With just a semester before the University of Massachusetts class of 2011 graduates, it’s not what students have left to do in their last stretch of schooling that worries them—it’s what they’re doing after. “We’ve been trained for the last fifteen years how to be students, and that’s what we are. We’re trained to be students, not employees. How we make that transition is the question,” said Max Weidner, a University Career Services Counselor.
It’s not a surprise that the number one question for soon-to-be graduates is, “what are you doing afterward?” This question flows naturally in our society and marks the end of one chapter in our lives, and the beginning of another. But for many, the change of no longer being able to check off “student” as one’s occupation is one that brings quite a bit of anxiety.
“I have no idea,” responded Patty Hong when asked what she was going to do after college. “I wanted to be a lawyer… but now I’m not really sure.” For Hong, a Sophomore at UMass, having a plan for the future does not seem as necessary because of the time she has left as a student. “I’m still a junior so it’s not my primary concern,” added Anna Meiler. But for others, like seniors and “super seniors” (fifth year students) who have just five months before their schooling is complete, “I have no idea,” just isn’t an acceptable answer.
For some, the solution to the dilemma of what to do when school runs out is to engage in more schooling. Graduate programs provide an opportunity for people to learn and keep busy for an additional one to eight years, depending on the program. “I’ll be going to the graduate school of education right here [at UMass] to get my Masters in education and try to be a high school social studies teacher.”
For others though, there’s no rush to begin schooling again. “I’m going to take a break when I’m doing with college and enjoy myself,” said Steven Ferro, a senior at UMass. “Everyone tells me that once you get into your career, you can’t have fun anymore. That affects the way I feel about it. Taking a break before grad school will help me ease into it.”
It’s not just a career, more schooling or a break from schooling that people are spending the next years of their life pursuing. “I’m going to move out to California,” said Anabelle Meff. “My boyfriend lives out there now, and I’m going to try and find a job.”
There doesn’t seem to be much of a consensus on what the best thing to do after commencement is. However, seeing seniors get to the end of the line without an idea of their future makes underclassmen following in their footsteps uncomfortable. “It’s disappointing for me when I meet people who have done college or even have gone into grad school or done PhD’s and they kind of look back on it and wonder, ‘what was I doing?’ or ‘what am I doing this for?’ That there was just an absence of reflection throughout the entire process troubles me,” said Kat, a student at UMass. In the end, whether or not a decision is irrelevant; life will continue to move forward and take with those who are prepared and those who are not.
Eleven years ago there were over 108 million coffee consumers in America alone. Today, over 400 million cups of coffee are consumed in single day. As the leading coffee consumers of the world today, we should know a thing or two about this beverage that we love so much– and how to prepare it ourselves.
Two sugars and milk, sweet and low with skim, no sugar and soy, or like my grandpa used to say, “Drink it black or not at all.” There’s a seemingly infinite amount of preferences for how the cup ‘o joe should taste before it touches your lips. The most basic decision, however, is between hot or iced coffee.
As we slide into New England’s bitter fall and summer deals for iced coffee slide off the menu at your coffee shop, don’t automatically make the switch back to hot coffee so soon. While most people will immediately cancel out the option for iced-coffee when it’s no longer popular in coffee shops, I want to encourage you to make it yourself. There’s nothing fancy that Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks can do while making ice coffee that you can’t do yourself at home. Here’s some pointers on keeping iced-coffee alive at home even when leaves and snow fall:
- Don’t Brew Hot
Coffee shops don’t. I see a lot of people, including my roommate, brew their coffee and let it cool off with ice cubes or in the fridge (or save old coffee that has already cooled). When using ice to cool coffee, the melted cubes will lead to watery coffee. Watery coffee leads to a weaker taste and diluted caffeine.
If not traveling down the ice-cube route, brewing coffee with hot water releases much more of the flavor out of coffee at once and can actually lead to stale coffee during the time it cools in the fridge. You’ll notice that heating up a cold cup of coffee is never the same as when it was fresh out of the pot.
