Monday, September 28, 2015

Campus Security-Safety Pointers

Now that you’re a college student, you’re responsible for your own safety; it’s up to you to look out for yourself. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe...
 When traveling....
  • Take turns being a designated driver or sober companion. You could save someone’s life.
  • If you have a car on campus, avoid running your car to the Empty point. If you need to get in the car and go, or if you will be driving in bad weather, you don’t want to be out of gas. Have a $5 bill tucked away in your glove box for emergencies; that should get you a gallon or more, and even that much gas will probably get you at least 10 miles. 
  • Tell at least one person where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • If you have a GPS, set the home address to the local police station, not to your home. They are often stolen, and you don't want the thief to show up at your house.
  • If you are using a GPS that attaches to your dash by suction cup, remove it and hide it--or take it with you--when you aren't in the car.
  • If a party gets out of hand, leave!
  • Put 911 on speed dial so you only have to hit '9' or another single digit. You may be quite jittery when you need to dial those three numbers.
  • Remember that if your car stereo is on super-loud, you may not hear a siren approaching or someone trying to get your attention.
 Emergency phones may just be a speaker with buttons or an actual phone.

Personal safety:

  • Most campuses have a 'panic phone' system. Know where they are, and don't be afraid to use one should you need to.
  • If you have unwisely had too much to drink, or are high, do not try to walk home alone.
  • Never, ever leave your drink alone or with someone you don’t know. Date rape drugs are easy to use. And men are just as vulnerable as women.
  • If a stranger offers you a drink or food, say no thanks. Safer to get your own.
  • Be cautious about a date with someone you don't know that well: avoid being alone with him or her, until you feel certain you are in no danger. Give it time. Be smart.
  • Don’t ride with drunk or drugged drivers.
  • It isn't smart to offer rides to people you don’t know, nor to get in a car with someone you don't know.
  • Trust your instincts!
  • If you don’t have a friend to walk you to your door after a campus event or a late class, call campus security for an escort. Most dorms will have an office and/or resident advisor that can get you a security escort if you don’t know where to ask.
  • You and your roommates have a right to have friends over, but if a visitor makes you sense danger, you also have the right to speak up.
  •  Lock your dorm door even if you just plan to be down the hall for a few minutes. This keeps your stuff safe as well as your roommate's stuff, as well as prevents visitors from going into your room when you're not there.
  • ALWAYS lock your car.
  • Put anything of value, including your backpack, in your trunk. Many times thieves will simply break a car window and take your backpack, because they assume you have a laptop in it.
  • Do not "Buzz someone in" that you don’t know. 
  • If you feel uncomfortable getting into an elevator with someone, wait for the next one.
  • If you have trouble with a person, talk to someone about it! See what can be done.
Have fun, and be safe: You can do both!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Best Study Tips

10. Don't cram. It doesn't help you remember, in fact it probably is the worst way to retain information. It's much better to study every day.

9.  Take really really really really really really good notes. Use a tape recorder in class if it's allowed (or get recorder app on your phone, and be discreet about it, or ask if it's allowed). Go over your notes as soon as you can while the class is still fresh in your mind. You might not be able to make any sense of them an hour or two... or five... later.

8.  Disconnect  and concentrate. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, video games, whatever you are doing other than looking at a book is taking time away from studying. Study is study, and not social interaction. Turn off your phone (yes, you will live). If you have to look up something online, look it up and then disconnect. (Looking at Pinterest, videos, or Vines does not count as studying, just so you know)

7.  Assume you will be studying for several hours. It's part of school. Put study time on your schedule if it will help.

6. Eat nutritious food. It will help you stay awake and concentrate better than chips and candy.

5. Take a break sometimes. Maybe you study an hour, then step away for 10 minutes, then get back at it.

4. Be organized
  • Have a copy of the syllabus for each class. Stick it up on the wall where you study, or punch holes in it and keep it in a 3 ring binder, so it can't just slide out and be lost. Refer to it when you aren't sure where the class is going.
  • A notebook for each class is a good idea.
  • Using highlighters or different colored pens to make some points stand out can be helpful.
  • Know where your printer paper is.
  • Have a specific place where you always study. If you can't concentrate in your home or dorm, use the library.
  • Keep a good supply of pencils, pens, paper clips, staples in a place close to your studying.
  • Keep all of these things in the same place. Even a shoebox works, if you put things back and you know you'll be able to find them there the next time you study.
  • Sticky notes and flags can be really helpful to make note of important stuff, too.
  • Try making your own flash cards. Whether you use them in a group study or on your own, they can be helpful.

 3. Find a study group. You can help each other understand the class and give encouragement to one another.

2. Self-test: Make up a test and then 'take it.' You'll see how much you already know and possibly some things you don't. The good news is, you can still learn those things.

1.  Do it. The worst thing you can do is think you don't need to study, then show up for a test and fail it completely. 

These are helpful, too:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Think You Want To Be President?

We're all seeing the assorted candidates for President. What's involved in running for office?
In the United States Constitution, there are only three requirements:
  • You must have been born in the United States, or one of your parents was born in the U.S.
  • You must be 35 years of age
  • You must have lived in the U.S. for 14 years.

That's it, as far as the Constitution is concerned. Technically, when people vote for a candidate, they are voting for the one who has the support of the Electoral College. Each state has a set number of members of that group:
Questions about the Electoral College answered at the National Archives:

You will need to pay a filing fee of $400 (same as if you run for Senator; if you run for Representative, the fee is $300)
There will be forms to fill out to make you an official candidate, as well.

