of pet ownership shouldn’t resign themselves to a life without animal companionship; some colleges bring “stress animals” to campus to help students relax during exams, and any town will need pet sitters and animal shelter volunteers. Everyone has room for animals in their life, if not their apartment. 

Adulting Other

The College-Bound Guide to Insurance: Be Sure You’re Protected as You Head Off to School

June 26, 2020

College students need a lot of supplies for college life. From bedding to electronics to school supplies, the costs can add up. In 2017, families spent as much as a mortgage payment or more on school supplies and that’s not counting tuition!

Is your college investment protected? Certain insurance products can help your family protect what you’ve invested in your student’s college experience, from personal property, to the cost of a trip to the campus health center during flu season.

In The Residence Halls

You’re probably bringing a laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, speakers, dorm decor, clothes, and school supplies with you to college. Maybe you’ll even bring a bike or some furniture. The cost of these belongings can add up – what would you do if they all needed to be replaced due to a fire on campus? Or if your big-ticket items, like your laptop or bike were stolen – could you afford to replace them? Insurance can help you and your family protect your belongings if you face a loss or damage because of a covered reason, like theft, fire or water damage.

There are two primary types of insurance that can help you and your family protect your belongings while you’re at school: homeowners and renters insurance. If your parents have a homeowners insurance policy, you may already be covered, but be sure to check the specifics of the policy. Many homeowners policies will only cover full-time students living on campus, and often at a percentage (usually 10%) of the policy limits. Be sure to take into consideration the deductible, as well as a claim’s effect on the premium. Renters insurance can be a good alternative in these areas, as renters plans typically feature low deductibles and often low monthly rates.

To make the most of your insurance protection, you should create a home inventory of everything you’ve brought with you to school and how much it cost. Taking photos and carefully taking a record of everything you have will make it much easier to determine what has faced a loss if you need to make a claim. The total cost could surprise you, and knowing how much all of your stuff is worth can help you determine whether 10% of your homeowners limits or the limits you chose on your renters insurance policy are adequate protection.

The New York Insurance Association recommends that students ensure they have adequate insurance protection as well as taking a common-sense approach to protecting their valuables. They offer these tips to help students be mindful of their belongings:

  • Leave valuables at home if possible – While it may be necessary to take a computer or sports equipment to campus, other expensive items, such as valuable jewelry, luxury watches or costly electronics, should be left behind.
  • Mark your electronics – Label electronic items such as computers, televisions and portable devices like iPods with the student’s name or other identifying information that can help police track the stolen articles.
  • Always lock your room door and keep your keys with you at all times, even if you leave briefly. And not just at night—most residence hall thefts occur during the day. Insist your roommates do the same.
  • Do not leave belongings unattended on campus. Whether you are in class, the library, the dining hall or other public areas, keep book bags, purses and laptops with you at all times. These are the primary areas where property theft occurs.

Health

Newfound independence, the stress of classes, dining hall food, all-nighters, community living, partying – the college lifestyle, if unchecked, can take its toll on students’ health. Many schools require that students have health insurance, and for good reason: it can help protect students and their families from the high costs of medical treatments in the case of an injury or illness, like a sports injury during an intramural game or a case of mono.

Many schools offer students a health insurance plan, but often the most inexpensive option is for students to remain on their parent’s plan. Under health care law, young adults are allowed to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. Check with your parents to see if their plan may be an option or speak with a licensed insurance agent to see what’s available to you.

In addition to health insurance, there are many ways students can take control of their well-being throughout the semester by setting time aside to eat well, exercise and manage stress:

  • Eat right. There’s a lot of temptation in the dining halls, but adding a side salad and ensuring that you get protein and vegetables and fruits each day will go a long way to giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. It is important to maintain a varied diet and stay away from eating the same bowl of cereal for dinner everyday.
  • Stay hydrated. Swap sugary drinks for water. Getting 8 glasses a day can help fend off fatigue and keep you feeling good. It can be helpful to carry a water bottle such as a Hydro Flask with you to avoid becoming dehydrated during class.
  • Get sleep. It can be difficult to get enough sleep when there are so many deadlines, due dates, and social events, but you should do your best to get in bed at a reasonable hour and if not, take a nap during the day. Sleep helps your immune system and can help you retain information, so you’re not studying in vain!
  • Manage your stress. College comes with an inevitable amount of stress, but setting aside time to deal with it will make it much easier. Exercise, taking time to relax, reading a book for fun or setting aside an hour to catch up on your favorite show each week will help you unwind and appreciate the many opportunities college presents. If the stress of college life is too much, there are many resources on campus that you can turn too. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • Get moving. Exercise is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, and not only will it help you stay healthy, but it will also make you feel good too. Exercise for at least 30 minutes several times a week and try to walk as much as possible. Getting your blood pumping will relieve stress and help you study smarter. Your school may even offer fun classes such as spin or yoga which you can attend with your friends.

Tuition

Perhaps the largest expense of all, more than airfare, a laptop, gas or a flu shot, is tuition for many families. Luckily, this too can be protected by insurance. Tuition insurance can help refund lost tuition if a student should be forced to completely withdraw from school due to a covered reason. Many schools do not refund most tuition after the first couple weeks of the semester, which could leave many college families vulnerable. Be sure to check your school’s refund policy, which you should be able to find on their website, and consider whether you need more protection than it affords.

Travel

Whether it’s traveling to campus from home, traveling to study abroad, or bringing a car to campus, insurance can help protect students from costs that may arise if things don’t go according to plan, like a health issue abroad, a canceled flight or fender bender while at school. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider insurance protection.

Car insurance is required if you bring a car to school. Look for a plan that gives you adequate coverage, though you may have to spend more to get more coverage, it will minimize your exposure. Speak with an agent about what coverages are right for your vehicle. Don’t forget to ask if you qualify for a “good student” discount – you could save 5-15%!

Depending on how far away from home your school is or where you travel to during the school year, travel insurance could be beneficial to you and your family. Travel insurance has different levels of features that you can customize for your trip. Most people think of travel insurance as just covering airline ticket reimbursements in case something goes wrong, but it can also protect you financially if you lose your luggage or need to be airlifted to better healthcare, depending on the plan you select.

Insurance can help college students and their families protect their investment in education. Some of these protections may be beneficial to your family, while some may not. It depends on your situation and risk tolerance. If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage for college, speak with an insurance agent for more information. Have a wonderful and safe semester!

Adulting Other

Helping Students Transition into a Remote Learning Environment

June 26, 2020

For most of us, life today looks almost nothing like it looked just a few short months ago. The world’s major cities are virtual ghost towns. Schools and businesses worldwide are shuttered. Airports are mostly empty, as are our highways and interstates.

And “the college experience” meant something very different in the Spring of 2020 than it used to. If you’re an educator or administrator used to working with students in a traditional on-ground environment, chances are you’re going through quite an adjustment crisis yourself.

But now, more than ever, your students need you. And supporting them through this transition into the remote learning environment is going to mean more than finding new ways to teach your standard content. It’s also going to mean providing your students with the emotional support and practical advice they need to accommodate this new normal.

First Things First

The shelter-in-place orders that have been instituted virtually nationwide have meant that many colleges and universities have closed their dorms with very little advance notice. And, unfortunately, not every student is going to have parents, relatives, or friends to crash with until this crisis passes.

Supporting your students means helping to ensure they have their most essential needs met first before you start worrying about getting back to your curriculum. You may need to help students locate resources in their community to help with basic needs like housing and food. 

You can also advise them on strategies they can use to quickly secure safe and affordable housing on their own. Students might consider renting out a bedroom or motel room, or converting a shed or RV into their new, if temporary, digs.  

Tricking Out the Tech

Once students have safe and affordable shelter to ride out the pandemic, then they can start worrying about getting themselves set for online learning. Again, though, this could be a challenge for some students, particularly those who may have been relying on on-campus resources for their tech needs.

Fortunately, most communities, even in rural areas, now have access to at least 4G LTE network speeds. That means that students should be able to get fast, secure, and reliable access from their smartphones or tablets. 

