Posted in College

Orientation

So today I helped out at a new student orientation session at my school, and I was very impressed with the students who attended. When I did my orientation at a university, I was terrified! I was so awkward and shy and nervous. I saw people who walked out of there having made friends, but I was too intimidated to really try. I didn’t know what to say or do.

Today, at the community college, I got to speak one-on-one with a few students and then see the group as a whole. I stood in my college t-shirt and directed people to a lecture room in one of the newer buildings, where they would learn about financial aid. Others from the second half of the group needed to go to the learning center, and I walked with a couple of them there.

The thing about a university is that there’s a lot of diversity; there are people from different towns and cities and states and even countries. I am excited to see some of that diversity at the community college level! I talked with an engineering student, a graphic design student, and a general studies student, whom I previously knew from high school. I observed people of different ages, though most of the students looked like they were recent high school graduates. As I held open the door for people walking in, a lot of the students said thank you.

I noticed a few different types of students. There were the people who looked a little shy and nervous about orientation and others who were talking to people they previously knew. Some seemed to become comfortable with campus right away. Overall, I was impressed with their levels of excitement and participation. It seems like we have some good students coming in!

Advertisements
Posted in College

Confessions

It’s amazing who people really are. I don’t just mean who they are when they know people are watching–I mean who they are underneath it all. I could go into a lot of psychological detail here, but this post isn’t really about psychology. It’s about confessions, and we’ll begin with the potential anonymity of social media.

Social media allows you to become someone you’re not. You can have a new name, new face, new hobbies, and new friends. At least, it seems that way. At the end of the day, you’re still you. Your face is still your face, and unless legally changed, your name is still your name. Your virtual friends may also be displaying different personalities. Of course, social media isn’t always anonymous. Many a cyberbully have allowed their rudeness to be attached to their name and profile picture. And all of this probably exists in the world I’m going to talk about, a world that I didn’t discover until I actually became a college student: confession pages.

A confession page is a sort of online community for college students. It is usually geared toward a specific institution and can be found on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Usually, the page’s name is something along the lines of “University Name Confessions,” and college students can anonymously submit confessions. It is a great way to get things off your chest without having to publicly attach confessions to your name. You can also see what issues other students at your school are facing, and it can be comforting to know that other students struggle with similar problems you may face.

The university I used to attend had a confession page. Students, myself included, would scroll down and read confession after confession. I always wondered who posted certain things. The style of writing or the subject matter would sound like someone I knew at the small university, and I was curious. It was also a surprise to see what kind of people were on campus. That girl who posts in frustration because her roommate smokes in the bathroom or always has people over or blares the tv at full volume when others are trying to study. The guy who posts about how rude someone was earlier that day. You get a glance at who some of your peers really are.

There are some disadvantages to these confession pages. First, it’s easy to apply the traits of the OPs to a school’s entire student body. Then there are those people who write up fake and ridiculous confessions–whether it’s for attention or boredom, I don’t really know. It’s aggravating, either way. Confession pages can also be a platform for cyberbullying, though I have seen many people offering to lend listening ears, a shoulder to try on, and resources, such as university counseling centers, to students who are struggling. Other times, people who express unpopular beliefs may receive criticism from commentators. Political and religious views are especially attacked, even if the view is relevant to the confession.

Confession pages, like most other things, have their pros and cons. I visit my old school’s page occasionally, but I am usually disappointed by what I find there. There are heartfelt confessions, though, and when I read those, I know there are people who understand the purpose of this page and who are reaching out.

Posted in Uncategorized

Textbook Blues

One frustrating aspect of attending almost any postsecondary institution is the cost of textbooks. When looking up book price information, the results can be shocking. Who pays $100 or more for a textbook? The answer is college students.

Some people decide that the textbook is not worth spending hard-earned money on and simply choose not to buy it. Others feel obligated to purchase the textbook but never even open it during the semester. I’m going to discuss some money-saving tips and the pros and cons of going without the book.

Purchasing Textbooks

The great thing about books is that they can be reused. The shiny, pretty, new copy of the text may look nice, but it also will probably cost more. Many college bookstores offer used books at a discounted price. While these books may be a bit worn, they may contain student notes from previous years, especially highlighted passages of the text. These highlighted sections may or may not prove helpful and should not be completely relied on, but it gives you an idea of what was important in at least one instructor’s class. Some towns also have discount textbook stores that can help save some cash. And there’s purchasing on the internet from sites like eBay or Amazon. The thing with that is that you have to enter payment information online, and that always requires caution.

It’s mine!

Regardless of the way you purchase your textbook, it becomes yours. You can write in it, get grease stains on it, etc. Depending on the class the book is for, you might consider keeping your book for future reference. If you’re a psychology major and you’re taking a general psychology class, it might not hurt to hold on to that book for the information it provides. Even if your major and the book’s subject matter are unrelated (Example: music major and statistics book), you might decide to keep it anyway! Maybe you found it interesting or see a future use for it.

And then again, maybe you want to get rid of this book. Well, depending on your bookstore’s policies, you can sell your book back to the college bookstore. Sometimes, they will require you to have purchased the book in their store and present a receipt. Other bookstores will simply buy back books, or you can take it to a local discount textbook store. Then another student with a tight budget can enjoy the lower price of a used textbook.

Renting Textbooks

Renting textbooks can also help save some money. Many college bookstores offer this option to students. A student will typically bring the book up to the cashier, sign a rental agreement, pay the amount to rent, and receive a receipt with the return date. Renting and using prices may be very similar or vastly different. You can also rent books online through sites like Barnes and Noble. Again, this requires monetary transactions through the internet, so if you don’t want to risk it, it should be pretty simple to rent from the bookstore. Plus, you won’t have to worry about shipping the book back on time.

Old Editions

So there’s book that you’re supposed to buy. The eighth edition, which is what’s required, is like $60.  However, you found a slightly beat-up copy of the seventh edition on eBay for a buck. What to do, what to do. Some editions only have slight differences, but it’s a good idea to e-mail your instructor and ask if the previous edition will be suitable for his or her class.

“I don’t need the book.”

In some classes, this may be true. However, others require you to have the textbook, even if there are few assignments that utilize it. The textbook is your reference for the class. This is not high school, where you are told to read pages 30-72, copy the words in bold print, and answer all the questions at the end of the section review during classtime. Your instructor might give you optional assignments that he or she will not collect for a grade but can be beneficial in your learning. And that’s what you’re there and paying the money for, right? To learn?

I personally love having the textbook. Skimming through the text and taking some reading notes has helped me tremendously in learning and understanding key concepts (and minute details) that have appeared on the test. If your instructor says that test material will come from both the lecture and the textbook, it’s a good idea to at least skim the text. I cannot just scrape by without at least partially cracking the text. The problem I think many college students face is that they didn’t need or didn’t care about the text in high school, so they don’t think they need it in college as long as they pay attention in class. Don’t get me wrong: paying attention in class is incredibly important. But the text offers information that your instructor doesn’t have time to delve into during lecture.

At college campuses everywhere, you will probably hear students bragging about how they “Didn’t even study for the econ test and passed with a 97%” or how they “never opened the textbook for that science class; it was a total waste of money.” And while we have all experienced something like this before, this is not a great habit to get into. It’s a boring waste of time and money to go to school and learn nothing except how to scrape by in this world.

Can you scrape by? Maybe. I usually can’t. I need that book. I want that book–I want that information at my fingertips. I at least want the option of having the textbook as a resource.

So whether you buy or rent and read or skim, textbooks are a great resource for college students, especially in boosting understanding of class material. If you get bored this summer, do a little comparative shopping for your textbooks!