College Life

Read blogs in our college life category for advice on everyday situations and topics that affect college students.

Everyone Should Take a Computer Science Class

 

Computer Science

Now, I know what you’re thinking when you read the title. Computer science? That’s for nerds. And while I may be a nerd, computer science isn’t just for people like me. I’m here to tell you why.

Learn to Think Logically

Humans can overcome all sorts of problems. We can use brute force to solve many of them. For other problems, we can use our brains to infer the answers. But when we’re asked how we solved a problem, we might find ourselves at a loss for words. For instance, when I do Sudoku, I rarely stop and ask myself “what precise mental actions am I performing to solve this puzzle?” However, programming a computer to solve a problem requires you to develop a repeatable, logical approach to each issue. Computer science is one of the best ways to make you a better logical, step by step thinker. Incidentally, this is the same reason I recommend philosophy to people. Both subjects require you to walk through a logic problem step by step.

Effectively Communicate Your Ideas

Have you ever struggled to share a simple explanation for a complex process? I certainly have – I usually end up demonstrating the process instead. This kind of situation usually arises from not fully comprehending what you’re doing when you’re solving a given issue. With a computer, you must possess a complete understanding of the problem at hand before you can write a program to solve it for you. Then when you write the program, it rarely works unless it’s virtually error free. Because it’s very difficult to spot a coding error, lines of code must be highly organized. Studying computer science will help you systematically organize data and express it in easily digestible chunks. It becomes a breeze to explain a problem or solution to someone else.

Things Every Owner Should Know

If you own a car, you should know how the engine works at a rudimentary level.  Even more important, you should know how to perform basic maintenance, such as changing the oil, etc. Without this knowledge, minor repairs turn into major ones before we notice a problem even exists. Your computer is a machine, so why treat it any differently? Taking an intro computer science class teaches you what’s happening under your keyboard. It can help you diagnose a problem or recognize the cause when something goes wrong. It’s such a valuable skill, some people even believe kindergartners should learn computer science. Most of all, having knowledge about basic hardware and software will make you a much savvier buyer when you purchase your next computer.

So have I convinced you? Will you be signing up for a computer science class in the fall? Let me know down below!

Considering Graduate School?

Graduate School

As most soon-to-be college seniors, I am contemplating attending graduate school. With it being the middle of summer break, there is no better time than now to do some research. So many questions come to mind when people think of graduate school, like “is it worth the money?” or “is it even necessary to obtain a master’s degree?” Well, here are four significant benefits of attending a graduate program.

Investing in Your Future

Who doesn’t want to have a successful future? It’s something everyone desires. The only person who determines how great your future will be is you! A great step towards success is furthering your education. Earning a master’s degree involves investing a lot of time and money into something that may not give you an immediate return, but it will provide tremendous value over time. Simply put, investing in your future is vital to finding prosperity.

Networking in Your Field

The largest advantage of graduate schools is they are full of knowledgeable professors with experience in their fields. This means they know people in their profession and can help you network. There’s nothing better than learning from the best of the best and making connections along the way. Also, most graduate programs offer exceptional hands on experience which means you’ll have encounters with potential future employers.

Financial Rewards

As the former U.S. representative Frank A. Clark once said, “the more you learn, the more you earn.” Even though money isn’t everything, it’s a great benefit of higher education. According to an article from Our Everyday Life, there’s a 23 percent increase in earning potential with a master’s degree. Acquiring a master’s degree can also put you in front of everyone with a bachelor’s degree when it comes to employment. You ultimately become a better candidate for any job with the valuable experience and education that comes with completing a graduate program.

A Sense of Accomplishment

There’s no better feeling than doing something you thought you couldn’t. While graduate school may be emotionally, physically and financially demanding at times – it will be extremely satisfying when you put on that cap and gown to receive your degree. The best things in life never come easy and graduate school is certainly one of them. But, there’s few things that receive more respect and praise than education.

While attending graduate school is both time consuming and costly, the benefits of a master’s degree are prodigious. You will have a great sense of accomplishment and make vital connections that will help boost the start of your career.

The Best Documentaries on Netflix

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy learning new information in nice, digestible chunks. There’s nothing like a good documentary to make you feel productive while watching TV. If you feel the same, then I have great news for you! Netflix has a plethora of documentaries for you to watch and absorb passively on your couch. So sit back, relax, and grab your popcorn. We’re delving into the realm of documentaries!

American Anarchist - Documentaries

American Anarchist

It’s a story of passion, fervor, and regret. In 1971, William Powell authored one of the most controversial books ever written, The Anarchist Cookbook. The book contained instructions on how to make everything from weapons to illicit drugs. It quickly became the book of choice for social deviants, including terrorists and freedom fighters. But, after converting to Anglicanism in 1979, Powell devoted the rest of his life to making sure nobody ever reads his book again. This is his story.

cosmos - Documentaries

Cosmos

When you look up at the night sky, isn’t in wonderful? Have you ever wondered what’s up there and how it all works? Wonder no longer! Neil Degrasse Tyson is here to tell you in his classic dulcet tones. Cosmos succeeds in making its subject matter accessible with easy to understand examples and comparisons. It’s a very humbling documentary, reinforcing how small we really are in the face of the universe. We are all made of stardust, which is a pretty cool idea to ponder on.

