Thanksgiving Spirit Alive at Colleges

Students give back as part of their Thanksgiving tradition.

Although the Thanksgiving holiday arrives at a time of the year when students are finishing up projects and major papers, or needing to study for finals, it’s amazing to see adult students take time of their hectic schedules to help those in need.

For example, graduate students at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, Fla., hope to collect more than 600 toys in November and December during their second annual holiday toy drive. The toys collected will go to three organizations – Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, Florida Hospital, and Give Kids the World.

Jesse Merrell, an MBA student and working professional, shares why it’s important that students focus on the needy during the holidays: “The holidays are usually full of celebration and family gatherings; yet, several students in the MBA class have personal connections to this cause, either having spent a holiday in the hospital or having a family member absent (in the hospital) for an extended period of time. The uncertainty and stress disrupts the entire family’s spirits.”

The students want to help alleviate the pain and provide hope by bringing joy to children, especially since adult students often have little ones, too. She adds: “We are grateful for the opportunity to give a little of ourselves to make a difference.”

That’s just one example of college students, from traditional freshman to adult students pursuing associates to doctorate degrees, giving back. Other schools, such as Arcadia University, a private school offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in metropolitan Philadelphia, are holding fundraising dinners to fight hunger and homelessness. Some schools are participating in Thanksgiving food drives, such as Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisc.

If you’re looking at attending a college next semester or year, take a look at the activities students participate in around the holidays, and you’ll get a good idea of how students support their own or help others in need in the community.

And if you are a current student, tell us what your school community is doing to give back this holiday season.

-Lori Johnston

Top 15 Careers That Need Coffee

All the cups of coffee you’re consuming as a college student may not stop, depending on your profession.

CareerBuilder and Dunkin’ Donuts have brewed up a list of the top 15 professions that need coffee to get through the day.

Lots of lattes, mochas, espressos, cappuccinos and plain ol’ cups of coffee are consumed by folks in these fields, who no doubt battle coffee breath daily, too.

Whether you’re starting off in a career from the ground (get it?) up, or going to college to get an advanced education in a field where you are employed, coffee breaks may be part of your regular routine.

Here’s a look at professionals who need a java jolt to get through the daily grind.

1. Scientist/Lab Technician

2. Marketing/Public Relations Professional

3. Education Administrator

4. Editor/Writer

5. Healthcare Administrator

6. Physician

7. Food Preparer

8. Professor

9. Social Worker

10. Financial Professional

11. Personal Caretaker

12. Human Resources Benefits Coordinator

13. Nurse

14. Government Professional

15. Skilled Tradesperson (plumber, carpenter, etc)

If you’re already working in these fields or taking classes in one of these job sectors, are you finding you’re heading to the coffee shop or plugging in your coffee machine more frequently?

-Lori Johnston

10 Years After 9/11, A New World of Possibilities

For many in our generation, 9/11/01 might be the single point of delineation, kind of how the Western world separates its history into the time before and after the birth of Jesus Christ. There was the world before the attacks, and the world we live in now.

Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker, who had close family members there that day (I’m thankful every day that all of them came home safely). Or the fact that for the past 10 years, at every gathering, party, conference, or get-together I’ve attended, the “9/11 conversation” inevitably seems to come up. Maybe it’s because this year, my 7-year-old son has been asking questions about the significance of that day. Or perhaps it’s the images I can never erase from my mind, like driving over the Verrazano bridge that evening once it was reopened, and just staring at the endless plumes of smoke. It was surreal.  I can only imagine how magnified those images are for people who were physically there in the city that day, and for those who lost someone.

If nothing else, that day definitely changed a lot of people’s perspectives, including my own. On this 10th anniversary, I’m trying to take comfort in the many stories of hope and rebirth, survival and strength. Like this amazing video from this morning’s Today Show that takes us inside today’s Ground Zero… It’s a true testament to the American spirit, and I’m not embarrassed to say, it brought me to tears:

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While the upcoming weekend will be full of remembrances, reunions, and reflections, I hope it also reignites that amazing passion and patriotism that swelled in the days immediately following 9/11.

For me personally, I hope it’ll remind me to be kinder, to not sweat the small stuff, and to stop putting off those dreams until next year. What will the 10th anniversary of 9/11 mean for you?

-Dawn Papandrea

Are Young Versus Old Tribes on “Survivor” Like College?

“Survivor” is breaking this season’s contestants into two tribes – young versus old. During this week’s season premiere, it was the older team (called Espada and including contestants over 40) that got sent to tribal council in Nicaragua, sending 48-year-old Montana goat rancher Wendy away (through a graveyard, no less).

It struck me as the credits rolled that if you’re an adult student and going back to school, you may be feeling like there’s two tribes in your classes as well. While you may have been told that the younger students will respect you for your life experience and knowledge, you maybe can’t help but feel that the age gap divides you from your 20-something classmates.

But let’s think about how “Survivor” typically plays out. At one point, the tribes are going to merge. And at that point, usually the younger contestants realize they can learn from the older players because of their experience, maturity, and wisdom, and vice versa.

As host Jeff Probst told “You have young guys running around, young women running around, and they’re fit and they can do all these challenges. But can they think? And when you look at the older tribe, you see people who stop before they walk and say, ‘We should go this way.’”

In the meantime, here are some tips provided by the University College Community at Rutgers-New Brunswick for adult learners:

• Seek out organizations and honors societies with adult students participating

• Make time for special events geared toward nontraditional students

• Contribute to campus events, working alongside those younger than you, to make a difference on campus

• Participate in the classroom and in group discussions

The young versus old experiment that “Survivor” is doing also may give you some insight into how you can relate to younger classmates, too.

-Lori Johnston