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A Gap Year: A practice to shape better career

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Students gap year

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Study at a university is the most interesting, exciting, and useful time in a person’s life! You meet new people that you can share your interests with, find out something new each day; learn how to manage your time. As a whole, you prepare yourself to the future and the inevitable grown-up life. However, before you make up your mind to do it, you may also choose another alternative – a Gap Year.

Initially, it came to the world from the United Kingdom in 1970’s with the help of the work of Cornelius H. Bull, founder of Interim Programs. And was introduced to USA in early 1980’s. It was about the seven or eight month gap between final exams and the beginning of university.

Have you ever dreamed of seeing Paris or of backpacking in sunny Mexico? And surely you got tired of eternal education… I think that in this case you need to have a break and try yourself doing some different activities. Besides, most people finishing school do not know exactly what they are going to be after university. But the world says: “You need a higher education as soon as possible! Otherwise your future profession is going to be of a yard keeper or a plumber”. Being frightened, pupils start to choose in panic, the less harmless specialty for them. Then they have two options: they either find it interesting for themselves or work in another sphere. In Russia, only about 40% of college graduates work in a specialty (says ITAR-TASS), and in Ukraine – just 12-15% (according to the TSN News). Does that not mean that people should not be in a hurry?

A Gap Year – it is a wonderful chance to solve many of pupil’s problems, including haste.

First of all, it gives students enough time to organize their thoughts and to clear up their mind. With a Gap Year, it is understood that nobody expects quick decisions from you. It is a sigh of relief! When person feels calm, one is able to reason and objectively look at a situation.

In this free time, a student can refine the specific skills for college and find out useful information for a future life and career.

Secondly, a Gap Year serves as a field where youth can test their skills. Taking part in activities such as volunteer projects, working abroad and just travelling allows students to discover the world. They leave their comfort zone and grow, getting the best possible experience.

Working in different spheres and directions will make it much easier for students to choose the right one. And you don’t need to have a diploma for working. The point is to make an effort and to work in the right direction.

There is a great difference in opinions about taking a Gap Year and it depends not only on person, but also on region where one lives. In the developed countries (United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, etc.) it is welcomed. Western Universities really appreciate active and dynamic youth. A resume for the future work will seem richer and become even priceless because of the work experience.  However, in Ukraine, for example, people do not find a Gap Year important and necessary. The opinion is that it is just a waste of time and money. Nevertheless, to take a gap after school you do not need money at all! When you go to work, especially in your own country, you earn money yourself! It is a great chance to feel the responsibility and to learn how to deal with it.

Some may say that students, while having a Gap Year, forget everything they have learnt in school. Others may say that if you are not organized enough, a Gap Year will turn into a watching-TV-doing-nothing kind of life. Nevertheless, to my mind, school graduates should remember one thing – one can never know until they try. If you are not sure about your future profession, have doubts about the university you have chosen – take a chance and enter in your future life with confidence!

One year to see the world, one year to have incredible experiences, one year to get to know who you are – it’s priceless.

Berezhnaya Anna is a student of journalism at the Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow.

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Students' Column

How Students Are Learning To Focus Better

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Become a student

Being a student can be tough for a lot of people, and it is certainly something which can often prove to be difficult to do right. One of the main issues that are always going to be happening for students everywhere is that it can be hard for a lot of students to focus on their work for that long. However, this is vital if someone is going to be able to put their all into their work and get the results they are looking for. Here are some of the ways that students are now learning to focus a little better on their studies.

Putting The Phone Down

In many respects, the smartphone is the enemy of concentration – and a lot of students these days are starting to realize it. The simple act of putting the phone down for a while can dratically help anyone to concentrate better and focus on what they need to, so that is something that students are doing more effectively now. It can also help to turn it off or even put it somewhere far away while studying, such as in the other room. This is a great and very important way to focus better right now for students everywhere.

Using Supplements

There are many supplements out there in the marketplace now that are designed to help with concentration and focus. Of course, it can often prove difficult to know which of these are actually worth taking and work well, and which might not be quite so worthwhile. One good example of a supplement that does seem to work well for improving focus is CBD oils such as those at CBDistillery. These can often seem to be highly effective, and they are definitely something that students can consider in order to try and focus a little better each day.

Getting More Sleep

Sleep is a vital factor in how well a person can concentrate. Someone who is not getting enough sleep is going to find that this can drastically affect their ability to focus, so this is another area that many students are starting to look into more and more. In order to get more sleep, however, they might need to make many changes, and it’s something that for some students can simply escape them for quite a long time. However, it is worth pursuing for anyone who wants to be able to focus better on their work.

Setting Up A Distraction-Free Space

Distractions can be all too easy to come across, and this is one of the major ways in which someone is going to often struggle to concentrate properly on their studies. However, the simple solution to this problem is to set up a distraction-free space, which is what a lot of students are now doing, and this does seem to be incredibly effective for a lot of people. So that too is another really important thing that students can attempt in order to concentrate more, and it’s looking like more people are doing this.

