Thursday, April 26, 2012

Top Ten Ways to Fail A Test


10. Lose the book you were supposed to study (it’s not actually lost, it’s in your locker or the trunk of your car, under the spare shoes, half empty box of gummy bear snacks, stale box of Wheat Thins, the sweatshirt you never wear, and the math book you also can’t find).
9.  Find the book, but envision the test date as ‘wayyy far away’ when in fact it is tomorrow.
8. Try to study with the TV blaring, or the Itunes throbbing, or the household in complete chaos. Or all of those at once.
7. Try to concentrate on your subject while you text four people at one time.
6. Don't make a habit of study time.
5. Keep checking your Facebook status every 12 seconds. Send funny pictures to all your friends.
4. Play just one more game of Farmville. 
3. Don’t give yourself more than 3 square inches of uncovered surface to work on.
2. Don’t feel the need to make any notes, memorize anything, or ask for help when you need it.

And the #1 way to fail a test:

Keep telling yourself “I can’t do it.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Interview: Graphic Designer/Artist

Are you interested in a career in art? Have you ever drawn cartoons (anime)? Wondering how you could put your talents to use and find work in this field? Check out this interview with someone who began at ARCC..... Read on!
This week, we’re talking to Russ, who works at Mintel Group Ltd. in Chicago as a Graphic Designer.
Name of school where you earned your degree: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Major: Film, Video and New Media
Current Job Title: Graphic Designer
·        How did you choose your major/career?
I chose my major based on a childhood ambition of being a cartoonist of some kind. The schools I attended didn’t offer an actual comics/cartooning course at the time, as I suspect they probably do now, but did offer courses in similar art-related fields. So, while I was going to school I took a wide variety of art classes, including courses where I could practice cartooning, but also other more practical classes like graphic design and visual communication, which were fields I noticed my friends found work in soon after graduation.
·        How did you decide which college to attend?
It took two tries for me to figure out which college to attend. I started out at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and then transferred over to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago after a year, which worked out very well, since most of the credits I earned at Anoka-Ramsey transferred over with me. I switched to SAIC on a recommendation from my photography teacher at the time.
·        What was the coursework like in college?
At Anoka-Ramsey, the art classes I enrolled in were extremely technique-oriented; a very nuts-and-bolts approach to making art, which was exactly what I needed as a teenager. There’s time enough to worry about why you’re making art for the rest of your life, but before that all happens someone will need to introduce you to the tools, technologies and processes so you know how to make art. This was slightly different from my time at SAIC, which was much more conceptual. This isn’t to say that teachers at SAIC didn’t introduce you to new skills and tools, but it was expected that you try to make a body of work that had a focus or purpose that could communicate something larger and more personal to the world at large than, let’s say, a series of exercises in which you’re practicing how to use a given medium.
·        What was the most difficult part of your college education?
Managing my time was extremely difficult for me. I would routinely underestimate how long a project should take to complete and end up pulling all-nighters like many of my peers. In hindsight, a good trick to have used would have been to estimate how long I thought a project should take to complete, then doubled that number.
·        Who is a good candidate for this career? (interests, personality, strengths)
Graphic design is a pretty varied field. There are older, well-established designers who can freelance full-time from their home studio working with a number of different clients, and there are younger people like me who work on-site for a company every day. If you’ve just graduated from college and are looking for work in the practical arts, I would approach most interviews with the question, What skills do I have that are appealing to this company? And then emphasize those skills. Most art school graduates will have to do production work, hammering out somebody else’s vision for a few years, and employers will want to know how your skills can help them. Some might want help creating content while others might want help mass-producing content that’s already been created. Either way, all the soft skills that are associated with collaboration will probably be coveted by employers: listening to people, asking pertinent questions, taking direction, a willingness to revise work you’ve already created, and offering and receiving feedback.
