Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Question of the Week

Immigration has long been a hot button issue in the United States. Recently the state of Arizona passed a law that allows police officers to demand identification from anyone they suspect may be an illegal immigrant. Many people showed outrage over that new law and saw it as racist.

Whatever side of the immigration debate you find yourself on, there still remains the issue of education. What happens to illegal immigrants when it comes to higher education?

In his article, Academic Purgatory Ilan Stavans  writes about a student who he calls "Jorge" to protect the subjects identity. Jorge after three attempts escaped his birth country of Mexico when he was young. Fleeing from poverty, violence, and attacks he came to the United States in search of an education. He excelled in everything academically and after much dedication and sacrifice has now earned his Ph.D. .

In the article Stavan asks the question, An illegal immigrant earns a Ph.D. Now what? "Jorge" still can not get a job, live a normal life or bask in his accomplishments. He is still an illegal immigrant and at any moment can be found out and deported.

Read Stavan's article here and then let me know what you think.

Should illegal immigrants who have fled to this country for whatever reason be allowed to obtain higher education? What should happen after they graduate? If you could create a law concerning illegal immigration and higher education what solution would you come up with?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Want a Career Change? Get an M.B.A.

A person having several different careers  over the course of their lifetime is not unusual. Gone are the days where we get a job at 18 and keep it until retirement. So what should you do if you are looking to change the direction of your career?  There are many different ways to go about making a successful career change. 

Shadow someone who is already doing the job you want to get a sense of if it is right for you.
Volunteer for an organization and work in a position similar to the one you want to add experience to your resume.
Intern for a business and learn valuable industry related skills.
Update your resume highlighting any experience or skills you have that directly relate to the new career you are seeking.
Network with like-minded people. If you are looking to move into a certain field, find out where the people who work in that field are and go there. Join organizations and clubs that cater to that industry.
Go back to school.

According to USNews, "If you're looking for the fast track to gain the skills and network to launch your career in a new direction, a popular way to do so is through an M.B.A. program."

M.B.A. programs make it possible for a person who is changing careers to gain new knowledge, complete internships, create a network, build a resume, and gain employment. Seems like a win/win situation.

Stacy Blackman offers advice to those who are serious about pursuing an M.B.A. in her article. Also read my post on free practice tests because you will need to pass the GMAT exam in order to be accepted into most M.B.A. programs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship

Xerox has created a scholarship program for minority students who are enrolled in technical degree programs at the 4-year degree level or above.

The scholarship, which can range from $1,000-$10,000, is designed to help qualified students pursue their college goals.  To apply, simply go to the scholarship website and download the application.

The application must be mailed in with a resume and cover letter by September 30, 2011.

Did you know that many scholarships that are available often go to waste because no one applies for them?

Don't miss out on this great opportunity.  If you or someone you know is pursuing a technical degree, apply today.

Read the FAQs  page to ensure you meet all eligibility requirements. Also, while visiting the website, take a look at the list of last year's Xerox scholarship winners. Maybe your name will be on this year's list.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

99-Year-Old Graduate

Some people think the 4 years it takes to earn a bachelor's degree is too long. Can you imagine waiting almost 80 years to complete your college degree? That is just what an Oregon man had to do. The Great Depression forced Leo Plass to walk away from his dream of being a teacher, and instead take work as a logger because it paid better.

Now in 2011, Plass has completed his last semester and graduated with his associate's degree.

90-year-old Laura Thresher Johnston received her master's degree in history from Sam Houston State University in 2005, making her the oldest person to ever receive a master's degree from the university. At the time of her graduation she said that she wanted to go on and attain her Ph.D.

Helen Small was 87- years- old when she earned her bachelor's degree, and at 90 she received her master's degree in psychology. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas after dropping out of school over 70 years ago. Of her accomplishments Small says," It's just mind over matter. If you want to do something badly enough you do it."

Over the years I have heard many stories like these. I have personally known and been inspired by men and women, well into their senior years, who had the courage to pursue their dreams.  As an adult literacy instructor I once had an 89-year-old student --who had just buried his wife of 60 years-- learn to read for the first time in his life.

What excuses have you been giving for not achieving your goals?  No excuses, No regrets.

