I must admit I was quite aggravated when I realized I couldn’t register for my advanced experimental class because I was missing the annoying prerequisite, namely English 110. Another dreadful requirement taking my time away from my passion. Then again, I had also admit that my English writing could in fact use some practice and improvement. The annoyance however has soon became an educational pleasure. Spring of 2012 was my only second semester at Queens College which is my first experience in educational system in U.S. I understand now how lost I was in the system and not aware of many layers of possibilities the Queens College offers. I appreciate directing me to the writing center. I learned about existence of cliques- still shocked! I explored available scholarship opportunities. I am glad to have a better comprehension of image projected by different types of colleges from Ivy League through private, public and community colleges.

Some assignments have initially raised my skepticism only to have gained my respect and acceptance as the course progressed. An example of those would be having to comment on classmates’ entries and videos. I didn’t like it at first but learned to appreciate quickly when I noticed how insights into my classmates’ backgrounds, plans and dreams put my own into perspective. I became less of an outlier as I felt until then and more an integral part of a bigger picture in American educational system. It also made the atmosphere in class more personal hence pleasant.  

My reaction to blogging format of communication wasn’t warmly welcomed by me either.( “What the heck?!” ) But in this case as well I have been proven wrong – in the ever dynamically developing virtual reality, I will certainly bless the time I have spent conquering this skill for the class’ purposes. Blogging has become one of the most important marketing tools in any profession.

Since it is meant to be an introductory English class, I appreciate the choice of topics being very relevant to college experience. It did feel like an introduction and foundation based on which next coursed will be easier to follow. MLA formatting is a news to me and I am still struggling to follow its rules, but I understand how important it will become when facing professional writing requirements in graduate school and also in other English classes before then. 

Room for improvement? I hardly see any but I wouldn’t be a seasoned Toastmaster if I wouldn’t try to at least find one – according to Toastmasters’ philosophy a constructive evaluation must entail some suggestions for improvement or else is not a really useful one, so here it is. Sometimes it was hard to navigate in the course schedule, it made an impression of chaos and was challenging to follow. I found particularly challenging keeping up with comments to the videos. I had to scroll through the schedule every time to find our next person to present the video. Also, since all comments had to be approved by the blog’s author and those comments were influencing the grade, it presented room for injustice in case some comments were not approved in time or at all. And we had a case of a person not having approved any- not that I accuse her of having it done viciously –just a matter of overlooking or simply not knowing.

In conclusion however, the course was yet another proof for my theory that any class can be made interesting, boring or stressful depending on the personality of the professor.

Dear Prof. Alvarez, I am not sure how the financial part of your life is working out for you, but for my sake, I am glad you didn’t become an engineer. You have made the class very interesting, enjoyable and useful for the future. It is a shame that you couldn’t stick around at Queens College for another year or so. I truly wish you all the best in your further career and congratulations on your recent doctorate. Thank you very much, Dr. Alvarez – so long.

 

This semester I have to say, I like all my classes. I am taking four classes altogether and three of them are related to my interests which is psychology. Two classes are extremely easy for me which does not mean that I feel bored, not challenged or stimulated in my educational goals. Precisely because I don’t feel stressed, I can read additional materials, participate in class, have discussion with the Professors and enjoy the topics. The experience of class is in my view always determined by the teacher. Any topic can be as interesting or as boring as presented by the teacher although I understand that a class full of dull students can present a challenge to the teacher. In addition I don’t believe that we need a lot of stress to learn. Tests and writing essays is stressful enough to provide for healthy motivation. I admire teachers who can keep the healthy balance between quality learning and positive atmosphere. I am lucky in this semester to have met teachers just like that.

I presented the video above as a starting point of my comment because it addresses a major of my choice: psychology.  This person suggests and it doesn’t make sense to study for anything else then medical field and engineering/computer science. He graduated with psychology major and feels disappointed. Well, he should have educated himself about opportunities that BA in psychology give. I agree that the opportunities with BA in psychology are not to many and certainly not well paid. You can be a social worker or psychiatric assistant and they are not paid much above the minimum wage. If someone wants to just stop at the BA level, the degree is only the addition to other skills, second major or experience. The employer will look at this major as giving maybe better understanding of people or expect better writing skills from college graduate. However, a dream of becoming a psychologist requires extended education into the Ph.D. program. This is what I intend to do and I argue every point this young person has made in the above video. First, it is not pointless to pursue other degrees because in every field there are successful people and there are failures in the desirable fields. I know of graphic design graduate who is a sales manager in a fitness club. I know of a computer science graduate who is a carpenter. If you don’t have a “feel” for the field, studying it just because it’s been told to guarantee a well paid job is just not wise. A degree is just a small portion of our abilities, talents and personality. It all has to be taken into consideration. And many more factors. I want to become a psychologist, specifically sport psychologist, and I need a Ph.D. degree to be one. No way around it that I know of. A career of a sport psychologist is not easy and not well paid if you just want to execute what you have learned at school. I have some ideas that seem to be revolutionary and I hope that the graduate research settings will allow me to test and further explore options. If my ideas will show significant results, I will become successful on international level and surely make a lot of money. Sport is a not only ever growing field but also thriving in any economy!  What, however if my ideas will fail? I am old enough to take this option into account and have a plan B. Precisely because I do not bet all my money on my success, I want to pursue clinical psychology and I will feel happy to work in hospital settings or as a part of a psychiatrist’s team. What are my job perspectives in that field? On any job posting websites, I have found listings for clinical psychologist. According to the census bureau the field is growing at 22% which is faster then average and the average salary is $68,640. I feel pretty content with those numbers and do not regret my decision to reenter college for career change.