·        Did you begin in this job right out of college, or what was your path to get to where you are?
There was a long line of student employment and food-service jobs in my work history before I got employment with my current company. During my time at SAIC, I worked for the monthly student-run newspaper, F Newsmagazine, which was probably the single biggest boon to my resume, far more than the actual Bachelor of Arts degree I was paying and attending classes for, since it was documented evidence that I could function in a publishing environment similar to the one I was applying for. But after I graduated, I did have to work in fast-casual restaurants for a year while I was applying to various graphic design positions and trying to find the right fit.
·        What’s the best thing about being a Graphic Designer? The worst thing (if there is one)? The hardest thing?
The best thing about being a graphic designer, currently, is that I work with a team of four other designers, so I’m able to collaborate and expand my repertoire of skills through this daily interaction. This wasn’t initially the situation when I started – I was a department of one for about a year or so, and not having any designers to turn to for technical help or peer review was the worst part – but the graphic design section of the company quickly expanded. Since then it’s been helpful that when one of us within the design department learns a new skill or technique, we all benefit from it.
·        Is this career stressful? In what way?
The biggest stressor is that most of the office functions on a monthly deadline, not unlike most places in the publishing industry, so the workload and pressure increases at the end of every month, but I’ve worked this way long enough that I’m comfortable with the ebb and flow by now.
·        What surprised you about this career?
I spend a large amount of time working with people who come from a completely different educational and professional background from me every day.  So, while my immediate co-workers have a design background similar to mine, I also work with writers and analysts who have degrees in business, journalism and economics as well.
·        What are some related careers to what you are doing--what else can you do with your major/experience?
Similar careers to the one I chose are animation (where one could find work at studios in California or New York doing hand-drawn, flash or 3-D animation), creating elements for social/mobile gaming (like designing icons, characters or environments for mobile video games), illustration (most illustration work is strictly freelance for magazines, newspapers or web publications), or graphic design at ad agencies (which are everywhere, and which you would likely be creating print and web content under the guidance of an art director).
·        Is it difficult to find work in this career?
It’s not difficult to find graphic design work so long as you remain flexible and willing to learn new skills or research a new field on the fly. Often, you may be technically proficient with the all the tools or programs required for an available position, but unfamiliar with the type of work you would be expected to produce.  In these cases, there’s nothing wrong with creating new pieces of work for your portfolio to accommodate the job you’re applying for while you’re applying for it. If the opposite it is true, and you’re unfamiliar with certain tools or programs that are in the job description, then Lynda.com is a good resource for designers needing quick tutorials to learn new programs in a short amount of time, otherwise you can check out how-to guides from the library or watch homemade tutorials on youtube for free.
·        Do you want to continue to do the same thing, or something else?
Eventually, I would like to be a cartoonist full-time, but this is a lot like saying that, eventually, I would like to be a poet full-time. Cartooning isn’t a field that most can derive a living wage from right away. Most independently employed cartoonists have day jobs for many years before they’ve honed their skill in enough to attract a reliable client base, or if they’re creating original books, strips or animations – a reliable fan base.
·        What other advice would you like to give?
I would advise people applying for graphic design positions not to get discouraged by the amount of resumes they’ll likely submit without hearing back from anyone. Even pre-recession, an aspiring graphic designer could expect to hear back from one out of every ten potential employers, if that. This is not to mention the amount of fruitless interviewing, either. So cast a wide net and get in the habit of sending out several resumes daily, giving extra care and resume/portfolio tailoring to positions you think you’re exceptionally qualified for.

Thanks, Russ, for a great interview and insights!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Geo What??

You know how your mom or your grandmother is always bugging you about posting pictures online?

They’re right.