Best of all, a host of productivity tools are available for download on Android and iPhone at low or no cost, including Google Docs and Microsoft Office. To be sure, “attending” online classes and doing homework on your smartphone isn’t exactly ideal, but it’s doable. And if this pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s how to make do.

Building a Virtual Community

And when it comes to making do, teachers have always been pros. Now is no different. You probably never could have imagined that you’d be ending the semester and potentially teaching a new one in front of a computer screen rather than standing before a sea of bright young faces, eager for summer break.

But here you are, and while teaching online is not the same as teaching on the ground, there are a few important similarities. The first, and most important, is the need to turn your class into a community. In fact, that particular need is more important than ever, as your students grapple with the fears, uncertainties, and, yes, the loneliness of lockdown. Fortunately, for many of you, the semester was well underway when the pandemic hit, meaning that you and your class had already had time to build strong relationships. 

Now is the time to affirm and strengthen those bonds, to provide a sense of continuity for your students, even as you transition to online learning. Continue to model the empathy, compassion, and humanity you have shown all semester, even though you must now do it from a distance. Your students need that now more than ever.

When you’re teaching online, it’s imperative that you model the same passion and the same level of presence that you exhibited on-ground. Try to be active and “visible” every weekday in your online classroom, from posting announcements to actively and frequently contributing to discussion forums. 

Be as positive and encouraging in your public communications as possible. Remember, also, that your students don’t have the benefit of your body language or tone of voice, so soften your written communications and use mild humor, if any. Provide emojis (used judiciously) to temper what may be read as a harsh or critical message, and be as clear and specific as possible in your instructions and class requirements. 

Not only will all this help your students succeed in the class, but it will also help them feel more confident and more engaged in the work. And it can provide a sense of normalcy and accomplishment in these troubled times.   

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Career Other

5 Must-Know Resume Tips for College Students

June 17, 2020

For those in college or recently graduated, landing that first job can be a daunting experience. Many may be discouraged by their lack of experience, while others worry about problems in their academic record. If your greatest selling point is your education, how can you compete with other applicants?

Here are five must-know resume tips for college students and recent graduates about to enter the job market. 

1. Lead with education.

As you move up in your career, the work experience section of your resume will become more important and should be placed at the top. At this stage in your life, your educational experiences are your greatest strength. By placing them at the top, you can help make up for your limited work experience.

Keep in mind a few things though. Consider leaving out your GPA if it’s below 3.4. It’s not a requirement to include it. Also, because you are a college student with limited work experience, consider including more than just the name of your college and graduation date. Things like relevant coursework, group projects, and even clubs and organizations should all be considered.    

2. Include relevant experience instead of work experience.

Work does not necessarily have to be paid in order to have value. With this in mind, don’t think just because you have no paid work experience that this means there’s nothing for you to mention on your resume. The trick here is to think of the work experience section more as a practical experience section. 

This can involve much more than unpaid internships. Volunteer work can also be included to show the skills and experience you’ve accumulated. Think of opportunities where you had to take on important responsibilities. Were you an officer in those student organizations you joined? What projects did you work on? What events did you help facilitate? 

3. Write a custom cover letter for each job.

As important as resumes are, they alone will not get you an interview offer. Resumes work best when coupled with a cover letter customized to each job you apply for. While it may not seem worth the effort after spending so much time on your resume, one study by a nation-wide resume company, ResumeGo, illustrates that not including a cover letter can be a big mistake.

The results of that study found that applicants with cover letters carefully tailored to each job yielded just over 50% more interviews than those without. Interestingly, applications with generic, cookie-cutter cover letters fared only slightly better than applications with no cover letter. 

4. Take advantage of resume builders.

The rookie mistake college students make is starting their resume writing process off with a blank Word document. Instead, there are resume builders online such as Kickresume and Resume Genius that can really make writing your resume a lot easier while also providing various prebuilt resume templates to work with and pick from.

5. Take advantage of your career counselors.

The career center exists…please, take advantage of what they have to offer! Career counselors are specially trained to help college students strengthen their resumes and prepare them for career success. 