If you want to do something badly enough you do it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Question of the Week

Many adults return to college after being out of school for years. During that hiatus they have often worked jobs, raised a family, and done volunteer work in the community, amongst other things. Returning students often feel that all of their life experiences should count for something. They see their learning outside of the classroom as being just as important as what is learned inside of a classroom.

Some colleges agree, and grant academic credit for life experience. According to the  City University of New YorkDuring the course of their career, adults often develop skills and knowledge that are equivalent to college coursework.

What do YOU think? Should adults who have been out of school for years be given credit for "life experience" in lieu of having to take all of the courses traditional students must take to obtain a degree?

Why or why not?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Voice

The Voice is a reality competition airing on NBC. On the show contestants were given the chance to sing for the show's four coaches, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton. During the audition the coaches' backs were turned so that each singer could be judged strictly for his or her voice. Age, height, weight, appearance, all went out of the window and only the talent remained.

The show has turned out to be quite the launching pad for second chances. Many contestants have had other false starts in the music industry and see being selected for this show as their new beginning.

Frenchie Davis first gained fame when she was a standout contestant on the second season of American Idol. She was an early fan favorite until she was suddenly disqualified because of some photos she had taken earlier in her career that violated Idol's rules. Many people saw the elimination as unfair, but this did not stop Frenchie. She went on to perform on Broadway in the long running Rock Opera "RENT", and toured in the revival of "Ain't Misbehavin."  After her audition on The Voice she was immediately selected by coach Christina Aguilera and is again a fan favorite.

Jared Blake, a father of six from Arkansas, auditioned for The Voice and saw it as his last chance. Blake has always loved music, but spent many years addicted to alcohol.  He got sober because he wanted to be a good example for his children. Now that he is clean he is going after his dream. After his audition he was selected by coach Blake Shelton. Jared is also a fan favorite and the show’s resident rocker. 

These two singers and so many others show what can happen if you don’t give up on a dream. The Voice airs Tuesday's at 9pm EST.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Late Bloomer

Over on Theo Pauline Nestor's blog "Writing Is My Drink" she talks about her evening job at the University of Washington where she teaches a  Memoir writing class for UW’s Extension Program.

In the program she has adult students of all ages, including a 90-year-old woman. They all take her class and courageously write their life stories, no matter how painful. At the end of the program each student gives a reading of their work before an audience.

One particular student, Star Roberts, wrote a piece entitled "Late Bloomer" (page down to see the essay) in which she talks about doing everything in life later than the norm. Now at the age of 55 she has embarked on a writing career. It is something she has always wanted to do from the time she was a child, but as is usually the case, life distracted her.

Take a moment and read this inspiring essay by a woman who understands that "It is never too late to be who you might have been."
Star Roberts Reading her work.
 (Photo:Sandy Barnes)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ryan and Jamie Smith Essay Contest

This is short notice, but it is still worth posting.  The Ryan and Jamie Smith Essay Contest  gives a prize of $5,000 to the student who writes the best essay of 1,000 words or less on the subject of ending  extreme poverty.

The deadline for this contest is June 15, 2011. Don't waste another moment, enter today.

Scholarships are an amazing way to pay for college and avoid ending up in debt from taking out too many student loans.

If you know anyone beginning college in the near future please pass this scholarship opportunity along.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A few years ago I purchased the book Write it Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. The premise of the book is to use writing as a tool to  help you, "know what you want and get it." After working through a few chapters, and a few failed attempts at getting what I wanted, I stopped reading the book. I thought there must be something wrong with me, my goals, my faith, etc. because nothing I was writing down came true.

Recently I picked up Write It Down, Make It Happen again and realized I should have read further. 

In Chapter 20 entitled "Handling Breakdown" Klauser discusses what to do when you seem to be failing at making your goals come true. She shares several stories from people who thought that they were failures. After a closer look, however, they saw that their goals were achieved, just in a different way than they expected.

From this I learned not to get too attached to the specifics of a goal, because it can be accomplished in many different ways and still give me the same outcome.

Klauser also shares a story from Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich  about a man who owned a gold mine during the gold rush. He sold the mine to a man for a few hundred dollars after he thought it was all dried up. The man who bought it dug only three feet past where the original owner had stopped digging and found gold worth millions of dollars.

Don't stop three feet from the gold.
Go back and dig some more. -Napoleon Hill

I am often nagged by the idea that I am failing. This book has helped me to see things differently. It has reminded me to keep going, and to look for evidence of my success everywhere.