Monthly Archives: January 2014

SAT: Two Dates Left

If you’re a junior or a senior planning on going to college then you probably already know the importance of a good SAT score.  Your SAT score is one of the main criteria that admissions officers will be looking at. Your SAT score lets them know what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge.

It’s a good idea to take the SAT during your junior year of high school.  Taking it your junior year leaves you with enough time to retake it your senior year if you find that you need to raise your scores.  If you’re already a senior and haven’t taken the test yet, you still have 2 more test dates available to you.

March 8th is the next test date. The registration deadline for that date is Feb 7th.

May 3rd is the last test date available to seniors this year. The registration deadline for that date is April 4th.

For more information about the SAT and to register online for an upcoming test visit: http://sat.collegeboard.org/login?applicationId=115&destinationpage=https://nsat.collegeboard.org/satweb/login.jsp&view=NSAT

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Stupid Degrees

Benjamin Franklin once said “The only thing that is more expensive than education is ignorance.” The thing is, Ben probably wasn’t talking about a degree in puppetry. You see, not all education is equal. 

Puppetry

The University of Connecticut offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Puppetry.

Just because you spend tens of thousands of dollars earning a degree doesn’t mean you are instantly valuable in the marketplace. I’m sorry but the only thing you’re going to be able to do with a degree in European medieval history is teach European medieval history, that or work at Starbucks.

It’s unbelievable the majors some colleges offer, for example:

Pop culture – Bowling Green State University (Hipsters need not apply-too mainstream)

Adventure Education – Plymouth State University (wha!?)

Canadian Studies
– Duke (again… wha!?)


Floral Management
– Mississippi State University (pretty flowers go in the vase 101)


The Beatles
– Liverpool Hope University (I love the Beatles, and now I’ve got a degree to prove it…)


Puppetry
– University of Connecticut (Sesame Street here I come! Wait, your not hiring… uh oh.)


Comedy
– Humber College (either you got it or you don’t…have you ever asked to see a comedians resume?)


Nannying
– Sullivan University (with an average annual income of $19,190 in the state of Indiana i’m thinking a degree might not be necessary)

Before you spend a fortune on a degree you need to have an economic model in place to earn an income. Make sure that economic model fits your life plan as well.

One of the podcast I listen to from time to time is the Dave Ramesy Show. The following clip is from his radio show and it is about this exact subject. Sometimes Dave gets a little worked up and this is one of those times.

Enjoy.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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Why you MUST go to College Undeclared

Today, I’m going to rant.

The reason: I’ve been looking for some legitimate statistics on undecided students to share with you but they have been near impossible to find. Why? Oh, thanks for asking.  You see, the reason it’s so hard to find raw stats on undecided students is because when you type in “statistics for undecided college students” in Google (or type in anything at all to do with being undecided) you have to wade through the countless blogs and college websites telling students how amazing it is to be clueless and to go to college undecided – void of any statistics of course.

I read articles on a few of these sites; several actually. I shouldn’t have but I did.

In fact, I’ve nearly convinced myself that going to college undecided is in fact the best possible option. Why? Oh, thanks for asking again! You see it all starts with the way you view college to begin with. Apparently college is not a specific tool used for a specific job to get you a specific result, as I had once thought. I was wrong. You see, college is so much more than that. In fact, college is a necessary part of the transition into “adulthood.” College is a place of self-discovery and self-actualization. It is the time in your life where you realize who you are and what you want to do with your life. Regardless of what your goals or aspirations are, no matter who you are or what you want to do with your life, college is right for you.  But that’s just the back ground stuff.