Even if you might not have a strong connection with your assigned counselor, they will likely provide a far more extensive critique of your resume and job documents than any average Joe Schmoe online or resume service. While getting advice online isn’t always the worst idea, know that as a student, you have access to far more reliable resources – so use them!

Even though the job application process can be intimidating, having a good resume is always the solid first step! These tips are sure to get your resume to stand out among the crowd.

Other Transition

7 Activities For Students While Learning Remotely

June 17, 2020

The rapidly-spreading COVID – 19 outbreak is devastating the world and putting billions of people’s lives at stake. Many educational institutions all over the world are being closed to contain the spread of this virus. 

As Covid-19 demands social distancing, most students are experiencing isolation, away from their schools, colleges, teachers, and classmates. Many student are likely feeling restless while they are at home. Students can take it this as a challenge and engage themselves in activities which can increase their knowledge and boost their personal growth.

So, let’s check out these 7 activities that can help students to make the best of their time during the COVID – 19 outbreak.

Study efficiently at home

During the lockdown, students can focus on their studies at home by revising their old lessons. They can go through the important questions and look for answers. They can also reach out to others for help if needed.

Maintain a routine

Many famous psychologists believe that maintaining a daily routine can help people to maintain good mental health during a crisis. 

Due to the lockdown students are falling out of their routine. As a result, they are having difficulties both physically and mentally. To get out of this situation, students should keep a personal planner to remember upcoming deadlines for projects and exams. They may also schedule a time for important nonacademic activities, such as exercise and video calls with friends

Use modern technology for learning

Students can’t access their school during the lockdown. So, to maintain the standard learning procedure, they may use smartphones or tablets to connect with their teachers/classmates and get enough study materials to learn at home. They can also use online training software on their tablets or phones. Students just need to plug their headphones, concentrate on learning, and forget about anything else for the time being.

Learn a different language

Students could spend their idle time learning a new language during the lockdown period. It will be easier through different apps such as:

  • Duolingo
  • Tandem 
  • Google Translate
  • Language Drops
  • Quizlet
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Memrise
  • Mondly
  • MosaLingua Crea
  • 50Languages
  • HelloTalk

Learning a language is a valuable skill which might create great opportunities for students to grow their career and prepare for life after college.

Work on group projects

Students should join online group studies with their classmates. This way they can improve their knowledge, grow a deep understanding of their lessons, and also be able to reduce the level of anxiety and stress. Students may be able to study in groups and join in constructive discussions via videoconferencing, message boards, and group chats.

Join an online book club

Students may also start an online book club with friends. Via a group video conference call, they may select a few books, choose a story, set a reading time, and discuss the book with friends.

Learn how to cook

Apart from studying, students may learn to cook or start helping their parents to cook. This is a great way to spend time with family and learn something useful. Do not forget, COVID – 19 has negatively affected women in a variety of ways. So, help your mom, sister, and grandma as much as possible. 

Though things are different right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t make accommodations to make things feel normal again. Make use of these tips to get the most out of these strange times.

Author Bio- Patricia Sanders is a financial content writer. She is a regular contributor to debtconsolidationcare.com . She has been praised for her effective financial tips that can be followed easily. Her passion for helping people who are stuck in financial problems has earned her recognition and honor in the industry. Besides writing, she loves to travel and read various books. To get in touch with her (or if you have any questions regarding this article) email her at sanderspatricia29@gmail.com.  

Health Other

Hard Time Sleeping? Here Are a Few Reasons Why

June 11, 2020

Understandably, there will be times in your college career that you have a hard time sleeping – sometimes, you might think pulling an all-nighter is the best way to get ahead with your studying. Other times, you might be consumed with anxiety over a difficult class. Or there could be other reasons you’re chronically having trouble getting quality sleep. Looking at those potential areas of trouble can help you to both improve your health and your concentration, and ultimately help you to do better in school.