Pumping Iron - Documentaries

Pumping Iron

If you’re at all interested in bodybuilding as a sport, this is the documentary for you. Originally released in 1977, this film follows Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno as they vie for the title of most aesthetic man alive. Pumping Iron pulls back the curtain on how the sport is fraught with body image issues and subjectivity in judging. This documentary is also a deluge of information about Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno. It’s worth a watch if the sport even remotely interests you.

Do you have any favorite documentaries? Leave them in the comments below!

How to Reduce Stress Throughout Your Day

Reduce Stress

When you’re trying to manage all of your summer responsibilities – whether it’s an internship,  a summer job, or simply finding time to cross things off your bucket list – it’s easy to become stressed. Stress can put a damper on any day, even the sunniest of them. Here are a few easy tips to keep your stress level under control and make the most of your summer.

Prepare for Your Day the Night Before

This seems like such an easy task, but most people over look it. Even if it’s just a few minutes before you go to bed, it’s important to plan for your upcoming day. Think about any appointments or activities you have scheduled, and then visualize how your day will go. What’s in your planner for the morning? When do you have free time? If your day is packed, would rescheduling a small task be beneficial? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure your day goes smoothly, ultimately helping you reduce stress.

Work on One Thing at a Time

There is nothing more stressful than looking at your To-Do List and feeling like its endless. Prioritize your most important tasks, putting them at the top of your list, and take on one thing at a time. This will ensure you utilize your efforts on the most critical assignments – instead of lackadaisically doing multiple things at once. When you finally check something off your to-do list, the weight will slowly lift off of your shoulders.

Utilize Journaling to Reduce Stress

Instead of letting your thoughts swim around in your head, try writing them down. It’s easy to compartmentalize your thoughts when you can physically see them. There are several ways to journal, and the best part about journaling is there are no rules – you can make your journal whatever you’d like. It can be full of poems which were cluttering your brain, short stories you thought of during the day, or a simple Bullet Journal to help plan out your days. It’s your journal, so everything is acceptable!

Take a Short Break Every Few Hours

When you’re stuck on a project or task, the best thing to do is walk away from it. This simple action is vital to helping reduce stress. The next time a homework assignment is giving you a headache, or you can’t think of the perfect thing to say for that work presentation – take a break. Go for a short walk, read a few pages of your favorite book, or go grab a quick snack and cup of coffee. It’s always important to give your mind a break a few times each day. The more you try to force the ideas – the more your brain can jam up. Take a break, let your brain breath and ideas will come flowing in.

Stress can become very overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how to properly deal with it. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, even if it’s over something small, try some of these tips to relax.

Consider a “Staycation” This Summer

staycation

Summer is officially here and vacations are on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s a friend or a neighbor, I’m sure you know someone planning an elaborate vacation this season. But is a big vacation to Florida or the Bahamas out of your reach? No worries! Here’s why you should love “staycations”.

Give Your Wallet a Break

It’s no secret; vacations are very expensive. The cost of hotels, gas, dinning out, and any activities adds up very quickly. American Express estimates the average per person cost of a vacation is $1,145! If you’re particularly tight for cash, like most college students are, it can put a damper on your vacation. Easily avoid those costs by deciding to take a staycation! You already pay rent, so why pay even more to sleep in a strange bed? You can also cook meals at home during your staycation or only go out to eat once or twice – instead of every night. The main thing your money goes to during a staycation is activities. You can do more extravagant things with the money you save from not traveling.

Reduce Your Stress

Planning a vacation can become very stressful. Getting your friends or family on the same page with where you want to go/how much you want to spend is always a hassle. Not to mention, traveling is stressful as well. Rushing to get to the airport so you don’t miss your flight and rushing to be gone by checkout at the end of your stay add unneeded stress. Instead, you can make your own schedule during your “staycation”. There’s also no need to rush because you’re already where you need to be – now it’s time to just relax. As a college student, trust me when I say you need less stress.

Enjoy the Comfort of Your Own Home

There’s nothing more unsettling than having to sleep in a strange bed – and potentially having to worry about it being dirty or even having bed bugs. With a “staycation”, you and your family/friends can sleep in your own comfy beds. You can relax on your own couch and cook in your own, familiar kitchen. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting anything because you already have everything you need. There’s no better feeling than not having to wake up to a screeching alarm, in your own bed, knowing you can do whatever you want today.

Benefits to the Local Economy

This is the biggest positive of a staycation – giving back to your town. Especially during tough times, it’s very important to support local businesses. Instead of traveling to Florida and eating at chain restaurants – find interesting restaurants you haven’t tried in your town. Plan a day to go to the local museum or you city’s theatre. Supporting your local economy benefits everyone, making your town a more pleasant to live.

So, next time you’re stuck on where to spend your summer break, consider a “staycation”! It’s cheaper, less stressful and you get to sleep in your own bed!