- Brew Cold
Coffee shops do. There are products out there that make brewing coffee with cold water possible, but they costs $25 to $50. The most basic (and cheapest) way to brew cold coffee is very simple. Place your desired coffee grind into a jar with room-temperature water and let it sit over night. In the morning, drain the coffee through a sieve/strainer and then a coffee filter to remove the more elusive silt. You can even make ice-cubes with this brew for the next day if you prefer your ice coffee iced but not watery.
- Use a Straw
If you don’t have time to make coffee ice cubes (a little too classy for me, I’ll be honest), then you can’t avoid having watery coffee. What you can do, however, is avoid drinking the water. Generally speaking, especially if you use a lot of thick creamer or flavored Coffee-Mate, the water will stay at the top of your mug/cup. To avoid having each sip taste like watery blandness, use a straw to draw coffee from the bottom instead of the top.
I know that the typical deciding factor between whether to go iced or hot has almost everything to do with the weather, consider the following as fall approaches:
Because cold-brewed coffee is less bitter, less sugar and other additives won’t be as necessary to compensate for the bold taste. “Without the bitterness produced by hot water, the cold-brewed coffee had hints of chocolate, even caramel. I dropped my sugar packet — no need for it. The best brews hardly need cream,” said Cindy Price in her NYTimes column detailing her revelation to homemade cold-brewed coffee. Less sugar and fatty dairy means a healthier diet leading into a season where exercise can be harder to maintain. When burning off those extra sugar packets and creamers may not be a viable option– iced coffee can help remove the necessity completely.
Finally, let’s face it: cold beverages allow a refreshing experience that hot coffee just can’t. I’m not knocking hot coffee… heck I prefer it. But I can’t carelessly gulp down a mug of scalding java like I can with its iced alternative.
Now I don’t expect an iced coffee revolution to occur after posting this blog, but I do want to remind readers that just because iced coffee goes out of season at Dunkin’ D’s, it doesn’t mean it has to for you.
A few weeks ago, Verizon’s “New-Every-Two” program allowed me to upgrade to a new phone with a ridiculous discount. After spending time on various consumer review websites, notably PhoneScoop.com, I decided to opt out of the latest Android craze and hop on the Blackberry bandwagon. This blog isn’t going to weigh the differences between Android and Blackberry phones, but I found that the switch from a normal push-to-talk cellphone to a “smart phone” was more than just smart, it was revolutionary.
Here are some reasons why:
I would assume, with not much risk, that if you’re reading this now you have your own email account. One of the first things I set up on my new phone was the email feature which pulls any email being sent to my address(es) to my phone, and also allows me to send them out. Why is this good? Being contacted by email (and conversely, contacting others by email) is no longer limited to the time that I sit down at a computer and log in. Important Emails about meetings times can be received almost instantly to my pocket. Emails that need to be time-stamped like a request for new equipment or just notifying your work that you’re stuck in traffic can also be sent out on the fly.
Blogging is a huge part of news creation and gathering today. If you’re an active blogger, you will be happy to find that many phones have had specific applications created to publish material on the fly. That’s right, timeliness for posting a blog is even faster when you can publish that 500 word blog while you’re still at the event you’re covering. Overkill? Not in this world where light speed timeliness is everything (and patience is obsolete).
3. News/Information Gathering
To piggy-back off my last point about information gathering, smart phones allow for the latest and breaking news to be forwarded instantly as they’re published to your palm. National, International, Sports, and even Entertainment news can be received at any time, anywhere. More “useful” information such as the weather forecast, movie times, restaurant ratings and store hours can also be available wherever your phone is.
Most phones have text messaging and phone capabilities, but smartphones like the Blackberry Bold have conference call features, the ability to create and send voice notes, pictures with +2000 pixel resolutions, and intuitive “conversation style” text message organizing to separate conversations and easily recall a detail from a past message.
Apple products are not the only ones capable of subscribing to Podcasts or Video Log Podcasts (Vlogcasts). Blackberries today are capable of tuning in and downloading the same feeds, which means you can stay up to date on your favorite programs.
The typical contact information on a push-to-talk cell phone will include their name, number, and possibly the option for multiple numbers. Blackberry’s contact manager integrates with both Email, Facebook, and Twitter allowing information from all of those to be pulled off the site and put on your phone. Even photos from Facebook for your friend Bobby is used as his contact picture on your phone. Among these details remain room for fax numbers, home and work addresses, birthday, anniversary, company, job title, etc.
