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The social landscapes in the United States created by recent developments are unstable, exacerbated by conflicting political conflicts and clashes over the appropriate priorities for a nation looking forward into the future. Many express concerns over how conditions over the next decade will impact individual liberties, civil rights for marginalized groups and economic prospects for most citizens in this country. Indeed, the news out of Washington continues to be both comical and disturbing by turns. Therefore, it’s vital to have a sound plan in place for surviving and thriving through what are certain to be tumultuous times.

Getting the Most for Your Education Dollars

If you’re like many Millennials, you bristle at the bad press about your supposed spending habits, like the jokes about “avocado toast” and killing the diamond industry. Independent news organization Mother Jones revealed in May 2017 that while you’re likely to have more disposable income that your predecessors, you’re also facing higher costs for basic necessities. In fact, you’re paying an average of $700 more for education on an annual basis. This typically translates to higher student loan debt or greater efforts to procure scholarship and grant money you don’t have to repay.

With these factors in mind, staying aware of President Trump’s education policies is vital to your strategies. The last several months have seen reports of rapid, sweeping changes and even reversals of previous announcements concerning critical infrastructure and public policies. His stated support of vocational education and technical schools is of particular interest, but it also pays to investigate future job prospects and the potential dollar value of the certificates and degrees you pursue.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook continues to be a valuable research tool for your career planning. Healthcare, business, technology and legal professionals are the most likely to see ongoing employment growth. For instance, the BLS predicts that jobs for information security analysts are expected to increase by 18 percent until the year 2024. Job openings for accountants are anticipated to grow by 11 percent during the same time period.

Schooling a Viable Option for Self-Employed Professionals

Even without the effects of recent political changes on the country’s economic, conditions from the last few decades have actively shaped today’s financial landscape. The growth of self-employment is one testament to this fact, with Forbes Online predicting back in 2014 that independent contractors will comprise around half of the American workforce by 2020. Changes in traditional job markets, as well as improved technology and shifting social conditions, are possible contributing factors to this trend.

Self-employment may be a boon for many different demographics, as uncertainties loom in financial, sociological and legal aspects of public existence. For instance, the ongoing battles that transgender and disabled individuals face over access to public facilities may make telecommuting or independent contracting an increasing attractive path. Moreover, several studies have disclosed remaining implicit racial biases in hiring managers to the point where job candidates of color have resorted to “resume whitening.” For this reason, business owners of color might find a greater chance at carving out financial security for themselves than in a traditional workplace.

Including advanced education in your toolkit as an entrepreneur can be a smart, calculated move that improves your chances of success. Again, you’ll need to do your homework to discover what programs, curricula and credentials will best serve you as a self-employed professional. While you shouldn’t ignore how your choices could impact your resume, it’s also important to take a pragmatic approach regarding how the knowledge you gain will aid you in growing your business. The markets you target and the services you provide are just a couple of aspects that might guide you to the best choices for you, your enterprise and your career.

Asynchronous Learning Offers Flexibility and Access

Besides the monetary investment, you’ll need to consider the “time cost” of additional education. Whether you’re a working professional or an entrepreneur, online education provides several advantages. Studying on your own time, rather than juggling live class attendance with a hectic schedule, is just one convenience. It’s also location independent, which is great for employees or independent contractors who frequently travel. You’ll also pay less for your schooling due no room and board costs plus digital access to some course materials. With these benefits and savvy planning, you can maximize the rewards in exchange for your time and financial investment.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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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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