Screen Time

As a college student in the digital age, you’re certainly getting a lot of screen time. Maybe you’ve got online homework, carry a smartphone, and you have easy access to other media on streaming services and social platforms. It’s easy to lie in bed at the end of the day and scroll through your phone, but this could be affecting you as you try to fall asleep. Research shows that screen time, especially right before bed, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. In fact, a study shows sleep can be interrupted in direct correlation with how much time you spend with your screen, meaning that 15 minutes of screen time might mean four minutes of less sleep, and so on.

Additionally, if you’re still in your teens or early twenties, your brain is still developing. Research shows your prefrontal cortex – the area in charge of higher reasoning – is still formulating up to age 25. Restorative sleep is vital in promoting a healthy brain, including cognitive function, hormone regulation, and metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, and other health issues. Turn off your screens – including your phones, iPads, laptops, desktop computer, and TV – two hours before you go to sleep to help your body understand that it’s time to shut down and get the restorative rest that you need.

Stress

College has its fun and joyful experiences and is a time to make new connections with your peers, and maybe even enjoy a social gathering or two. But there’s also a lot of stress – you may be living away from home for the first time, and there may be stress associated with living in close quarters with people you don’t really know well (and maybe aren’t compatible with). You may have been excited to start your college courses and have added on one too many classes. You may be changing your eating habits, exercise habits, and overall routine. All of it is a disruption, and it’s natural that you may face some disruption in your sleep as well.

A few tips can help you to manage the stress that can lead to sleep disruption. Take an honest look at your class schedule – you may be interested in that 300-level course in philosophy, but do you need to take it this semester? While your university experience is a time to explore different academic areas, work with your advisor to ensure you’re first getting the required courses in and not overloading yourself with classes, especially as you’re adjusting to college life. Make sure you have some healthy time just for you. Look into your college’s extracurricular offerings such as yoga and meditation classes for an extra way to relax– the time spent will pay off in better sleep and, therefore, a clearer mind.

Diet

It’s super easy to rely on pizza deliveries and junk food, especially when you’re stressed and short of time – but a poor diet, even for resilient young people, can actually increase your stress and therefore make it harder to sleep. While you may feel invincible in your twenties, a poor diet can have a long term impact on your health, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Think of it like starting a savings account – you may not have much in there to begin with, but it all adds up the older you get.

Take advantage of your college’s meal plan. Hit the salad bar and take advantage of the healthier offerings like vegetables, whole grain offerings, and fresh fruit. Or, if you’re on your own for meals and short of time, grab the pre-made salads and healthy meals from the grocery store. Additionally, stay away from the Red Bull and caffeine-boosters, to pull those all-nighters (which are terrible sleep interrupters anyway). And while you may have plenty of opportunities to socialize after hours, lay off the alcohol, which despite being a depressant, can actually cause you to lose quality sleep.

Remember, your college also may have free opportunities to see a counselor if your insomnia, stress, or alcohol use become problematic. Remember that you’ve made a major life change by starting your college career, and seeking additional help to adjust may be just the extra hand you need to sleep easier.

Career Other

Self-Management Tools To Boost Your Personal Growth

June 5, 2020

The world around you cannot enhance your personal growth; only you can. The person who has the most to do with your personal growth is you. Self-management is the focus of personal growth coaching, and the application of these strategies has deep implications in the achievement of your goals. If you are interested in self-managing all the aspects of yourself, here is a guide to self-management for personal growth.

Attendance Tracking for Personal Growth

The best thing about the technological revolution we experience today is the app market that offers a full range of solutions for personal growth. A simple search on the app store reveals a host of the to-do list, reminder, file storage apps, and more that will help you manage the most valuable commodity on earth, time. For students, business owners, and managers, there is a wide range of apps that are developed with all new and cool features that make work easier. With the right app, you can improve your daily performance and that of your employees.

There’s an app for everything nowadays. For example, the employee attendance tracker app is good because it allows you to get everything done faster. 

Self-Management Skills for your Personal Growth

It is easy to underestimate the little decision you make in a day and the implications they have in your personal growth. Everyone seems to be consumed with studying, household chores, and work-related tasks. By applying these self-management skills and proper use of your time, you’ll be able to perform tasks with the highest efficiency.

