Category Archives: Education

Know More About A Degree In Indigenous Studies

A December 2016 THE article highlighted the rise in both the US and Canada of indigenous language coursework. That same month, CBC News ran a story on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s prioritization of indigenous languages through the imminent proposal of the Canadian Indigenous Languages Act, while The Globe and Mail reported on Trudeau’s pledge to work toward reconciliation with the indigenous First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups through annual meetings with their leaders. Given the media buzz over indigenous studies combined with the initiatives fueling this buzz, the question follows: Why is this field so important, and are studies in this area right for you? Read on for five reasons to consider a degree in indigenous studies.   1. Indigenous studies offer a more comprehensive and honest representation of history.  Indigenous people have been marginalized in countries across the globe for many years. In most cases, they’re still being marginalized today. According to Danielle Lorenz, a PhD candidate in educational policy studies, the best way to remedy ongoing ignorance and stereotypes about indigenous people is through indigenous studies. In addition to fascinating coursework in diverse areas ranging from literature to traditional ecological knowledge, Lorenz points out that there are more general takeaways for students in this field: “They can learn about the accomplishments and contributions Indigenous peoples have made to global society, they can learn that Indigenous peoples in North America survived the world’s worst holocaust, they can learn about the true history of Canada – not as peaceful (or dull) as commonly thought, and they can learn that, today, while challenges exist – Indigenous peoples are more than just their ‘issues.’”   2. Indigenous studies are interdisciplinary. Indigenous studies comprise a breadth and depth of academic fields the humanities, social sciences and beyond. Not only do students learn how to integrate this information in order to broaden their worldviews, but in doing so they also hone and refine their critical thinking skills. These skills aren’t just applicable to directly related work in areas like indigenous governance, indigenous literature, and indigenous social work, they’re also transferrable — and highly valued by employers. Read more about interdisciplinary indigenous studies.   3. They are a necessary part of achieving reconciliation. Many national history curricula overlook the stories of indigenous people. In Australia, for example, while Aboriginal people created a unique and impactful civilization, it is largely disregarded today. Why? Because according to an article in The Conversation, “It does not easily fit with the colonial mythologies around which popular histories of Australia have traditionally been constructed. Indeed the very use of the term ‘civilisation’ in relation to Aboriginal Australia will no doubt confound some readers. Perhaps the most insidious myth perpetuated about Aboriginal society is the idea it was ‘primitive’, ‘stone age’, ‘nomadic’, or ‘unevolved’. This type of thinking feeds racist stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes which continue to marginalize and disassociate Aboriginal Australians from the national identity. The archaeology of our continent directly refutes this type of thinking, but until recently the monuments and achievements of ancient Australia have remained largely invisible to the mainstream public.” The Conversation goes on to propose that expanding a society’s historical viewpoint not only “offers a path to new understanding,” but to achieving reconciliation.   4. It helps preserve indigenous cultures. According to a recent New Yorker piece, “On every continent, people are forsaking their ancestral tongues for the dominant language of their region’s majority. Assimilation confers inarguable benefits, especially as Internet use proliferates and rural youth gravitate to cities. But the loss of languages passed down for millennia, along with their unique arts and cosmologies, may have consequences that won’t be understood until it is too late to reverse them.” The proliferation of indigenous language coursework, in particular, is viewed as paramount. “Without language, we are empty vessels,” indigenous language master’s student Bob Badger told THE. “Within our languages, we have a deep understanding of the world around us. We make connections between the traditional cultural teachings and our place in the world. The language is alive and the language has a spirit.” It is because of its vital importance that the Canadian government has proposed the Canadian Indigenous Languages Act, which will grant equal rights and privileges to nine indigenous languages in addition to English and France. Read more about initiatives to preserve indigenous languages.   5. It promotes better citizenship. According to The Conversation, “One of the most important skills promoted by historical inquiry is that of empathy, a feeling of sympathy and engagement for other people from different time periods and cultures….If students can develop the knowledge of why cultures are different it will help develop empathy and encourage an appreciation for diversity, and hopefully, undermine growth of racist viewpoints” while simultaneously supporting the development of a “more comprehensive appreciation of our humanity.”  In other words, is there any better way to improve upon our collective citizenship than by improving upon our collective understanding of each other? Indigenous studies have been deemed so valuable, in fact, that there is a movement to make coursework in this field a mandatory component in university curricula — alongside English, math and other core requirements. By pursuing a degree in this vital field, you won’t just walk away with an enriched (and more accurate) perspective, but you’ll also be positioned to take on a leading role in righting the past towards a more equitable and tolerant future.