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Students' Column

8 Tips On How To Be The Best Teacher

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Being a teacher in a day and age when teachers are constantly being attacked for their inability to educate students can be quite a daunting prospect. Even when teachers try hard, they may encounter parents who complain about what they’re teaching or how they’re teaching it. In any case, it’s always best to learn from those who have been in the trenches before you.

Here Are 8 Tips On How To Be The Best Teacher

1. Get To Know Your Students

One of the best ways that you can improve your teaching is by knowing who your students are and what they want. However, this takes time; it’s something you build through the school year. So begin by getting to know their names as soon as possible – then start learning other things about them: interests, background, ambitions, etc. 

This will help you plan lessons that meet their individual needs and wants, resulting in a more enjoyable experience for both you and them. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you take part in a cpr certification course online, as you never know when it might come in handy.

2. Find Out How Each Student Learns

No two people learn in exactly the same way. Therefore, you should find out how each of your students learns to understand how they absorb information from your lessons. 

For example, some people prefer listening while others prefer reading, some learn best from demonstrations, and others need to see a diagram or image. This will help you plan your lessons so that everyone has a chance to learn.

3. Encourage Your Students To Ask Questions

Students often fail to ask questions after a class because they don’t want to ‘look stupid’ or embarrass themselves in front of the rest of the class. Try to encourage your students to ask questions by emphasizing that there’s no such thing as a silly question – the only stupid question is the one that wasn’t asked!

4. Encourage Group Work Between Your Students

Group work can be an excellent way of helping your students learn. Not only does it help those who find it hard to participate in class, but it also helps those who are more confident as they have to explain themselves and defend their reasoning. With a bit of guidance from you, many classes will soon grow closer as friends and work better together as teammates.

5. Give Regular Feedback On Performance

Giving regular feedback on performance during lessons will help show you what areas each student needs extra tuition in. It will also allow you to give quick guidance on how they can improve their performance next time – saving valuable lesson time.

6. Encourage Your Students To Help Each Other

Utilize peer-learning by encouraging your students to help one another – this not only helps them prepare for the real world but also saves you time when planning lessons. For example, if you need students to research various facts and figures, why not set up groups of two or three? They can then share ideas and resources to complete the work in less time.

7. Reward Good Performance

Everyone responds well to positive feedback, and with careful planning, you can use this in your teaching style to encourage good performance from your students. For example, if someone is doing particularly well in class, why not surprise them with a special reward? It doesn’t need to cost money; examples could include letting them eat lunch first or giving them some extra playtime at break time.

8. Keep Your Class Active

One of the most important things about being a successful teacher is ensuring that your students are actively taking part in all aspects of each lesson. If you feel that some lessons have become too passive, try to inject more energy into your lessons by making them more interactive. This will keep students interested, and they’ll retain more of what you’re teaching.

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Students' Column

Is Writing An Easy Field To Break Into?

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For many of us, the idea of becoming a writer is something that we nurture from adolescence, our love of reading dovetailing with a desire to be heard. It is one of the most romanticized career ideas – just think about how many films and TV shows revolve around one or more writers – and it’s no surprise that student newspapers and magazines are often among the most popular extracurricular activities included on college applications.

What separates writing from many other careers is that there is not always an evident career path. Those of us who dream of one day writing for the newspaper we read scrupulously, or of signing a deal for our first novel, can end up quite disillusioned by the reality of trying to get paid as a writer. And while we’d love to think that it’s not about the money, there’s a great deal of truth in the motto that has become a mantra for so many writers: “I can’t pay my rent with exposure”.

Do you need to secure a regular writing job to make it a career?

If you dream of becoming a writer, you probably have an inspiration, someone who made you want to pick up a laptop and share your ideas for the first time. Chances are, these icons are individuals who can make a very comfortable living from a column per week thanks to a tenured slot at an established media institution, and they’ve “paid their dues”. That’s something that’s getting harder to do, as local newspapers are struggling to hold up in the digital age – making it harder to get a starting job in the industry.

Is freelancing a reasonable alternative?

The idea of being a freelancer can be attractive initially – if you’re not tied to any one media group, you won’t be committed to an editorial line – but it is tricky and guaranteed income is hard to find. It is a good idea to cultivate regular clients. You’ll learn their payment patterns, have the ability to invoice them in one touch through your accounting software, and can establish yourself as a reliable writer. It may not have been how you pictured freelancing, but a good client is worth cultivating – and they may well mention you to other potential clients.

Is starting your own outlet a realistic option?

Writing is a competitive world, and as a freelancer you will always be fighting with other freelancers for what can often be a small amount of work. You may prefer instead to take matters into your own hands by starting your own project. Often, this will begin with a blog; there are ways and means to monetize such a site, but you’ll need followers to make it happen. If you take this approach, social media is also going to be pivotal. Talented writers can still get read these days – and it can lead to higher-level recognition and a stable writing job – but there is still going to be a grind and you’ll need to have the discipline to produce content that is both interesting and regular.

The truth of the matter is that if you want to become rich and have a comfortable living doing something you love, writing is a sector that is filled with potential obstacles and it can be frequently disappointing. However, if writing is what you love, then there are ways and means of going about it – as long as you keep cultivating contacts, it can be a rewarding career.

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