It can’t be stressed enough that going to college, especially going away from home, is a huge step towards responsibility for self. How one will handle it, how one is able to handle his/her own affairs is crucial to success or failure in higher education.

 

 

The part of that kind of videos that many don’t know about is that many of those young students featuring here are tremendously smart, ambitious and dedicated to their scholar duties and will one day become highly successful professionals in their fields. They just need some fun in between of hard work hence videos like that…

 

Great video, putting the “rich without college” cliché into perspective. Yes, if you have a strong urge to pursue other idea, if you have a plan and desire to pursue it, yes, do it and you can always go back to college as a hobby once you have couple of million of dollars in your bank account. The main question whenever you contemplating quitting college or a job, is: what is my alternative! Huge question requiring a very serious response.

 

Very interesting point. I have had take-home exams that I was looking for answers online for and this have not crossed my mind to consider cheating. I have learned the same way only saved some precious time. I think the teachers, mostly young people, are aware of the internet source being out there for use.  I think, the undergraduate program is to get fundaments of knowledge and internet is a source as good as any other for that. The graduate program will require extensive research as much as critical thinking and that cannot be provided by internet unless in plagiarism.

 

 

Making comparison between American system in higher education and in other countries is a huge topic. I don’t think that there are two countries in which the higher education culture would be exactly the same. I see a lot of differences between American and Polish systems. For example, the public Universities in Poland are free but you can enter until the 26th year of age. Above that age, the government doesn’t want to invest any longer in the individual I guess. The options for people older then 26, are some evening and private institutions and they are for a fee.  Another difference, I guess stemming for public universities being offered for free, is that it will not take anybody. The space is limited and a candidate needs to pass an entrance exam and depending on the major it might be between 2 to 50 and more people for one place. There is also not general education part. Once you are accepted, you focus only on the major. When I started my studies, all classes were conducted in German from the day one and if I didn’t understand something, well, that was my problem.

The ego’s drive to dominate has created conflicts based on race, religion, border’s recognition and anything that people can create differences about. The history of slavery and dominance, the racial segregation is as long as humans’ one itself. American society is now taking steps to heal the most recent racial segregation in its history. It is a long, tedious and difficult process. The children presented in the video are raised by only the second generation who is enjoying full civil rights. They have been raised by parents who still remember having to sit in the back of the bus or drinking from designed fountains only. The gates of opportunities for highly desirable careers opened only in the last decade. Having a president of other then Caucasian race, successful singers, actors honored by Oscars is the phenomenon of the 21st century that is only 12 years long. To change the legal rights is one achievement but to change social mentality is quite another. We hope to be heading in the right direction but here I have an example. As I am writing this passage, my daughter is watching pony series. There is a clash between “good” ponies and “bed” ponies. The “good” ponies are of colors like pink, blue, orange, yellow, green, purple- all in pastel, light shades. Do you want to guess the colors of “bed” ponies? Yes, I think you guessed it: grey and light brown and dark brown! Deeply imprinted believes will come to surface in the least expected settings.

The above is one of the best piece of advice I have come across! It might not be well suited for me since first: I don’t have my parents living here and paying my rent, second: I am way above 18 years of age. But for young people contemplating the next step after high school, this is advice worth considering. It does tackle on issue that is fundamental to American thinking: debt. Do you really need to get into debt? Will you be among believers that you can spend first and then pay back later? Not having much adult life experience in the power of money, reality of job market and the amount of bill imposed even for the basic standard of living (car, phone, Internet are much more necessity in today’s reality then luxury).

The issue of debt can’t be presented better then in the video above. I usually opt for making people be responsible for their decisions. After all, I am paying high price for my choices, too. But it is just heartbreaking to make young people pay for decision that they were made without proper knowledge.