Should You Know About Some Memorization Tips and Tricks

There are two parts to memorizing something: getting it into your brain and then getting it out again. Surprisingly, the first part is relatively easy. Your brain can hold a lot of information. Just think about all the song lyrics and tunes that are in your head.

Don’t try to memorize too much at one time. Instead, break it up into parts. If you are trying to memorize a poem, don’t do the whole thing at once. Memorize just one stanza at a time.

You can sometimes “chunk” information. Remembering 10 numbers in a sequence is hard (3 0 7 5 5 5 8 2 9 4). But remembering 10 numbers in telephone format is a lot easier (307-555-8294).

Remember just the critical information. If you are making a presentation about constellations, you don’t have to remember every one of them. Find out what your teacher expects for the presentation and focus on those aspects.

Repetition over time is the most important method of getting information into your head and retrieving it readily. Don’t cram; the information won’t stick. Repeat the information frequently over time.

Writing things down and saying them out loud are wonderful ways to help you remember things. When you use these two strategies, think about what you are trying to remember. Just don’t say things out loud when they will annoy other people.

Mnemonics work for some people. This is the strategy where you associate information with something else. One of the classics is the mnemonic for the planets, at least when Pluto was included: “My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.”

Adding a tune to what you are memorizing can be really helpful. The best example is the alphabet song, which you probably learned when you were four or five years old. Isn’t it unbelievable that you could remember all 26 letters at that age?

One of the toughest memory tricks is unlearning incorrect information. Instead of trying to unlearn it, try recalling it with a different cue. If you are constantly misspelling “weird” as “wierd,” you can always get it right if you remember it as “We are weird.” The “we” will help you spell it correctly.

Here’s something you should memorize. Ask your friends for their memory tricks. They might not all work for you, but some of them certainly will.

Learn More About Time Management and Study Skills

Rehearsals and practices. Study groups and last-minute trips to the beach. Not to mention, you know, class work. Any way you slice it, college is full of stuff. Worried about fitting it all in? Author, consultant, and all-around college expert Marcia Y. Cantarella, Ph.D., can help! She was kind enough to share an excerpt from her book I CAN Finish College: The Overcome Any Obstacle and Get Your Degree Guide, Chapter 8: Time Management and Study Skills.

Did you know it’s advised that you study two hours for every credit hour you take? So if you’re taking 16 credits, that’s 32 hours of study a week. But you’re working 20 hours a week. And you commute three hours each day, 21 hours a week. And you do need to sleep at least six hours (42 per week) or you’re a mess. That’s 115 hours a week accounted for right there. And students who sleep more do better by a significant degree, according to various studies.

There’s obviously not enough time in the day. We all say that at some point, sometimes frequently. But actually, depending on how we choose to use it, there is enough time. I know perfectly well that if I watched less TV, I would get more done of a productive nature—so I make a choice. Less time on Facebook or YouTube, playing Frisbee or guitar, commenting on American Idol, or hanging at Starbucks—less on all of those could yield you more time too. The activities listed in the first paragraph above total 115 hours, but there are 168 hours in a week. It’s up to you how you spend the remaining 53—that’s more than seven every day—fooling around or doing laundry, attending a club meeting, dating, seeing a movie, or whatever else you want or need to do.

To be more productive, the first thing you need to do is determine your time management style. This may seem annoying, but it is really useful. For one week (do this with a friend, to compare notes and make getting it done more likely) write down everything you do and how long it takes. How long do morning preparations take you? Note how long it takes to get to school, to classes, to have lunch, to study, and whatever else needs doing, for the entire day. I bet you find surprises by the time the week ends.

If you work longer hours or have a family to care for, then your time is more constrained (and perhaps more unpredictable). But students manage all of these things and school. Often, paradoxically, those who have more to do are more effective and do better in school—and often in life.

Once you know where your time is spent, you can make your schedule work more effectively for you. The best strategy is to plan. That means you need some tools: a planner, a PDA, a calendar. Use whatever works best for you; I emphasize use. I myself prefer a Google calendar and lots of lists and Post-It sticky notes. Planning is not simply recording when you have a dinner date or a paper due. It involves looking ahead and also back. You look ahead to see, for example, when your paper is due, then look back to see where you have blocks of time to work on the paper. You should put tasks requiring long stretches of time, such as writing a term paper, in time blocks of an hour or more. Set a goal for a first draft and put that on your calendar. Make a date to show the draft to your professor. You not only impress your teacher but keep yourself from procrastinating. Other assignments, such as reading a novel for your literature class, may be done in small time chunks. Always have that book with you for the times when you’re on the bus to school or in line at the grocery, or just have some moments available. But do put the reading on your to-do list for the day.