Graduation

Now that we have established college is for you, because it is… no matter what, we can move on to why going there undecided is awesome.  The actual benefits of going to college undecided are almost too numerous to count. I say that, but I’ll number them anyways.  For your convenience I’ve combined all the infinite wisdom of the colleges, guidance counselors, and proponents of the undecided major into 7 main points. So without further ado here they are:

  1. It’s Cool
    Maybe colleges will look at your seemingly indecisiveness and your complete lack of direction as something deep and profound, you may be like a “mystery” or something cool like that. Maybe admission staff will see that your path transcends titles and boundaries.  Besides, picking a major is way too mainstream.
  2. Better Classes
    When you pick a major you have to take certain classes that go along with that specific major and most of the classes you pick will be in that department. Sometimes those classes may be hard or even worse, boring. Doing things that way usually helps you finish college more quickly and of course with a smaller bill, but whatever. If you go undeclared you can take any classes you want!  You don’t have to be tied to any department; you can take medieval history, children’s literature, and culinary arts. You can be a true Renaissance man or woman!
  3. You’ll Be More Open Minded
    Students who choose a major are kind of closed minded. By saying yes to one thing you are saying no to like a million other things. That’s really not cool. (I think reading all those articles is affecting my writing skills.)
  4. You Won’t Be Pigeon-hold
    You don’t want to be labeled do you? When you choose a major you may be stuck around certain people, like other people who are studying that major. You may be invited to events that are specific to that major and you may not be invited to all the other majors’ special events. Not getting invited to everything isn’t fair. But, if you are undecided you can crash everybody’s events and be a part of all the groups and social circles.
  5. Different Teaching Styles and Classes
    When you’re tied down by a major you’ll experience a lot of similar types of classes. For example biology majors will be stuck taking a bunch of labs and listening to lectures about biology. If you’re undecided you can experience lab work, field work, studio work, lectures, seminars, writing groups, and everything else that the college has to offer as far as teaching styles go. This is important because remember, college is not a specific tool used for a specific job to get you a specific result. College is all about the experience… dude.
  6. You’ll Be Smarter
    When you go undecided you’ll get better grades in upper level courses and plus you’ll be a smarter person when you graduate. People who choose majors right away can start taking the more difficult classes earlier on. By sophomore year students who have chosen a major can be taking degree specific classes. However, if you go undecided you will have to wait much longer to take those classes therefore you’ll be older and wiser when you do get to take them. Also, there’s a really good chance you won’t be able to graduate in four years or less like those folks who knew what they wanted to major in, so you’ll be in college an extra year or two thus even smarter still!
  7. Its Holistic
    This final reason is kind of a combination of all of them and it is that going to college undecided is a more holistic approach. You will get to experience more of everything. You will be a much more well-rounded individual and will have just enough knowledge in so many areas that at parties you’ll be able to be “that guy.” Plus from what I hear the economy is really looking for generalists right now. Specialists are overrated, too mainstream.

So there you go. Those are the reasons everyone MUST go to college undeclared, undecided, as an exploratory student, or whatever you want to call it.  The reality is that colleges are desperately pushing you to come to school as an exploratory student because it’s what’s best for you. They only have your best interest in mind and are not at all interested in things like retention rates and tuition dollars. They aren’t at all concerned with the fact that they are getting less and less state dollars each year and are more and more reliant on the money that comes from keeping students like you inside of their walls. They don’t have any ulterior motives at all for steering you into different programs within the university based on their needs and interests. The real reason they want you to come to college even if you don’t know what you want to do is because it’s best for you, trust me, it is. Now sign on the dotted line.

(Deep breath) Sigh.

Okay I’m done ranting now. I’ll put my sarcasm away. I just find it so very sad that when high school students have genuine questions about this topic and they look it up on google (like most of us do when we have a question) these are the types of responses they are getting blasted at them not only from bloggers, advisors, and counselors, but from the colleges themselves.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

Going to college undeclared is not the answer. It’s just prolonging the confusion at your expense. It’s a horrible way to do things. There are more options than A and B, going to college with a major picked out and going to college undeclared. There are also options C through Z. Don’t go to college, take a gap year, find a company you like working for and have them send you to college, start your own business, work in a field you like that doesn’t require a degree, get an internship, get an apprenticeship, volunteer in different industries you are curious about until you know what field you want to study, the list goes on.

Whatever you do, you need to know what you want. Identify your passions, know your talents, and have a plan in place to capitalize from them. If you can’t identify those three things you have some work to do before worrying about college.

Bottom line: If you don’t know what you want to go to college for then DON’T GO!

Share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

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Thank God I wasn’t college material

College isn’t for everyone and if you don’t know why you’re going it absolutely isn’t for you. College is a specific tool for a specific job to get you to a specific place.