  1. Practice positivity every day

The benefits of thinking positive thoughts daily are well established. Whether you want to achieve something you haven’t done before or you are working on your new year resolutions, a positive mindset will keep you going when things get tough. Unfortunately, the real obstacle to practicing positivity is the fact that the human brain is hard-wired to focus on threats and negativity. So how can you tap into the power of positivity? Here are some tips:

  • Learn to identify negative talk
  • Train your brain to focus on the positive
  • Remember to take time to appreciate what you are grateful for
  1. Cultivate self-awareness

Are you using the limited time you have to work on your personal growth and development, or are you running around in circles? Are you confident and aware of who you are? Self-awareness is a skill that allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, your triggers, and motivators.  It places a deep emphasis on your inner world, thoughts, and emotions. Here is what you can do to enjoy the tremendous benefits of self-awareness:

  • Create a personal space to connect with your inner self
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Pay attention
  • Process your thoughts into a journal
  • Ask for feedback and gain different perspectives
  1. Stress management

How do you react to stress? It is important to practice stress management techniques. Stress management techniques can increase the happiness and satisfaction you feel in your life. You should not wait until stress damages your mental, physical, and psychological health, as well as the relationship, productivity, and quality of life. Try these simple techniques to relieve stress:

  • Identify the cause
  • Positive self-talk
  • Try stress-busting activities like reading, art, socializing and more
  • Review your lifestyle and eat healthily
  1. Responsibility

Do you take ownership of the success and failure in your personal life? Taking responsibility allows you to choose how you respond to the challenges you face in life. It is a step closer to become self-managed. The problem is that many people will never master the skill of taking responsibility for their actions. Here are some of the strategies to take responsibility:

  • Ask for feedback
  • Re-engage people
  • Stop blaming
  • Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings
  1. Be productive

It might seem easy to grow yourself on a personal level. But it is not. It doesn’t matter what you read or the technique you use, the only way to boost personal growth is to become more productive. What do highly productive and successful people have in common? Here are tips to become more productive:

  • Focus on the important task
  • Cultivate deep work
  • Avoid distractions
  • Take breaks
  • Eliminate efficiencies

Your Turn

Everyone wants to grow on a personal level. Whether that means adding a degree or becoming a better father, there’s a lot you can do when you master self-management. That’s how people manage to get things done.

Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. She is a content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of business. If you are interested in an entrepreneur or lifestyle, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn. She has good experience and knowledge in the field.  

Other Transition

Do Standardized Tests Measure Educational Quality?

May 28, 2020

Standardized tests play a key role in today’s education system. They can take the form of aptitude tests that measure scholastic readiness or achievement tests that measure subject-specific knowledge. But how well do standardized tests measure educational quality?

Arguments in Favor of Standardized Tests

There are various arguments in favor of standardized tests. Here are the main reasons why they are good for measuring educational quality.

Standardized Tests Enable Consistent Assessment

Every teacher grades pupils differently. When college admissions committees only see overall grade point averages, nuances between teachers with higher and lower expectations are lost. So, standardized testing can act as a balancing force. Standardized tests can provide colleges with objective data with which they can compare prospective candidates.

Standardized Tests Prepare Students for College

If students attend high schools that do not offer advanced placement courses or a large number of extracurricular activities, standardized testing can enable students to set themselves apart from their high schools. Tests like the ACT and SAT give students the chance to show they are smart and motivated, so they will not be judged on their high schools when applying for college. And passing some specific standardized tests is required to gain entry to some degree programs. For instance, passing the Law School Admission Test is vital for prospective law school students. As for LSAT dates and deadlines, the test is held four times a year, in February, June, September or October, and December, and the registration deadline is about one month before the test date.

If students are enrolled in highly competitive high schools, standardized testing can also be beneficial. That is because it enables students to show they are intelligent and qualified, even if being in a class of many high-achieving students prevents them from being top of their classes.

Arguments Against Standardized Tests

Opponents of standardized tests typically say the test promotes a teaching-to-the-exam study method, meaning students only learn-and-repeat what is required by the curriculum. The opponents say that undermines students’ abilities to innovate and critically think. They, therefore, believe that standardized tests are not the best way of measuring student performance.