Let’s discuss the to-do list. Keep a daily list of the main tasks you want or need to accomplish. You’re less likely to forget them that way. If you spend two hours working on your lab report, you know you’re that much ahead for the next day, even if it’s incomplete. Try this for a couple of days, and see if you don’t feel a little more proud of yourself when, at the end of the day, you can see “done” items crossed out. Sometimes you need to make the list come to life: set reminders in your calendar or PDA, or put sticky notes on your mirror. You can even ask friends to remind you to check your list, as you work on getting accustomed to using it.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done. Situations can interfere: illness, family needs, a new priority at work. A good plan allows some wiggle room. Planning allows you to slow down; it is healthier. Move an item to the next day if you can’t get to it. But if you have to keep moving items, it’s an indication of a problem, and you should stop to see what’s happening.

One of the biggest factors interfering with a plan is fear. Really. You may be afraid you can’t write a paper, and so you put it off. It’s better to talk about matters making you anxious than to be paralyzed by the fear of them. This kind of fear can also relate to not being able to say no. Out of fear of being unpopular, you agree to go to a party you have no time for, chair a committee you have no time for, hang out when you know you should be studying or working. You can effectively say “no” by saying that you’re sorry but you have other plans, or are just swamped. You don’t have to explain more than that. You want to be the person with clear priorities, and that includes planning time for yourself. A nap means you are busy, as does the gym. And the time you lose because you got sick from lack of sleep or food or exercise is really time wasted.

Make achieving your goals a communal activity. Let someone else know your short-term goals. If you’re determined to have your lab report done by Thursday so you can enjoy your weekend, tell a friend. If you have to get grad school applications in by November 1, tell your mentor or advisor. If you need to be up early to exercise, find an exercise buddy. Others can help you stay focused and resist tempting distractions.

Setting priorities means you have to think about the long term. Why are you in college? You are there to gain the skills and credentials that will help your dreams come true. You are not there to drink the most beer, be president of the sorority, direct every play on campus, or win the final four in basketball. Your classwork, the job that allows you to stay in school or furthers your career plans, your health, and your relationships are your priorities. The balance can shift periodically, but you have to keep those four in your sights at all times.

Survive An Enduring Career

It’s like riding on a subway without holding onto anything for balance: the consistent shifting and evolution of your place and space on the train mirrors the metamorphosis of today’s work landscape. One consistent trend in workplace evolution? Time. Young graduates will have to work longer than their parents. Sure, you want to survive. But we know that you want to do more than that. You want to thrive. Here’s how.

1. Changing Life Cycles

According to a recent Financial Times article, life used to be measured in three stages: education, work, and retirement, all with fairly equal amounts of time. That cycle looks different now, with a significantly longer working life. While an MBA used to be the catalyst for the job that would get you to your final burst of highly successful employment, it’s now somewhere in the middle. When your working life begins in your 20s, you need to begin to think of this cycle lasting for fifty—or even sixty—years. How should you prepare? What do you want it to look like? Consider what it would take to sustain your spending habits—and extrapolate those costs over the next half-century plus.

2. Transition and Change

Recognize that transitions—even positive ones—are always difficult. They rattle your sense of self, and often your sense of place. They are always a time for growth, whether you want it or not. The keys to your success? Flexibility and adaptability. It’s unlikely that you’ll have the same job for 50 or 60 years. Keep your networks broad and varied—reach out to people of different ages, genders, and occupations. As you build your portfolio, consider the trends that potential employers will invariably seek—and see. With perseverance, your career portfolio will tell your story of resilience—and a willingness to try new things.

3. A Few Paces Ahead

Plan your career like you’re a chess master: think strategic steps. Always. Sitting still gets you nowhere. Learn a new skill. Try a new language. Add some people to that fantastic network of yours (see #2). Learn some new technology. Reach out. Look out. Do what you enjoy. Keep yourself relevant, happy, and think about how you can apply what you know and love to what you want to do—recognize that those things will probably change over time.