Your phone is also your planner and scheduler, which keeps you organized in a life with meetings, appointments and even simple dinner dates. Blackberry’s scheduling program will sync up to Google Calendar and will allow for reminders and updates in changes to pop up on your phone. Not everyone is a planner and scheduler, but having it available so simply may spark a new leaf of organization.
8. Integration / Consolidation
Ultimately, the biggest reason why a smart-phone would be smart is because it makes life a little bit more efficient. Time and space are shrunk as you require less time to paroozle for news and information from different sources and mediums, and your phone takes up the space of an mp3 players, almanac, dictionary, planner, encyclopedia, thesaurus, phonebook, laptop, notebook, voice recorder, etc. etc.
Of course there are downsides can be summed up in one question: Does one need to stay this informed, at all times? This will be explored in a later blog. Suffice it to say having all of these things available at your fingertips doesn’t automatically mean you can use them responsibly and wisely. My blackberry can easily become my God as it ironically closes me off to the world around me while making me “aware” of the world around me.
If you can remember that a Blackberry or any other smart phone is a tool, and not forget other ways to gather information, I think it may be a smart investment. If nothing else, it’s pretty fun to play with.
This morning in Atlanta, Georgia a small plane made an emergency landing on Interstate 85. No one was injured, despite the 1 ton prop-plane cruising in on the six-lane highway at 100+ miles per hour during rush hour.
The plane was only a few miles shy of making it to the intended landing zone at Peachtree DeKalb Airport. The pilot, later identified as Matt Conway, reported that mechanical problems forced him to land the plane when and where he did.
To the Holywood Blockbuser world, landing a plane on a road isn’t a huge surprise. Movies like 1997 Conair, 2003 S.W.A.T., or even the recent Resident Evil: Afterlife that came out last month boast realistic and absurd emergency landing scenarios. Note that although the plane in Resident Evil: Afterlife didn’t land in a busy highway (which would be easy considering the rush hour traffic had been reduced to zombies), actress Milla Jovovich lands her plane on the roof of a thirty-story building.
Hollywood may try to recreate reality for its viewers, but nothing will replicate the stress of pilot Conway as he initiated his emergency landing procedures, or the fear of the driver as she peered up in her rear-view mirror to see a plane swooping in for a landing. Nevertheless it makes you wonder: do film-makers use real-life examples or did this morning’s plane crash perfectly fit into an already written Hollywood script?
I’ve been in the school systems for over 15 years. During that time period, I’ve seen and experienced a lot of different teaching styles and types of teachers. You’ve got the classic tyrant-dictator of the classroom, the way-too-encouraging “moderator”, and everything in between. I thought I’d take a minute to recollect the different teachers I’ve encountered over the years and weigh their pros and cons. Note that this is not an exhaustive list and the examples I’ve chosen are the typical (not exclusive) cases.
Here’s your classic ruler-to-the-elbow teacher who maintains discipline in the classroom as if his or her life depended on it. Everything that they say is eternal fact, merely by the way they present it. They move quickly through course material regardless of difficulty– the chain is not as weak as the weakest link in this sense.
- Exams tend to exhaustively do their job well
- Personal progress in the class is never in question– whether you’re doing well, struggling, or failing, you will know (and so will your parents)
- The person who hits you with a spitball will have their hand cut off
- Not much room for discussion, initially raising a question involves conquering great fear
- Rigorous and detailed note-taking is essential, even on very “minor” points
- You will never get out of class early, class will never be canceled
The (cool) Young Guy
Here’s your typical young guy who probably graduated from the school they’re teaching at. They were the cool hansom guy on campus and often still are try to be– they usually coach a sport or run the club that they once participated in.
- Never any awkward moments, does a great job at loosening up the classroom
- Typically will care a lot about their reputation as the “cool teacher”, thus will work hard to make class material relevant and exciting
- Class time can be largely chewed up by students commenting on Friday night’s football game
- Lessons will tend to slip into monologues from “the glory days” and other nostalgia
- Bonus questions on exams require staying up to date on professional sports
- Will have all the girls in your class smitten (including your girlfriend)
The (energetic) Young Woman
This teacher is typically new(ish) to the program and has enough energy to keep your school running days on end in the event of a power outage. They may sometimes be clutsy, but are extremely passionate about what they do and what they teach which can be highly contagious.