Do NOT go because you don’t know what else to do, there are cheaper ways to waste your time. 

Matt Walsh is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers and he just wrote about this topic. Check him out here: Thank God I wasn’t college material.

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When I Quit TV

TV

Time:

Everyone has 24 hours in a day.

Everyone.

Bill Gates has 24 hours in his day. Mark Zuckerberg has 24 hours in his day. The guy taking your order at Taco Bell has 24 hours in his day.

You have 24 hours in your day.

Why is it that some people seem to be able to accomplish superhuman feats? They seem to be able to do so much more than others in the 24 hours given to them each day? What is their trick? What are they doing that the rest of us aren’t?

Sure we could blame it on the fact that the most productive people in the world are often wealthy and can hire people to do the mundane tasks that seem to plague our lives. We could also point out that because they are wealthy; they don’t have the same pressing burdens as the less fortunate. Maybe they are just plain smarter than everybody else. I of course would disagree with all of those points, but what do they do differently? More importantly, what do they do differently that we can do too?

Let me be clear, I’m not talking to you as someone who is an expert in this area. I’m learning daily how to make the most out of my time. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back, but I’m making progress.

There are a lot of books out there about how to improve yourself and make the most of your time; books like Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. These two talk a lot about the habits of successful people.  I highly recommend these books and there are a lot of habits in them I could talk about, but I’m going to focus on one very specific thing.

Television:

Last summer I tried an experiment with my time. I decided to take a month off of television. I did it partially just to see if I could, and partially because I had a lot of things to do and I needed to gain some focus in my life. It was hard. Apparently, I had established some bad habits with regards to TV.

Did you know?

  • The average American youth spends over 1000 hours watching TV each year.
    (For comparison, the average American youth spends 900 hours in school each year.)
  • The average American will spend 9 years of their life watching TV.
  • Children ages 2-11 watch an average of 24 hours of TV a week
  • Teens ages 12-17 watch an average of 22 hours of TV a week.
  • Young adults ages 18-24 watch on average 25 hours of TV a week.

I knew TV was a problem for other people, but I didn’t think that I watched too much television. For about an hour or so before bed each night I would turn on Netflix and watch something, on Friday and Saturday night I would sometimes watch a movie with my family, and on Sundays I would also turn on the TV in the afternoon while I laid around the house. I used television as a means by which I could disengage my brain and unplug from the world.

My Triumph:

When I quit, I quit cold turkey. I didn’t try to limit my time watching TV, I just stopped. A lot of times I had avoid the living room altogether. It was just too tempting. The couch would call to me and the remote with its beautiful buttons would scream out to me, but I resisted.

After just one week though, the results were amazing.  I found myself with way more time than I thought I could ever have. I read a book that first week. A real book, no pictures, and not one required for work. In fact, I read a couple books that month. I listened to a ton of podcasts and I got a lot of work done.  It was hands done the most productive month I can ever remember having.

Instead of sitting down to watch TV I would read or write or just plain think. I spent more quality time with my family and had a blast doing it. It was wonderful. After the month was over I kept going. I didn’t consciously decide to keep avoiding TV, but I did. I was way too busy doing meaningful things to watch TV. I kept that up for another month.

My Downfall:

After two months of not watching TV and being the most productive person I have ever been in my life, I started letting my guard down a little. I started allowing myself to sit on the couch more and more and every once in a while I would sit with the kids while they were watching a cartoon. I started watching movies again on the weekends, and eventually after another month I was back into my old TV habits completely.  My productivity plummeted. I found myself less motivated to do anything and I was always strapped for time. So why did I go back? I don’t know.

Call to Action:

Since then I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve limited my TV time and do not turn it on every day. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the amount of TV I watch and my overall productivity. As a result, I’ve made it my resolution to watch less TV this year. Am I going to quit TV again? Probably not, at least not permanently. But I certainly will be limiting it this year.

Interesting facts:

Tom Corley shares some statistics about TV and success at RichHabitsInstitute.com

  • 67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.
  • 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor.

As a high school student, you have already established some habits in your life, some good and some bad. Do yourself a favor and think about how much TV you watch. Figure out exactly how many hours a day you are watching TV and decide if some of that time could be better used elsewhere.