Carol Carter is addressing an issue that has been on my mind when discussing college experience: adulthood. This is a challenging time of having adult privileges (if living away from home especially) without the biggest adult burden: bills that are still being paid by someone else most of the cases. To keep oneself on track, to be responsible is a huge challenge if you haven’t been taught that at home. People get drunk not on liquor most of the time but on freedom that they don’t know how to appreciate. 

And this video is a comment to the previous one. College problems seen from the 19 year old student’s perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdJqDV5lVo0&feature=related

And here is another one from a girl’s point of perspective. It is a great proof that no, not everybody is suited for a college path.

 

 

 

This is my only second semester at Queens College as I am a transfer student from abroad.  I don’t have any relevant experience to compare QC to, other then my University in Poland which was run on fundamentally different mentality, although the declaring  values might be similar. 

There are two major deficiencies that I have noticed so far and that is what I would focus on.  First, I am currently taking a class in Cognitive Neuroscience.  Considering that I have no educational background in biology beyond my high school, I find this class somewhat challenging.  As far as I know,  the Queens College has a Neuroscience department that is quite proud of. On the website we learn that the alumni of this program are doing exceptionally well in pursuing further education.  Do you know, that this department doesn’t have any kind- I repeat: any kind– of brain model to learn from?!  To my question, if such a model is available to the students, I have been advised “to Google it”.  Does it even require any comment?  I don’t know how well are other departments equipped, but if similarly to the neuroscience department, then it is below ultimate embarrassment line.  A decent brain model’s cost can be as low as few hundred dollars.  Is Queens College really that poor? If so, why are several graduation awards offered in the  amount of $500? This amount will serve as nothing but ego booster for the recipient but could have been used instead for the little piece of equipment that can serve many students in years to come.

Second issue I am having with our CunyFirst system.  It serves as a communicator between the college and the student.  I had two time sensitive issues in my time as student, and in both times this communicator has failed.  First, I had to register for the English 110 class and I had to make sure I will get the spot in the class of my choice. Having the upper Junior standing, I had some priority but that will fade fast if I don’t take advantage of early registration.  I rushed to the office to register only to be denied this privilege.  I had a administrative hold on my account because having so many credits I have not officially declared the major, but the system did not inform me of it! Luckily, I was able to take care of this hold within 2 days and still register in the preregistration time.  The system, however, supposed to be there to protect me from this kind of stress by keeping my records up to date.  The second situation happen only few days ago.  I was in need of generating my unofficial transcript in a matter of hours.  I was not able to because I had a hold on my account that has not been cleared.  At the beginning of the semester I had some payment issue that was clarified.  Someone, however, failed to clear my account and now I could not perform a task that was of great importance to me and the time was of essence.  I had to make a trip to Bursar’s office, so the clerk would say: oh, no, you don’t owe any money, I will clear that hold for you in a minute.  I did care to ask who failed do the job but received a brusque response: “I don’t have the answer for all questions.”  I am still considering to investigate whose responsibility that was, and how can I file an official complaint in hope to contribute to a change.

I understand that both issues are closely related to finances and here it is where I would focus my attention.  How is the budget run, what expenses are avoidable or a pure waste and how can they be more efficiently spent.

There is a good news and a bed news for you, dude.  Good news: no, you don’t have to graduate. Bad one: no, you can’t stay in college for the rest of your life.  This video portrays dreams of kids who especially in first years of college enjoy the perfect situation: the privileges of adult life (freedom from parental supervision) without its biggest burden (bills).  Soon, the reality however will reveal its gray colors.  Your bank will remind you, you owe them, or your parents remind you they expect results.  It does take some work to get passing grades, and here is another reality check: as less your college expects from you, as poorer your  chances at job market will be.  But let’s consider the scientific fact that at the age of 18, the prefrontal cortex responsible for reasoning and morality is not fully developed yet.

Ever since I came across the binaural beats, I am fascinated by the brain possibilities yet to be discovered… My dream is to work on projects like the one presented in this video, and my next step is graduate school.

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
http://weeklyworldnews.com/
http://www.theonion.com/
There is one thing I have learned when doing research on topics of my interest. You have to read a lot, and a lot of it of low quality to be able to recognize the validity of the information. The first website was created to make the public aware of a particular species in danger of extinction. Is it true? Looking at the way the information is conveyed, I would decide that this is a legit website with valid information. It’s very “decorated” but I have to say that the graphic of a website doesn’t influence – or I am not aware of it- my trust. If it doesn’t ask directly for the money, I tend to give it a benefit of a doubt but I will always look for confirmation of the information if I plan to take any action. The other two websites are news providers. News is a highly personal choice, because if it wasn’t the case, we would only need one newspaper and one website that would provide it. After all, most information does repeat itself throughout the media. What varies is the way of presenting and interpreting it. Just looking at the websites and reading through the information, it is in my opinion, impossible to validate its content. That is why any research requires reading multitude of materials, comparing and drawing own conclusions.

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