4. Identify and Invest in…

Your interests and skills. Easier said than done. Why? You need to know what interests you—without having someone else tell you. When you’re just starting out, this can be difficult because there are so many people—family members, friends, professors, career advisors—telling you what you should do. The key is for you to tell yourself what you should do—and then invest the time in learning how to achieve your goals. Don’t wait for a professional development opportunity to land in your lap. Make your own. You’ll be thankful you did.

5. Career as Financial Asset

Your career has the potential to pay off dividends bigger than all of your other financial assets combined—car, house, stock portfolio, 401K. Manage your career like it’s gold—because it is. When you maximize the opportunities for your career, you maximize your financial security—and also your lifestyle satisfaction. Do what moves you, and figure out a way to maximize your returns. Find a reliable mentor, assess your risks, survey the economic landscape—and most importantly, establish your classy reputation in whatever path you choose. You won’t regret it.

Your takeaway for the next 50 years? Find out what makes you tick—and do it. With resilience, grace, commitment, and a little bit of strategy, you’ll get there with flying colors.

Know The Different About Grad School In The US, UK, And Australia

We often rave over the many reasons to study abroad. And they’re all true: From learning a second language to enriching your global perspective, the list of benefits of international studies is long. However, if you’re thinking of pursuing a graduate degree, you may also be wondering whether there are any key differences between grad studies abroad and in your home country. Here’s a closer look at five ways US grad school programs and UK and Australia grad school programs differ.

1. Duration of Study

While the typical master’s degree in the US takes two years, master’s degrees in the UK and Australia can be completed in a much shorter amount of time — many in as little as a year. A PhD, meanwhile, takes around three years in the UK and Australia — compared to five in the US. Not only can trimming time off your degree amp up your earning potential by getting you into the workforce sooner, but you’ll also save money on tuition and living expenses due to the shorter duration.

2. Flexibility

Because US degrees graduate degrees are spread over two years, they are often broader in nature — at least in the beginning. This can be an advantage for students looking for the freedom to explore different specializations and areas of research. In the UK, meanwhile, degrees are more specialized and self-directed. Students who already know what they want to focus on can immediately begin directing their efforts into this area and finish up sooner.

3. Cost

Not only will you pay less due to the shorter degree duration, but tuition fees in the UK and Australia are usually lower than those in the US, too. According to Investopedia, the average cost of tuition for a UK Master’s degree is $20,700 for American students. While tuition for a public US master’s degree is much less at an average of $14,537, the cost of an elite, private school graduate program skyrockets to more than $40,000 a year. One caveat? Funding is plentiful in the US so students may find it easier to offset the high cost.

When every penny adds up, even small savings add up to big ones: Many schools in the UK and Australia don’t require students to take standardized tests like the GRE and GMAT so you’ll also save on test and test prep costs. (A handful of UK universities do have GRE and GMAT requirements, so be sure to check into the admissions requirements for each prospective school.)

4. Term Structure

While most university terms run from mid- to late-August through mid-December and early- to mid-January through May with a lengthy break over the December holidays, academic terms in the UK and Australia may be different. While most schools also rely on a semester system, some UK and Australian universities use trimesters and quarter semesters, instead. They may also start a bit later than US schools with classes continuing into June. In general university, university schedules in the UK and Australia are much less standardized than in the US so will also vary more from school to school.

5. Teaching Approach

While countries all over the world aspire to the US higher education model, a recent article in The Guardian proposed that UK universities — where the focus is on “seminars, not stature” — have admirable qualities of their own, especially when it comes to teaching. While US undergraduate lectures are large with discussion groups typically run by postgraduates, in the UK “the focus is still on small-group teaching, and much of the undergraduate degree is conducted in seminars of 20 students or less.” Further, proposes The Guardian, “These seminars are taught by full-time staff who are experts in their field and have undergone extensive training in pedagogy.”

The good news? This is not as much of an issue at the graduate level where students in the US have more direct access to professors. However, it’s still important to remember that you’re dealing with two very different education systems and will need to adjust your academic expectations accordingly. According to US News and World Report, these differences can open up new opportunities for American students abroad: “U.S. students are often not only exposed to new material, but also a new way of thinking and learning. Varied class structures, teaching styles and interactions between professors and students can enhance the experience.”

The overall takeaway? While inherent differences exist between university systems, they also differ between graduate schools and programs. Concludes US News and World Report, armed with information about these differences, “students can decide more clearly if earning a graduate degree outside the U.S. is a viable option given their academic and career goals.” So independent of location, the quality of the program and how it will position you to attain your goals are paramount considerations.