- Extra help is always available and highly encouraged– the teacher cares tremendously for her students
- Encouragement is always a strong point, both in affirming success and being optimistic in areas of struggle or failure
- Use of fun stickers and smiley faces to let you know how awesome you are
- Optimism and energy can get old/annoying at 7:30am
- Will have all of the boys in the class smitten (including your boyfriend)
- Sad faces make “D”s and “F”s that much more degrading
The dork is usually the man or woman who knows a great deal about the field that they’re teaching, but lack a lot of social (and even sometimes teaching) skills that help make their class run smoothly.
- Generally very well educated into the subject they are teaching and curious questions involving deeper analysis and understanding are always met with answers
- Will not “soften edges” to simplify concepts; you can trust that what you’re getting is the real deal
- Dorkiness is typically a natural morale booster for anyone in the class
- Has a tendency to favor other dorks and nerds
- Cares very little if what’s being taught is relevant or exciting
- Extra help and any one-on-one time is super awkward
The Newbie is a man or woman who is probably teaching for the first time by themselves in their own classroom. They have no system or philosophy toward teaching in the classroom that has been solidified, and they haven’t figured out their own teaching style yet.
- Will create a day-to-day syllabus for the next 13 weeks and stick to it like Holy Scripture– there are no surprises
- Games are a huge part of class-time, especially of the “get-to-know-you” and “team-building” variants
- Convincing teacher of “rules” like “early release Fridays” is usually successful
- Anxiety and nervousness are very apparent– When classroom control is lost, teacher is not beyond breaking down and crying in front of class
- Teaching style may vary day to day as Newbie tries out new ideas regularly (The Authority on Monday, to The Hippie by Friday)
- Will sometimes integrate an activity or system that is a bit too primitive for the level they’re actually teaching at– a high schooler may find themselves sitting in a corner
The Hippie teacher not only likes, but loves each and every one of their students. They are very encouraging of differences (especially of opinion) and will typically arrange their classroom in a circle so that everyone can see each other. In extreme cases, desks and tables will be replaced with miniature rugs for each student.
- No real due dates and all assignments have a “creative alternative”
- Arguments to hold class outside due to the “magnificent weather” is easily won
- You are never wrong
- Curriculum is loosely (if ever) followed, grading is always “completed” or “not completed” with no real feedback beyond that
- Basic changes to classroom rules like the appropriate time for bathroom use must be dealt with by full-class discussion where everyone must weigh their opinion, followed by a vote, followed by a compromise for the minority group who lost
- Everyone has to participate in end-of-the-year class dance performance
The (Grumpy) Old Woman
The grumpy old woman has been teaching for half a century and has seen it all. This is not your nice and cute grandmother who brings in muffins for everyone in the class. Part Authority teaching style, part Devil, she won’t take crap from anyone.
- Consistency — Assignments and Exams are the same every year and class materials can be handed down for generations at a time to save money
- Will waste 30 minutes of class time getting the VCR to work for a video. When finally working, all videos include poor acting with out-of-date information and fashion senses (great source of humor)
- Won’t be around for much longer…
- Has no problem staying after school late to administer detentions
- Extra help/one-on-one time is dreadfully scary– emails will never be responded to because she has no idea what the heck that is
- Can get away with hitting you over the head with a cane and other “old school” methods of teaching
The (Awesome) Old Man
The Awesome Old Man is the guy who’s been around forever and is a lot of fun to have as a teacher. He is a legend at the school and although close to retirement and excited to get there, he also loves doing what he’s been doing for years. This is personally my favorite type of teacher.
- Will often blow stuff up and engage in other very dangerous “demonstrations”
- Doesn’t care about protocol or other teachers– Awesome Old Man is the true “cool teacher”
- Amazing stories (unlike Young Cool Guy’s memoirs), great life wisdom
- Often gone from class to teach other Newbies, Young Cool Guys, Young Energetic Women, etc.
- Will openly make fun of you when you’re wrong or say something stupid
- Won’t be around for much longer…