Teaching to the Test

Standardized testing means the main focus is on obtaining high grades. That means teachers feel compelled to teach students solely so that they can pass the tests. And in some schools, teachers spend less time teaching the arts and social sciences because they feel it is more important to prepare students for standardized tests in areas like math and English. That can lead to a less-rounded education for students.

Multiple Choice Tests

Standardized tests consist of multiple-choice questions or open-ended questions, and some feature both. Opponents of standardized tests that only use the multiple-choice format say the tests are too simplistic and do not reflect accurate student intelligence. On the other hand, tests that feature open-ended questions enable students to show their knowledge and apply critical thinking, often through extended responses.

Final Thoughts

Standardized tests are good because they are quantifiable and enable comparisons. But, as noted above, there is a negative side to standardized testing. There are other measures that can show how well schools and students are performing, such as graduation rates, enrollments in advanced placements and other college prep courses, and college remediation rates for recent high school graduates.

So, do standardized tests measure educational quality? Yes, they do. However, if they are used as the sole source of measuring educational quality, they are not wholly reliable. Standardized tests should be just one of many measures that are used to evaluate students’ abilities and their readiness for college or a career.

Career Other

8 Opportunities to Take Advantage of at Your First Job Out of College

May 28, 2020

So, you’ve finished college. Welcome to the real world! Your first job out of college is more than just a paycheck. It’s an opportunity for growth and stepping stones towards the future you’ve always dreamed of. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new job.

Be Smart with Your Paid-Time Off

Make sure you know the difference between your company’s sick leave, vacation, and paid-time-off policies so that you can get the most of your time away from the office. Even if you don’t get sick often, you can still take advantage of your sick days if you ever find yourself in a funk and just need a break. And while some companies let you roll your PTO over into the next year, others might not, so make sure you read the fine print before booking your next getaway.

Get Life Insurance

Take advantage of any life insurance your company offers. Funeral costs can really add up, so it’s best to be prepared. Plus, if you invest in life insurance early on, your investment can be used for other things. Some life insurance policies have cash value, which means you can use the money like a savings account in case you find yourself in need of an extra push on a rainy day.

Don’t Do it For the Money

Let’s face it: you’re probably not going to be raking in your dream salary when it comes to your first job after college. Instead of focusing on how much (or little) you’re making, look at your first post-college job as an opportunity to grow through new experiences. Find things to motivate you throughout the day that aren’t based on money. You’ll be more likely to open yourself up to opportunities that you may have otherwise turned down, which can help you open valuable professional doors down the line.

Health and Wellness

Health benefits can go beyond health insurance. Many companies offer perks such as gym memberships, counseling services, or discounts on services like massages. Doing what you can to balance both your physical and mental wellbeing is a simple way to get the most out of your job, while also taking care of yourself.

Network

Whether you’re just shy or like to play lone-wolf, it’s time to realize how vital building relationships can be. Every single person you meet will know something you don’t, and networking is the ultimate way to tap into that potential. Take the time to get to know people, and show genuine curiosity. Then take it one step further by branching out of who you would normally interact with to expand your network. Just remember that this is a two-way street, so remember to be authentic and don’t expect any favors.

Switch Up Your Commute

Save money and the planet by taking advantage of alternate commuter options. Some companies offer public transportation packages. Instead of driving, you can use the extra time to unwind or focus on the sights along the way or gather your thoughts before work. If that isn’t an option for you, consider looking into carpooling or ride-sharing. Carpooling can save you money and time. It’s also a great way to curb vehicle maintenance costs by prolonging the life of your car.

Employee Assistance Programs

Many companies offer programs that are designed to help employees in a crisis. These programs could range anywhere from substance abuse help, legal counsel referrals, or financial counseling. There are even some with help for things like daycare, veterinary services, and other personal or work-related problems.

Be Upfront

At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do is be upfront in the hiring process. Stay in touch with your human resources department, and let them know that you’re interested in benefits. They’ll appreciate the honesty, and be more than happy to do what they can to help you stay healthy.