Sunday, December 30, 2018

Holidays and Break

Being a student nowadays is not easy. Students are perpetually busy and sometimes breaks can disappear without any notice due to extracurricular work. For example, summers may be filled with internships and winter breaks may be used to prepare for upcoming classes. During the school year, some classes move at such an insane learning pace that students sometimes feel obligated to pre-study in order to be able to maintain pace with the class. In addition to this, students often find themselves forgetting previously learned material when they do not study over a break. This great article provides a few good tips for students who worry they may forget material over break.

My favorite part of the article is when it says to, "schedule in the work". Humans generally like routines. Ask yourself this... Do you find yourself doing the same tasks every morning before work or school? Do you drive the same route and find yourself being increasingly more confident (e.g. like you know which lane is the fastest) when driving the same route over and over again? With routines, we can do things more efficiently because repeated practice helps our brain work better. College students generally have the same schedule every week and have homework due on the same day of the week, every week. From this, students quickly enter a routine and work better and better as the semester carries on. However, the problem with breaks/holidays is that this routine gets disrupted and students need to readapt when a semester restarts. In my opinion, this is the reason why some students don't start off well in a semester, even though this is when the material is usually the easiest.

Developing a routine over break that both provides a decent amount of rest but at the same time does not turn off a student's brain is essential to avoiding struggles at the beginning of the next semester. The article says, "Think about schedules in advance of the break to determine when there are 30-60 minute stretches of quiet time that can be used for work.  Is it right after breakfast, or is it mid-afternoon?  Making the work a regular part of the day (like meals and other activities) establishes it as part of a routine". These are some great tips that you will definitely find rewarding at the beginning of the semester! Enjoy the rest of the holiday season and have a happy new year!


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Trade Schools

Trade schools are often underrated by high school students, as they assume the next step after high school is to attend a four-year University. What they don’t know is that a trade school can offer them specific technical training in the field they want, for nearly a fraction of the cost of a four-year University. A trade school is a vocational training institution that teaches technical skills specific to your career of choice. Trade schools differ from a community college because students get to bypass the general education classes and dive right into their trade with hands-on application. The most common trades one would attend a vocational school for is automotive technology, cosmetology, food service, massage therapy, medical billing, HVAC, paralegal studies and other similar trades. The major benefits of a trade school are the affordability of them, length of time to complete and hands-on experience they provide. If you are interested in trade schools, check out the options below to find info on what you’re looking for.
Then use Google to find the courses in or near where you live, or resort to Old-School and use the Yellow Page telephone book.
Good luck for the future.

Common Trade Courses:
  • Elevator Installer/Repairer
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Geological and Petroleum Technician
  • Web Developer
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • HVAC Technician
Contribution by Bill Martin

Monday, December 10, 2018

EYE STRAIN: Staring at a Computer All Day (Finals)

The first two weeks of December marks lots of joy for the holiday season but also lots of chaos for many students within the United States. These two weeks are usually marred by final exams for the end of the semester and are usually quite stressful. Technology involvement in education has exponentially grown over the past 5 years, and even as a college student, I find it difficult keeping up with all the new technology resources my university provides for me every semester. While technology involvement has made education much more diverse, it also has brought many bad side effects such as Computer Vision Syndrome.

LIKE IT OR NOT: The days of burying your head in a book before finals are gone.

Laptops are now essentially mandatory for college and studying or completing assignments are now impossible without a computer. Often, studying for just a single college final exam requires multiple hours of study time. The problem with computers instead of books nowadays is that students end up staring at a computer screen for an unhealthy duration. According to the American Optometric Association, "Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms".

So what should I do?

Computer vision syndrome
Source: American Optometric Association

First things first, it is important that while using a computer to have a correct sitting posture. The above diagram by the AOA gives a fantastic overview.

Secondly, my advice would be for students to not cram studying the night before. Study over many days to reduce the time of each computer session.

Lastly, take many breaks while studying. This is important not just for eyesight, but also for better material retrieval during the exam.

Have a great exam/holiday season!