Here’s the deal: you should know by now that anybody can copy a picture you post online, be it at Photobucket or Facebook or anywhere else. A caution: All it takes is one “friend of a friend” who can look at your pictures and decide to right click, copy, and paste, and your photo will be used however that person wants. You’re thinking: I know all of my friends. Nobody can look at my Facebook page but the people I allow. That’s only true to a point. Your friends have friends, they have friends, and they have friends. Your picture can easily wind up being seen by someone who is a stranger to you.
And, you ask, what could they do with it?
They can use the photo to create a fake ID. They can use your face as their face when they create a website, blog, or use an online service, such as setting up an online dating account. They can manipulate it so it’s the face on someone else’s body, even animate it, and they can use it to advertise any number of things without seeking your permission—you won’t even know.
Probably the worst thing about posting photos online is that pedophiles can use pictures of children in unimaginable ways. They also will create a Facebook account, using a photo they found online of some child, ask a child to ‘friend’ them, and then patiently stalk the child for several months, pretending to be another child, getting to ‘know’ the child, and then arrange to meet face to face. Result: that child is in serious danger and doesn’t know it. Parents, please think very seriously about allowing your children to have Facebook accounts. You can’t monitor everything all the time, and filters can only do so much.
You can find your photo cropping up years down the line when an employer checks you out for a potential job. Do you want an employer seeing that picture of you acting like a moron? Even though it’s your life and your picture, it doesn’t make you look like the most desirable employee.

Pay attention….this is going to get way serious:

The newest danger of posting pictures online is quite frightening. The term is ‘Geotagging.’ What this refers to is the ability of people to trace where a picture comes from. Most pictures now taken with a digital camera have tags that identify not only the time and date it was taken, but also the location. Does your camera or phone have a GPS on it? With a little computer knowledge, people now have the ability to find out exactly where that photo was taken—to within 15 feet!!

A GPS may come built into the device, usually a camera or cell phone, but can also be added after purchase using an app. Smartphones and Blackberries usually have one, as do many phones by Nokia, Motorola, etc. It’s meant to be a convenience—never lose your car in the parking lot!!--but there is a dangerous downside to having that GPS feature. It’s estimated that someone with some very basic computer knowledge would only need about 15 minutes to track the tag down and tell where the picture was taken, and to repeat myself; Within 15 feet of where it was taken. If you’re thinking, no big deal: so what if they know where I live? Read on!

It’s a big deal if you don’t want people to realize where the picture of the huge flat screen TV was taken and the fact that you’re not home (“Look at my new toy, too bad I have to work tomorrow to pay for it!”). It’s a big deal if you don’t want people to know how to find your child at a nearby park where he likes to play. It’s a big deal if you are home alone and this person can just trace a picture to you and show up at your doorstep pretending to be a repairman. It’s a big deal if you don’t want to be stalked or have your child stalked (and let’s face it, kids can be very computer savvy. It could be another kid stalking yours--or an adult). It’s a major big deal if you are having an issue with child custody or an abusive relationship you are trying to get away from.

Or what about this: You post pictures from your vacation at the lake, or at camp, or visiting your cousin in Cookietown, Oklahoma. Someone simply chooses a picture in your album online, finds out where you live, and empties your home because he or she knows you’re in Cookietown right now.

I encourage you to use some common sense when you take pictures and post them online, if you feel you must:
  • Don’t take a picture in front of your house showing the house number.
  • Don’t post a picture of your child wearing a jersey with his/her name on it.
  • Avoid announcing the ages of your kids.
  • Be private about your work hours and where you work.
  • Remember that your friends also take pictures of you with their devices that can be traced.
  •  Even a picture of your beloved car or pet can reveal where you live.
  • Be smart about how you tag your photos as well as your comments on what you're doing.

For more information about geotagging as well as how to disable a GPS feature before you take pictures, check out: http://icanstalku.com/how.php#disable. This stemmed from a website called “I Can Stalk U” which was intended to show just how easy it is to find someone using geotagging and stalk him—not to encourage stalking, but to warn of the dangers and how easy it can be.

Use caution when you post anything, because it can live forever in cyberspace.

Be safe online!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview: Registered Nurse

Are you considering a career in Nursing? Read On!!!

Triogenius spoke with Carrie, a Registered Nurse, about what it's like to complete nursing school and to be an RN.

