The Illusion of Busyness

Honey Bee Swarm

Americans are busy.

Or at least they like to say that they are.

As an entrepreneur and college ministry director, I’m around a lot of “busy” people. While some people are legitimately busy, many people are operating under an illusion of busyness. We think we are a lot busier than we really are. Rather than focus on one assignment at a time in order to systematically knock them out, we try to multitask instead which often obliterates our productivity. Due to poor time management skills (and the constant temptation offered by email, social media, and cell phones), tasks that should take one hour to complete consume two, three, even four hours instead. Add to this the way our culture subconsciously equates a person’s “busyness level” with his/her value and success, and it’s no wonder people talk/brag/complain about how busy they are all the time

How can we shatter this illusion of busyness? Here are three pointers:  Read more of this post

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How to Turn Your Internship into a Job

Eldredge Tie Knot

NOTE: This post originally appeared on The Next Great Generation (www.thenextgreatgeneration.com)

“What are you doing after you graduate?”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that during my senior year at John Brown University. In the fall of my senior year, I was in an internship practicum in which each student told the class about the internships they had held during the summer. One of the questions asked by the professor was, “Is there an opportunity for employment at the company after graduation?”

This is an important question for each college student to consider during the course of his or her internship. If the company turns out to be a company that you would like to work for, how can the transition from intern to full-time employee be made? Here’s how:  Read more of this post

The Need for Critical Thinking

blindfolded ... On Reclaiming "News" (February 28, 2014) ...item 2.. REMAKING THE UNIVERSITY (Wednesday, March 5, 2014) ...item 3.. Tips to spring forward (Mar. 19, 2014) ...

In a world of message overabundance, group-thinking emphasis, and easy social media sharing, is critical thinking slowly becoming less important? Or is it a skill that needs to be reemphasized in classrooms and workplaces?

Definition

Let’s begin by defining the term: critical thinking is “disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.” Critical thinking has been around as long as human beings have, but began to take shape as a formal process in Ancient Greece with the development of the Socratic method.

It has become an essential part of the education process (especially in higher education) and many professions. Critical thinking involves the five components in the diagram to the right: reasoning, evaluating, problem solving, decision making, and analyzing.

The Trend Away from Critical Thinking?       Read more of this post

Integrated Colleges: Giving Experience and Reducing Tuition

JOB INTERVIEW ..

The cost of attending a college or university is increasing at a pretty rapid rate in the United States. Many schools are scrambling for ways to increase enrollment and decrease costs in order to stay affordable and competitive, especially during the current economic downturn. In 2009-2010, the average cost to attend a four-year public university for was about $14,870 (up 57.5% from 1980-81), while the average cost of a four-year private university was around $32,475 (up 57.3% from 1980-81) (both calcuations done using constant 2008-09 dollars; Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011).  With more high school students wanting to attend a place of higher education, not to mention the number of job paths now requiring an undergraduate degree, it is time for colleges to get creative to keep costs low. The schools that keep tuition costs low are more likely to meet and exceed enrollment goals.

In addition, college students are looking for opportunities to get involved both in their communities, but also at their school. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, college students are beginning to realize that the more ways that can get involved and gain experience, the more they set themselves apart when applying for internships or jobs after graduating. However, many students have a difficult time finding relevant internships during the summer or don’t get to apply their “classroom knowledge” in real-world situations regularly.

One idea I have to solve this problem: Integrated Colleges. By ‘Integrated College’ I mean “any college or university that uses current students to accomplish daily organizational tasks in return for lower tuition and real-world experience.” This idea is similar to the “work study” model that pays students to do on-campus jobs like grounds, lab monitor, etc, but the Integrated College concept takes it one step further.  Read more of this post

Social Media and the Classroom

With the start of the school year right around the corner (at least for those who still have to go to school), I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about how social media can be used by teachers in the classroom to enhance learning. A recent study by Ofcom showed that 47% of teenagers in the UK  now own a smartphone, compared to just 27% of adults (I imagine that the percentage is almost the same, maybe higher, here in the US). Before I go into detail, let me announce some breaking news from Siloam Springs, where I currently reside.

Siloam Springs High School students can now use their phones at school! Siloam recently finished construction of a brand new high school. Along with the new building, the school district is making some modifications to their technology policy. For the first time in Siloam history, students are allowed to use their cell phones in-between classes (as long as they don’t make calls). That means tweets, texts, status updates, etc. Additionally several of the floors in the building have an extra outlet plugs in them to prepare for the day when most students have all their books on electronic devices.

Now that Siloam Springs High (and I presume other schools) are allowing students to use their cell phones (and laptops for some, especially colleges) at school without any reprecussions, how can schools integrate social media into the classroom environment to enhance the learning experience? Here are just a few suggestions:

Read more of this post

College Reflections: Advice

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. The first two posts were about my experiences with School and Church. This final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

I’d like to wrap up my College Reflections series with some advice that I have learned over the past four years.

  1. Prioritize: One of the hardest things for college students (and people in general) to do is prioritize things. Freshmen show up at JBU and instantly are presented with a plethora of activities, clubs, and friends to connect with and get involved in. As a result, many fill their schedules with 25 hours of activities in a 24-hour day. In order to really get the most out of the four years in college, it is important for each person to get his or her priorities. Of course, school/homework should come first for all students (if you don’t do well in school, you won’t be at school, and won’t be able to do any of the other stuff). Behind that, each person needs to decide what is most important and what they feel like will be the most fulfilling. For me, the list of priorities was school, church, internship at Harvard Avenue Baptist, internship at the Arkansas World Trade Center, JBUltimate club frisbee team, and everything else. Setting priorities makes it much easier to say “no” to certain things, prevents becoming overcommitted, and makes college even more enjoyable.    Read more of this post

College Reflections: Church

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. During the next few days, I will be reflecting on different aspects of my time in college, namely School, Church, and Work. The final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

Looking back over the past four years, probably one of the best decisions that I made while at John Brown University was to get involved in a local church. Not only have I made some great memories and met some incredible people, but I have matured a lot in my spiritual life as well. My college experience would have been much different had I not gotten plugged into the local church.

Read more of this post

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