If you want what the successful have, you’ve got to do what the successful do.  Let’s work on this one together.

Share:

Share your thoughts about TV and time management. What do you think is a good amount of TV to watch each day? What would you do if you didn’t have a TV for an extended period of time? I’d love to hear from you.

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Karoshi: Why You Need Life Balance

Karoshi:

Ever heard of karoshi? It’s a Japanese term used to describe a cause of death. It is a growing problem in Japan and its main victim: working class men. It is causing seemingly healthy men to die at early ages in their offices, places of work, homes, and even in their beds. What is this killer that is plaguing their nation?

Work.

An Early Grave

Literally karoshi is translated: death by overwork. Japanese men are working themselves to death. Nobody wants to go that way. We want to leave this life surrounded by loved ones not TPS reports and expense sheets. In 2002 Kenichi, a 30 year old, died at work suddenly and unexpectedly of karoshi. He told his wife the week of his death, “The moment when I am happiest is when I can sleep.” Young healthy men are putting in obscene amount of overtime to companies to show their loyalty and are paying the ultimate price.

Work is good and it is an important part of your life, but it should not be the only part. It should not exclusively define you. As you graduate and begin the process of making work an even bigger part of your life, remember that.

Life Balance:

Work, family, friends, church, community, recreation, and personal development should all be a part of what you invest in. Those investments of time and energy don’t have to be equal, but it shouldn’t look like a 70% investment in work and a 5% investment in every other category. If that balance is too far out-of-whack you become incredibly vulnerable.

For example, the doctor who works 70 hours a week and only invests time into his career is going to go into shock if he loses his job or even worse his ability to be a doctor. “Who am I if not a doctor?” “How am I of any value?” Someone who views themselves and their value exclusively by their position at a company, their job title, or their profession are setting themselves up for identity crisis.

Don't let work exclusively define who you are.

Don’t let work exclusively define who you are.

A better approach to work and life balance.

A better approach to work and life balance.

Remember:

As you begin you begin thinking about who you are and what kind of vocation you want to get into, remember your work doesn’t have to conflict with the other areas of your life. If you can identify your passions, utilize your talents, and create an economic plan to profit from those things, you can create a lifestyle that is balanced and fits you perfectly.

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Monsters University: Life Lessons 101

Monsters University
   Let me start by saying I’m not really one to stay up on the latest movies. Unless it has a hobbit in it, I don’t usually watch a new movie until it comes out on Netflix or Redbox. Monsters University (DVD)
 
was no exception. That being said, over the holidays I finally watched Monsters University with my kids and all of the in-laws at a family get-together.

I was sitting next to my brother in-law when he pointed out to the family that this movie is going to ruin the youth of our nation. We laughed and asked him what in the world he was talking about. He then pointed out the fact that the movie is teaching kids that they can drop out of college and still land their dream job. That’s ludicrous!

Now I liked the movie before he said that, but after he put that idea in my head I realized that I loved the movie! Not only is it an awesome movie in and of itself, but it’s completely accurate to life, aside from the whole monster thing of course.

It’s really a tale as old as time:

Little monster has a passion for scaring.

Little monster goes to the university to study scaring.

Little monster faces adversity and gets kicked out of college.

Little monster works really hard anyways; starting from scratch he works his way from the bottom to the top and creates one of the greatest scaring teams of all time.

Little monster revolutionizes the scaring industry and finds an entirely new economic model to monetize and sustain the limited resources available to the monster society.

Little monster lives happily ever after.

The end.

   I absolutely loved the fact that Mike Wazowski, AKA little monster, knew his passion, developed his talents and worked really hard to make his dreams come true. He realized that not going to college wasn’t going to be a barrier to keep him from doing what he was made to do.

He had the opportunity to make excuses and play the victim. He didn’t. He made no excuses and when one door was shut he found another. Mike learned from his faliures and used them. He didn’t wallow in disappointment but pushed through and found a different way to get where he wanted to be.

We could all learn a thing or two from Mike Wazowski. Now it’s your chance; don’t make any more excuses. Do what you need to to be where you want to. Create your future.

Today.

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