Major and degree you earned: 
Major: Nursing. Degree earned: Baccalaureate in Science-Nursing
College you graduated from:
Winona State University
Occupation:  Registered Nurse
Job Title: Registered Nurse (Staff Nurse)
You work for a  A Large Metropolitan Hospital
How did you decide on your major or career?  
I was always interested in both science and psychology.  I knew that I definitely wanted to work with people, and that I wanted to work in a challenging, fast-paced environment.
What was the coursework like in college?
The college coursework was very difficult.  Earning a degree in nursing is extremely stressful, time consuming, and emotionally draining.  When you’re not at class, you’re studying.  When you’re not studying, you’re at clinicals.  When you are miraculously not doing any of the above, you’re preparing for the next class, presentation, clinical, written test, or going to open lab to practice the skills that you will be tested on.
What was your first job after college?  What path did you follow to get to the job you do now?
My first job after college was the one that I currently have.  I have been working in this job role for about 5 years.  Once you graduate from nursing school, you have to pass your Nursing Board Exam before you can start at most jobs.
What advice would you have for someone starting college in this major?
Nursing school is rough, and it will take everything you have.  The journey of getting through nursing school will force you to make sacrifices in your personal life.  Particularly in the last year of nursing school, many people find it difficult to hold a job in addition to their coursework, and there will be days, evenings and weekends when you have to complete clinicals, projects, and studying.  Make sure that your family and friends know that you are about to take on a huge challenge, and that they will have to be patient and understanding.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently in college?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but if I had to pick something, I would say that I wish I would have been more proactive in gaining as many nursing experiences as I could.  While I gained a lot of great experience in school, I see nursing students working on my unit who are very vocal and inquisitive about various patient care experiences and learning opportunities.  I was not shy, but also not overly vocal about requesting information and experience during my clinical time.  The more you see during school, the less lost you will feel once you’re at your first job.
What exactly do you do on a daily basis?
As a staff nurse working in a hospital, you can never predict how your day is going to go or what you’re going to do.  You never have 2 days that are the same.  Obviously I provide care to patients who are experiencing medical issues or who have had surgery.  Nursing involves a lot of critical thinking and assessment, patient and family education, technical skills, and managing the care of your patients.  This means advocating for your patients and often acting as a liaison between your patients and their families, the social workers, the physicians, the therapists, and anyone else who may be involved in the patient’s care.
Do you have any other roles you play at work?
Yes!!  As a nurse, you sometimes find yourself acting as if you’re a psychologist, a social worker, a waitress, a telephone answering service, a transportation assistant, a pharmacist, a mediator, and a whole list of other things.  It’s never boring!
What do you like most about the job you have?
I like that I meet new people every day.  There is nothing else like entering the life of someone you’ve never met, earning their trust, helping them through whatever their struggle may be, and sending them on their way.  Feeling like you’ve made a difference in someone’s life is the most rewarding part of being a nurse.
What do you like least, or is most frustrating?
For as many wonderful people that you meet, you meet your share of angry, ungrateful, unhappy people as well. Also, it is difficult to accept that even though you have spent a great deal of time advocating for and helping your patients, some of them will forget everything you’ve told them by the time they get home from the hospital.
Is this job stressful? Why?
Nursing is a very stressful job.  You will never feel like you have enough time to do everything you want to do for your patients.  In a typical day, I have 3-4 patients.  That means that not only do I have 3-4 patients to take care of, but I also have 3-4 families to take care of, and 3-4 sets of care teams to coordinate with.  If something is not going well or a mistake is made, it’s not just my job that is affected- it’s someone’s life.
What else can you do with a major or degree in Nursing? What are some other health care careers?
With a 2 or 4 year degree in nursing, you can work in most hospital inpatient settings as a staff (bedside) nurse.  Many nursing jobs other than bedside nursing jobs require that you have a 4 year degree.  With a 4 year degree, you have opportunities to work in Public Health, Home Care Nursing, and Occupational Health Nursing (going to workplaces and completing nursing assessments).  With a 4 year degree, you can also work towards being an assistant nurse manager, a care coordinator, a clinical nurse educator, a nurse case manager, or other leadership positions. 
What kind of person would be the most suitable for this career? The least?
To be successful at and enjoy nursing, the most suitable people would be those who are very flexible, both in lifestyle and in mindset.  Unless you wish to pursue a more leadership nursing position, you will likely work unconventional hours, including evenings, overnights, weekends, and holidays.  You have to be ok with the fact that at the start of your day, you will create a specific plan, and it may completely fall apart after 2 hours.  If you are a very rigidly organized person, nursing will be a challenge. 
Nursing is a suitable career for people who want to continue to learn throughout their career, and who are not afraid of the notion that you will never know everything.  Healthcare is ever-changing, and you have to be willing to keep up with the fast pace.

