Tag Archives: education

Free College Stuff You’d NEVER Buy Today

18 Dec

Leaving the old stomping grounds behind for a shot at the real world meant letting go of all the beautiful things our college years provided: friends, education, memories…and tons of free stuff.

These things, these precious gifts from departments desperately seeking attention, we took for granted. Career fairs, awareness events, involvement fairs and the like made available useless novelties that we now yearn for. Now that our checking accounts are down and our penny-pinching skills have been put to the test, we would never be caught dead spending money on these 7 things.

Streetside Cupcakes

The signature fundraiser – a bake sale! When I was rushing off to class I’d pass a beat up old folding table topped with colorful homemade cupcakes and other goodies. Delta Nu is raising funds so they don’t have to switch from Charmin to generic! Donate and receive a cupcake. Today, however, while rushing into the building after sitting in 8:00 a.m. traffic, I’d never stop for a free cupcake from some rando sitting on the side of the street. For all I know, they could be the town’s serial cat-skinner. No thank you. I’ll stick to my trusted friend Little Debbie.

Printing Services

It was awesome having a certain amount of tuition allotted for printing services. Sure I was paying for it, technically (and still will be for upwards of ten years) but I used every damn cent. 20-page paper? No problem. Design an advertisement and print in color? Cake. Student org. needs flyers? I got you, dog. Walking into a Kinkos is completely out of the question now. Not only is it totally barbaric to have to drive somewhere to print something, but if I need something I can print it at work. It’s called being resourceful. Joking, guys! Relax..

Yoga/Pilates Classes

Wasn’t it cute how the recreation centers always tried to get students to come “relax” during finals at their free yoga sesh? And if I bought the semester pass it was what, maybe $30 for four months? Well done, rec center, the only cost appropriate expense around here. Needless to say, I haven’t done yoga since graduating. Yoga classes are insanely expensive to just be standing around in loungewear breathing slowly. I do that every morning for free.

T-shirts

College was a years-long free t-shirt bonanza. I could make a quilt for Paul Bunyan’s bed with all the t-shirts I got from school. I even struggled to find storage space for all of these bad boys. The thought of spending $10+ on a t-shirt today provides utter disgust. Not to mention, I still have nowhere to put a new t-shirt  in my cramped downtown apartment with a sorry excuse for a closet. Instead, I’ll hang on to every last bit of those memory-filled pieces of cheap cotton and wear them proudly, pit stains and all. 

Movie Screenings

In an effort to gain a followership and member base, student orgs all over campus would find ways to host free movie screenings complete with cheese pizza (cheapskates) and soda. I almost never went, but now I realize that I’d have to sell my grandmother’s watch to be able to afford a Carmike Cinemas feature presentation. Now I’ll NEVER see Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. Netflix it is.

Women’s Basketball Tickets

Occasionally, probably only once, I reluctantly got up off my ass to go to a women’s basketball game…to get a free t-shirt. Sometimes the arena gave students free pizza. Why is it always pizza? Sometimes, on Greek Night, it was THE place to be because heaven forbid you miss a social opportunity to “network” with the other Greeks. After the season ended, though, and especially upon walking across that stage, women’s basketball has been nothing but a mere portion of a grain of sand in my cerebral cortex. The WNBA isn’t a real thing, right? It’s probably a no-tickets-necessary kind of thing because otherwise, I’d rather listen to Nickelback Radio.

SWAG

Little did I know when I first left for school I wouldn’t need those two bags of Bic pens and that 40-pack of Ticonderogas (obviously the best pencils ever). SWAG – Stuff We All Get – was everywhere: cups, pens, buttons, ID holders, pencils, magnets – I was a ninja in the fruit aisle. Although the endless amount of shit never seems to go away like that “Dorsey Hall 2009” keychain that always turns up somewhere, I’ll never walk into Office Depot with a significant need for desktop necessities.

The bright side is you get free stuff at work too! It isn’t all so bad. Who wouldn’t want contributions from their employer to a 401(k), annual holiday parties with dry sugar cookies, and unlimited amounts of room temperature fountain water?

Two Cents Tuesday: Kids Need to Learn How to Type!

22 Oct

As these words appear on your screen, they were at one time pouring out of my fingers quickly and with skill onto a keyboard. After years of rigorous typing courses beginning at age 11 and ending around age 15, typing is something I’ve become an expert at. It is also something I enjoy.

So when I recently found out that many kids in school today are completely bypassing this necessary training, I was appalled. An 11-year-old close family friend revealed to me that he’s never taken a typing course but is required to write papers and even do homework assignments online.

How do you type? I asked

I just look for the letters I need, he responded

After I told him that I could easily type an entire paper without looking at the keyboard, he was amazed. This skill is absolutely necessary in today’s tech-driven world but young students are being robbed of the proper training.

According to Anna Trubek, professor at Oberlin College, typing courses have simply “fallen out of the curriculum.” In her article published in the MIT Technology Review, she writes:

“Touch typing allows us to write without thinking about how we are writing, freeing us to focus on what we are writing, on our ideas. “

Educators and their leaders make an assumption about today’s society and the abilities of our students. The assumption, her article says, is that kids already know how to type. Sure text messaging and touch screen tablets could be considered typing. But is a 140-character tweet really TYPING or simply jotting? Brevity has become an increasingly hot commodity on the internet and in normal person-to-person contact but yet our standardized tests and colleges require essays and speeches more than 500 words long.

A huge and disappointing gap exists between the two expectations of today’s children. Long essays can seem overwhelming to a student who 1) Can’t type as quickly as he thinks and 2) Can’t expand on thoughts and ideas. It seems technology has demanding needs – brevity, convenience, immediacy – while the education world tries to keep up in order to engage students but loses essential training in order to do so.

Needless to say, typing isn’t the only skill being left behind. But the question is really how can we revamp our education system in order to properly train our students for success? How can we incorporate seemingly outdated needs into technology-friendly lesson plans? It isn’t about numbers. It is about preparation for success. We can leave no room for assumptions.

Courtney O’Connell, a rising leader on the topic of innovation in education, and a friend of mine, offers an interesting perspective that actually encourages change in the industry to adapt to our changing world. Check it out:

Of course, I don’t know the right answer to the questions I have posed…it is just my two cents.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too traditional? Let’s chat!

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