Friday, August 31, 2012

How to find a Decent College Roommate

This post isn't entitled, "How to find a GREAT College Roommate," but "How to find a Decent College Roommate" because while you may think you are looking for a lifelong BFF with whom you can swap college prank stories in your old age, that's not the way it works in the real world.

In the real world you end up with roommates that can be slobs, eat all your food, or have late night booty calls with their significant other in your dorm room. Yikes!

In an article at USA Today, studies show that one of the top five reasons for leaving college is "roommate conflict."

So how do you find a decent roommate?

Well, apparently that's not an easy question to answer. But here's how some colleges select your roommates if you choose to live in the dorms:

Speed roommate search - think speed dating, but rather than a lifelong commitment, you're looking for someone to spend the next couple of semesters with.

College directed selection - some colleges assign roommates based on your major or profiles submitted to the director of housing (this sounds like match.com has become matchroommates.com).

Suprise! - the college doesn't tell you who your roommate is until the day you get to campus--that way you can't look them up on FaceBook and find out what a horror show they may or may not be.

So do you have any tips for find a decent roommate?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Business Majors: Best (and worst) Small Businesses

Intuit put up a flow chart documenting the best (and worst) small business opportunities, and some of them may be surprising to you.

Good small businesses include pilates and yoga studios and accessory stores while bad choices range between movie rental franchises, music stories, and bookstores. Surprisingly, electronics (computers, etc.) aren't doing well either.



If you plan on opening a small business (or going to work for a small business franchise) consider some of the "good" options. Try working in your dream industry for a while (maybe even take a part time job to pay your tuition bills).

Accomplished small business owners and entrepreneurs fail before they ever become successful. In the same way, good salespeople know that they have to get a certain number of "Nos" before they will make a sale. This also translates to the entrepreneur who wants to convince a banker or venture capitalist to invest in his or her business. So if you are planning on going into business just know failure is a part of your success.

While some of these small businesses (successful or unsuccessful) are fairly predictable, are there small businesses they left out? What kind of small business would you like to open?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Movies From Mars (and Mars' Science Laboratory)

We did it! We landed on Mars! Well, really NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory did it. If you have read this blog for a while you know that geeks (a term of affection here) hold a near and dear place in my heart.

Can you imagine how great all those scientists, computer and software engineers, launch pad operators, command center technicians, janitors, data entry personnel, optics and robotic experts, lab technicians, personal assistants, electronic experts, mathematicians--those modern day magicians--feel? Great! (Where's a bottle of champagne when you need one).



NASA created a full resolution decent and landing video of the $2 billion Curiosity's trip through the Mars atmosphere to its touchdown at Bradbury Landing.



Can't get enough? Me either! How about Curiosity's first jaunt across the Mars surface. There's no video yet, but here's a picture of its first drive.



Want to stay caught up with Curiosity's antics? Here's a link to NASA's Mars site.

So what's your major?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The New Face of Community College

Do you watch Community starring Joel McHale? Are you tired of all the stereotypes about dumb students, inept professors, and substandard education?

Yes? Me too!

As a proud graduate of San Mateo Community College I sometimes find it offensive that the media and pop culture continually bash community colleges and so does AccreditedOnlineColleges.com.

According to the authors of "The New Face of Community College," enrollment is exploding at community colleges for a variety of reasons including cost and quality of education.

Community colleges boast some of the best faculty and state of the art facilities offering an education at a price that is easier on the wallet than most four-year institutions.

What do today's community colleges have to offer?

>Partnerships with local businesses.

>Training for high-demand but specialized jobs.

>Lower tuition costs.

>Help for the middle class.

>Many of the same amenities as four-year colleges.

>A cheaper path to a four-year degree.

>An increasingly diverse student body.

But there are still some problems with community colleges. Open admissions leads to an underprepared student body and lower retention rates. Those of you trying to sign up for classes know what a scramble it can be to get those required courses.

For those of you attending community college your first two years could cost you less (thereby reducing or avoiding student loan debt) and take you just as far in your overall college plan.

So why did you choose community college?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Top Ten Things you Should Have in your Backpack

No. 1 is pretty easy...CASH! Maybe not $100, but enough to buy a BART or bus ticket if your car breaks down, a scantron or blue book, or maybe even something to eat. Do NOT walk out of the house with air in your wallet, make sure you have a couple of bucks.

So what else does Top Ten Online Universities recommend?

No. 2 - A Phone charger.

No. 3 - Ear plugs for power naps. Not ear buds to ignore your professor's lecture.

No. 4 - First aid kit. They make little tiny ones just for backpacks that contain band aids, aspirin, and antibiotic ointment for those massive blisters you get from your brand new "back-to-school" shoes.

No. 5 - Umbrella? Obviously this author is NOT a California sun worshiper. But for those couple of weeks in the winter, it's probably not a bad idea.

No. 6 - Energy bar. Yes, indeed. Don't go all hypoglycemic during class - that's a bad thing.

No. 7 - Disposable camera. I'm not sure if I agree with this one. It seems kinda redundant considering everybody has a cell phone.

...and that's where the list ends. I know, what about items eight, nine, and ten?

Here's my number one (and two) A PEN AND SOME PAPER! I am always amazed when I see college students without notepaper and a pencil.

I know how heavy a fully loaded backpack can be so channel your inner Sherpa and make your choices count as you decide what items you are going to haul around all day.

What things are on your back pack must have list?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Are you Lying to Yourself?

Good! According to some experts lying to yourself is a great way to boost power and influence.

In "The Case for Lying to Yourself" researchers found that "Believing we are more talented or intelligent than we really are can help us influence and win over others, says Robert Trivers, an anthropology professor at Rutgers University and author of The Folly of Fools, a 2011 book on the subject. An executive who talks himself into believing he is a great public speaker may not only feel better as he performs, but increase 'how much he fools people, by having a confident style that persuades them that he's good,' he says."

But lying to oneself can also be detrimental.
It takes a certain amount of self-discipline to keep self-deception from becoming a hindrance on the job or in relationships. Getting too wrapped up in achievements or public image is one danger sign. Dodging a chronic problem by telling yourself you'll solve it in the future is another.

The trick, Dr. Norton says, is finding the line. While "a little bit of self-deception isn't an unhealthy thing, a lot is an extremely unhealthy thing." Benefits tend to come, research shows, when people simply block out negative thoughts, envision themselves enjoying future successes or take an optimistic view of their abilities—all of which tend to improve performance or persuasive ability.
So what little white lies do you tell yourself? Do you think you could employ this technique when you give a classroom presentation?