No more Pre-College Fees

hands typing on a keyboard

Do you know anyone, family, friend, etc, wanting to apply for Cuny college? Well, they might be in luck. Bloomberg administration education officials, have been looking to eliminate the expense of application fees. Studies have showed, that this has been a major reason, that many high school graduates don’t apply to college.

A top Department of Education official, said the agency has been in talks with the City University of New York, to make applying for Cuny undergraduate schools free for city students.

Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky, second-in-command to Mr. Walcott, was quoted as saying “one idea we’ve been working on but have yet to figure out how to do.”

“Every year kids don’t apply to college because of the application fees,” Mr. Polakow-Suransky said at a Nov. 21 event hosted by the Ford Foundation in midtown. “It would cost the city roughly $500,000 to start covering Cuny application fees for kids. I think that would just be a powerful signal to kids about what our expectations are for them going forward.”

Mr. Polakow-Suransky said many students can afford Cuny tuition because financial aid covers much of it, but don’t have money to apply.

The fee to apply to up to six Cuny colleges is $65. Cuny distributes limited supply of fee waivers to high school guidance counselors for students with the most financial need, according to the university system’s application worksheet.

While $65 doesn’t sound like much to some people, it is to many others. I for one think this is a step in the right direction, and might convince many high school students not to give up on the prospect of college, simply due to fees.

Avoiding the Finals Crash

a cartoon of a man collapsed at a desk

used with permission from cuatower some rights reserved

Ask most students, and a majority will agree that there is little to no sleeping during Finals week. This is not unique to any major, degree, or institution. It is pretty much accepted that during finals and possibly even the week before that students will not get adequate sleep.

While many can understand why this happens, you may be surprised to discover that this doesn’t need to happen nor is it at all beneficial. From personal experience, I can tell you that the correlation between sleep and grades on exams is often positive. There are some exceptions to this rule of course (like if you take this so seriously that you decide to sleep instead of studying), but if used rationally, this advice can help you do better than you might have done.

How does this work? First of all, if you are like most others who don’t get adequate sleep during testing, you may agree with me that you cannot concentrate as well during the tests as you would if you had slept. In fact, studies have shown that driving without sleep is even more dangerous than driving while inebriated (though I’m not advocating for that either) because of delayed reaction times as well as the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. When you are taking exams that are timed, it is really detrimental to be sleepy because your concentration level is not what it should be. The same questions that you may be able to answer in one/two minutes may take you five minutes.

How about when you have an essay or short answer final. These often require that you hand-write your responses. How many people can write as legibly when they’re half asleep? I know that when I try to take notes or write a paper while asleep, I end up with some gobblygoop or ____________ on the paper. I’ve had professors who say that they won’t grade illegible papers. That can mean an automatic zero!

Of course, another thing you need to be worried about is the coffee or other drinks that you are consuming to allow your body to stay awake an unnatural amount of hours. Caffeinated beverages like Red Bull, Coffee, Five Hour Energy, Coca Cola cause other responses besides keeping you awake. Caffeine is a stimulant drug (in the same class as cocaine). Other effects that you can have when taken in high “dosages” can be anxiety and palpitations. I have seen students fail exams because of nervousness after drinking too much espresso. Also, these drinks act as diuretics causing increase urine production. How are you going to take and or finish an exam if you need to use the restroom multiple times throughout the test?

The good thing about these issues is that they are easily manageable. Make sure to sleep before your exams. While seven hours would be ideal, realistically that might not be possible. Aim for a minimum of six hours of sleep before an exam. If you work a night shift, try to get the night before the exam off if you will not be able to sleep between your shift and the exams. Don’t drink too many caffeinated beverages. Sometimes cold water may be adequate to keep you up without causing adverse effects of caffeine.

I know that you’ll do great, just avoid a crash landing!

Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela waving

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this post. Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule, and served as his country’s first black president, died last Thursday, at the age of 95. He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. He made his last public appearance in 2010, at the football World Cup in South Africa.

Mr. Mandela ultimately died in his home at 8:50 p.m. He will be buried, according to his wishes, in the village of Qunu.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was one of the world’s most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation, despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

Some of his amazing deeds include pushing South Africa toward its first multiracial elections. He proved to be so loved that when the elections were held in April 1994, the ex-prisoner became the next president, and embarked on a mission of racial reconciliation, government rebuilding, and economic rehabilitation.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said, “Mr. Mandela achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today he’s gone home and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.”