What is the job outlook for nursing right now?

Availability and demand are starting to meet up, but there are still more nurses than people are hiring. As this new health care reform begins to take place many people in the healthcare world think that RNs will be in higher demand, as they cost less to employ than advanced practice people.

Is there anything you want to tell students about this major and career?
Nursing school is not fun.  Being a nurse is very rewarding, but not without its price.  Being a nurse in real life has nothing in common with being a nurse on tv.

Thanks to Carrie for her insights!

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's HOW MUCH A Gallon???

Answer: Apparently, at least $4.00 by this summer.

Triogenius is unhappy with that.

How can we get better mileage besides walking, riding a bike, or cartwheeling everywhere we have to go?

  • Drive more slowly. This does not mean you ought to drive 25 miles an hour on the shoulder like some "age challenged" folks (who BTW shouldn't even be driving anymore. We've all seen them, right?) No, we just mean: Keep it under 60; most cars run most efficiently between 45 and 55 mph. Not to mention you may be avoiding a speeding ticket.

  • Get your car tuned up and potentially add 4% more miles to the gallon.

  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated. When's the last time you checked? Tires with the right amount of air in them can help add 3% to your mileage.


  • Keep up with oil changes. It will make your car run better and can add 2% to your gas mileage.

  • Check how much stuff you have in your car. We all have stuff, and some of our stuff goes with us in the car...everywhere we go. Try taking it all out and weighing it, just for laughs. You might be surprised how much it all weighs. If you have 100 pounds of extra 'cargo' in the car, it's taking about 2% off your mileage.

  • Use cruise control for long trips. If you drive 10,000 miles a year on long trips an use cruise control, you can save an estimated 60 gallons of gas, which would add up to $240 @$4.00 a gallon.

  • It's actually more efficient to use the air conditioning rather than drive with your windows down; open windows add 'drag' and the car will use more fuel. So be cool!

  • Last but maybe most important: group your errands---visit your usual haunts in a more logical order, instead of going back and forth over the same areas.

Better still, leave the car at home and start brushing up on those cartwheels!!




Thanks to AAA for the info!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Essay Phobia

Do you have Essay Phobia?
Do you see the words “write an essay” and feel like a deflated balloon?
Did you ever write an essay you thought was brilliant, and got an “F” on it?
Do you feel like the way you write an essay is never going to have a big impact on your life?
Consider this: you will have to write essays for school in almost every subject. You will often have to write them as part of college applications, and also for scholarships. If you go on to graduate school, you will still be writing essays that will be a big part of your grades. The quality of an essay could make all the difference in a grade, an acceptance to a school, or being awarded a scholarship or not.

Some common mistakes in essays:
  • Run-on sentences (like when you write something that goes on for several lines and there isn't any punctuation and when people get to the end of it they feel like they need to take a breath like this one).
  • incomplete sentences (examples: 'Because I could.' or, 'Yesterday.')
  • Incorrect spelling
  • Incorrect use of apostrophes or dashes (it isn't 'Do your test's or 'pick-up your garbage.')
  • Descriptions that are too 'wordy' or too dramatic
  • Wandering off the subject

So, how do you know if your essay is written well enough to submit? Here are some suggestions: First, of course, use spell check. It will catch spelling mistakes, give you hints when you aren’t using the correct wording, and will let you know if you have incomplete sentences. Second, have an instructor check it over.  Third, if you know someone who has great writing skills, ask him or her to check it out.
And here is a terrific resource you can use to help you write a genius essay:  smarthinking.com!
At this website, you can submit your essay online for a review. It will be checked and returned to you with suggestions and corrections. You can also receive tutoring online in other subjects.
If you want to go directly to the writing help section, here’s the address:
Never fear: You can write a great essay!