But in addition to qualifying and paying your filing fees........
  • You're going to need money. Lots of it. Candidates often spend in the millions of dollars to campaign.
    • In the 2008 election, President Obama spent $730 million, John McCain spent $333 million
    • In the state of Iowa alone, Mitt Romney spent $2.3 million on TV ads, out of a total of $7 million for all candidates
  • You also have to have support from your family, because it will be a long, time-consuming, expensive process
  • You need to have enough support (votes) to win
  • You need people to help you run your campaign that you can trust
  • You have to organize your campaign well
  • You have to be OK with others, mainly the media (TV reporters, print media reporters, social media bloggers, etc.), digging into your life looking for weaknesses.
                                                       Campaign button. And the point is.....?

Remember these factors, as well:
  • Why do you want to run for office? What do you want to do? Remember, as President (or any other elected official), you are to enact policies on behalf of your voters (constituents)
  • How many votes are you going to need to be elected?
  • How many people are registered, and what is the expected turnout, in each state? How can you change that?
  • Are there certain groups of voters you want to appeal to (women, young voters, environmentalists)?
  • You will have to research your opponents, and see what you offer that they do not
  • You will spend a lot of your time fund raising for the campaign: traveling, putting in appearances, shaking hands with people, having dinners, etc.
  • You need to 'market yourself,' that is make yourself known and appealing to the voters you need
  • This includes being a presence on social media, which can be a minefield of problems not only for you but for your family and the people you associate with

Still think you'd do all right?
Did you know that if you raise enough money, the Federal Election Committee will match you?
If you prove that you have raised $5,000 in 20 states, you will receive matching campaign funds from the FEC. You must submit a letter and papers that certify this in order to claim your matching funds.
If you spend less than $5000 of your own money, you don't need to file any paperwork.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

You're 11, Why Aren't You Working Yet?? Child Labor

Since Labor Day is to acknowledge all of us who have worked to make our country strong, I thought we might reflect on how working in this country has changed from its beginning, and especially child labor.

When did you first start working, if you have? How old were you? How many hours did you work? What kind of job did you have?

Did you know that had you been born in the 1800s, you might have been working before you were 10 years old? Perhaps when you were only 5?? True story.

When immigrants came to America with little or no money, they needed everyone in the family to work as much as possible. Often, both parents as well as any family member that could find work would have jobs.

Imagine having to work in a coal mine at the age of 7 or 8. How about in a textile mill, or sewing, or some kind of factory? Possibly shining shoes? As a servant in the house of wealthy people? Sometimes, children were hired into 'live-in' jobs: their parents would have one less to feed if the child was staying in the house where he or she worked.
Little boys processing coal. Coal was burned to provide heat in peoples' houses.

You might literally be running all over town delivering messages or newspapers.

You might just try selling whatever 'merchandise' you could on a street corner: pencils, food, anything that might bring some money into the household.

Working conditions for everyone from child to adult were dangerous in factories and sewing mills. Heavy equipment could cause serious injuries, even death, to anyone working with them.

A girl working in a bottling plant. What are the chances of her being injured by the machines, as compared to an adult?

If your family was farming, you would definitely help with chores--and you may also have worked at neighboring farms for pay. Imagine trying to keep up with everything and not having any kind of power tools, a tractor, or a plow--you needed to do it all by hand, and with the help of horses.

And speaking of pay, children were paid far less than adults for the same work. They worked, many times, 12 or more hours every day--7 days a very bad working conditions. Remember, this was before air conditioning, and before any regulation of work environments existed. Remember also that if you were poor, your lunch brought from home might consist of very poor food--not enough to give you the energy for such hard work. You might have a piece of bread or two with butter, a cup of milk if you were lucky, maybe a potato baked the day before. The few minutes of rest would hardly be enough to prepare you to finish your workday.
It's possible this was a mother and child both working at the same place.

Injured on the job? You would be faced with losing pay, probably losing your job, if  you stayed home to rest. You wouldn't have been able to afford a doctor's care.

In 1836 the first child labor law was enacted by the State of Massachusetts; it stated that any child under the age of 15 must attend school three months out of the year.

In 1842, with adults becoming more and more concerned about child labor, a law was enacted saying that a child could "only" work 10 hours a day. This, unfortunately, was not enforced with any rigor.

In 1892 a law was passed saying you were not allowed to work if you were under the age of 14.

It wasn't until 1938 that there was a Federal law passed to regulate child labor.

Look at these pictures and stories of children who worked before there were any limitations on child labor:

And a video:

Sadly, there are countries today that still use children for cheap labor, from South America to Russia to Nepal and Pakistan.. What does the label in your shirt say? Made in China? How was that item of clothing assembled, and by whom? What about that electronics item? By 'farming out' the labor, some American companies are having their products made cheaper (in some cases children work for 65c a day) so the companies receive more profit.

What products?
  • Fancy rugs are children, many times.
  • Cocoa-the beans to make chocolate are harvested with child labor
  • Coal is mined by small children in some countries
  • Diamonds are mined by children in South Africa
  • Clothing is assembled by children
  • Rice, cattle, coffee, cotton, tobacco, sugar cane and fish--all harvested using children
  • Gold is mined using children
  • Bricks are manufactured using children
Children making cigarettes

And what companies use child labor? You might be surprised:
  • Apple (circuit boards and other components made in China using child labor)
  • Hershey's Chocolate
  • Victoria's Secret (cotton)
  • Philip Morris Tobacco
  • KYE, which manufactures toys and also electronics for Microsoft-including the Xbox-as well as Nokia and Hewlett-Packard
  • Forever 21
  • Aeropostale
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Toys R Us

This is why it matters that a product is "Made in the USA:" We know the money was paid to American workers, and more importantly, we know it wasn't made off the backs of child workers. 

So consider doing some investigating to see just how that product was made and if you're willing to ignore child labor in order to have it. A little over 100 years ago in this country, that could have been you.