I myself have always admired Mr Mandela, and will never forget all he had accomplished in his long life.

Textbooks, fight the battle win the war

a stock image of young woman with her chin on a stack of books

used with permission from College Degree 360 some rights reserved

I found this picture, and I was just wondering, are all those books for one class that the model REALLY likes, or does she just really enjoy all five of her classes? To me, both of these scenarios seem a little unrealistic.

I have some classes right now that require four books in addition to the study guides, reference books and style guides. Even if I love the class, I still am not that happy about all the books. I feel like my apartment is drowning in books. In fact, I have been required to purchase an additional two bookshelves just to hold all of my textbooks. I have sold some of these books, but there are some that I need to hold on to or are so old that no one wants to buy them. One thing that is so annoying is when I need to buy a special edition textbook that is made specifically for this school. While it’s frustrating to purchase these books because they end up even more expensive than usual, to me the worst part is trying to sell them again.

Of course I could hang a sign on a random wall and hope that someone will see it and actually need the book. However, I have not had much success with this method. Most of my books, I sell back to Amazon or TextbooksRus. These sites allow me to send them my books and receive money without trying to find a buyer. However, they will not take special edition books.

And, as I posted previously, how are you supposed to carry all of those books? I think that in order to bring my books home from the store I should probably rent a Uhaul. There is no school bag large enough to hold these books. E Readers and eBooks may be useful if they’re available, but what about when they are not? Obviously, there is no perfect solution. Ina an ideal world, we should be able to use one textbook for all the classes in a certain area or even be able to study some subjects without a book at all, but since we do use textbooks, let’s just remember that it’s only a battle.

I’m more concerned about the war!



This one is a must try (if you can stand the zing of ginger).

4 tablespoons unsalted butter4 shallots, peeled and chopped4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

3 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons thyme

2 teaspoons coarse seat salt

8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

StockpotVegetable peelersKnives

Cutting board

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing spoon

Immersion blender ladle

1. Peel cut and slice shallots, garlic, ginger and carrots. (Use a vegetable peeler to peel carrots.)
2. Warm the butter in the stock pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots, ginger, garlic and carrots. Saute for 8 minutes until onions begin to soften.
3. Add thyme, sea salt and stock. Cover, increase heat to high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium and simmer until carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.
4. Puree the soup until smooth. Add a dollop of yogurt to the top of the serving bowl before serving.

carrot ginger soup

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30Minutes
Servings: 8
Recipe by Stacey B. Ornstein

Why put off to tomorrow what you may never need to do?

a cartoon diagram of procrastination

used with permission from UBC Learning Commons some rights reserved

So we are nearing the finish line. At that point when you have some finals, papers, projects, and assignments left, but are getting ready to complete those classes. This is also the time when we start coming down with “Spring Fever”. You know what I’m talking about. It’s so easily diagnosed.

You were doing so well in that class. You learned what the professor expected from you, what effort was really required to do well in the class, and you arranged your schedule to fit the requirements. So you cut down your hours at work, figured out what days you can hang out with friends, you may have even figured out which of your shows you will be able to watch.

But of course, all good intentions may not last. It started with that Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, you were saving a major paper top write on Thanksgiving because you would have SO much time, but alas, how could you work on schoolwork when the family is going to the parade, watching football, carving the turkey… Before you know it, it’s 6:00 at night, sure you still can write that paper, but now the turkey is kicking in. How are you supposed to write a decent paper when you have tryptophan coursing through your body? So you go to sleep. After all, you still have the rest of the weekend, Right?

We all know how the rest of this story goes. We both know that after something like that, combined with the Spring Fever and possibly Senioritis, it will be very difficult to get back on track.

Well, there’s good news and bad news.

The semester has a definitive endpoint. You have a final scheduled, a date when all of your assignments are due and when grades will be submitted. Even if you choose to request an incomplete, there will be a deadline to complete your work. This can be good because there will be an end to the class, a time when you no longer need to worry about how to calculate the slope of… (Unless of course you are a math major). You will need to hand in that 20 page paper whether or not it is properly formatted, has an adequate number of primary sources, or meets the requirements. There will also be a time when even if you have another five chapters to read before taking the final, you will need to take it.

This can also be bad news for the same reasons. Anything that you don’t finish now, you may never be able to do. You don’t have time to procrastinate. You need to do this work now so that you can get the credit for it.

Don’t delay, or you’ll have to pay!