College Campus Resources- And Some Off Campus!

college campus resources on and off campus

Hey college students! Are you living below your means when it comes to being enrolled in college? Typically as a full-time and even part-time student, you are entitled to so many different campus resources that you may not be taking full advantage of. Here are a few typical perks you can find: 

Gym membership- whether it’s to the school’s rec center or a discount at a local gym membership. They are great deals when you’re in school and you don’t get this perk once you graduate, so use it while you can! 

Sports events- Typically the school will either admit students to sports events for free, or make it incredibly affordable to go. They know the students are the lifeblood of cheering the school on and want to encourage as much support for their teams as possible. 

Printing offices- Schools often have a specific printing office or printing stations throughout campus because they understand that the luxury of a printer is not in every student’s budget. So they try to keep them accessible and as cheap as possible. 

Study sessions and tutoring rooms- There is a good chance, especially in your general classes, that you can find a study session or tutor room for the subject you are struggling in. In the school I attended, they had a whole room specifically for math tutoring. It didn’t matter which class you were in, there were plenty of students majoring in math or similar studies that were readily available to help assist you with your homework or teach you a concept you were struggling with. And the best part, it was FREE! 

Tech help- Utilizing technology is just about the only way you can gain a college degree anymore, so colleges have stepped up and offered tech help to students that cannot figure out why their computer is glitching or randomly deleting every download. They understand that you need functioning technology, so they are here to help! 

The library- And oldie but a goodie. Every school has a library to some extent, which typically is equipped with computers, desks for studying, comfy chairs for reading, and of course, BOOKS for research. 

Discounts at restaurants- In a college town, you may be surprised how many local restaurants offer discounts to enrolled college students. They may not advertise it every time, so asking is the best policy! It never hurts to ask if they offer a discount to college students. 

Have you been taking advantage of these great perks of being a college student? What else would you add to this list? 

Fighting Fire With Fire

Using positive praise with our kids

Recently we’ve had some power struggles with our almost 4 year old. I was warned that 3 year olds can be one of the hardest ages, and I have to say I agree so far! 2 years old was bliss with her, then like a switch, 3 came in like a tornado and is still wrecking havoc almost a year later! 

I was getting discouraged that behavior was so poor in our house and that the conversations in our house from both sides were incredibly negative, with a lot of “Mom, I don’t like you” coming from her, and a lot of “You need to be nicer!” coming from my husband and I. No one was winning! 

But it seems like every few weeks I have a revelation come to me that I’m actually doing it wrong. I’ve written posts on this very blog about positive praise in the classroom and how far it can go in the eyes and minds of the students, but I don’t actually turn it around and apply it to my own children at home. So that’s what I was doing wrong, I was fighting fire with fire and only one thing was coming from it- more fire! 

So slowly, and I’ll admit, somewhat awkwardly, I started finding the positive, good things my daughter was doing and praising those, while trying to ignore the bad behaviors, as long as they weren’t dangerous to anyone else. Sprinkling little bits of water on the fire here and there. It took a significant amount of effort on my part, I’m not going to lie! It was easy to slip into mindlessly getting after her for all of the little things she was doing wrong, so it took the mental effort on my part to pick out the little, small things she was doing right

After some time, the words in our house turned from incredibly negative and unhappy, to positive and upbeat. It slowly became less fire and more water! I searched and searched for ways to praise her, and it paid off. She found that she was getting attention this way, so she continued these behaviors, even sometimes pointing them out for me! The best part was how she turned around and used the same language towards her dad and I. She would thank us for dinner or picking up her shoes for her. She was praising us for things that made her happy.

Now I don’t want to say it has been fool-proof. It’s a peak and valley process that comes and goes. We inevitably slip into our old habits of using negative language and calling out the bad things she’s doing. Then a few weeks in, we realize it’s not working, and switch our thinking back to a positive mindset. Things will get better behavior wise for a few weeks and we feel great about it! Until it becomes hard, yet again. It’s an ever-lasting cycle, but the important thing is that we keep trying. We continue to make an effort to bring back the positive talk in our house and praise the good, even when we forget. 

The jury is still out if we are going to survive raising a three-year-old, but for now, I can always count on reverting back to positive praise to slowly ground us and bring the happiness back. 

Cover photo: Lacey Ross Photo

Working During College: The Information And Tips You Need

tips for working during college

Let’s talk about working as a college student! It can feel overwhelming to juggle a job, school work, and a social life. But if you’re up for it, here are some tips and ways to manage it all. 

Types of work:

Work Study- This is an option for students that qualify for work study because it’s technically a government sponsored program to employ students to help them pay for school. These jobs typically are on or near campus. 

Working on campus- You can also find jobs on campus that are not work study jobs, if you do not qualify. These jobs can be anywhere from washing dishes to becoming a Teacher Assistant for your favorite professor. 

Working off campus- Typically requires a car or public transportation. Many students provide financially for themselves by working at the local pizza store or maybe even driving for Uber! Off-campus jobs can be so many different opportunities. 

Internships- Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find a paid internship within your major to help you gain the experience needed to obtain a job once your college career is completed. 

Tips for working during college: 

  • Be open with your employer about your status in school and the commitments you have with class and homework. 
  • Practice good time management to make sure you can complete your school work and be able to somewhat maintain a social life as well. 
  • If you have downtime at work, use the time to study! When I was in college, I worked as a bank teller. In the time between customers coming, I would practice for my sign language class or go over a quick chapter in whatever reading was due that week for another class. As long as your employer is okay with it, use the time to multi-task! 
  • Be reasonable with yourself. If you’re having a hard time balancing your work/school life, take a step back and prioritize what you need to do. Does this mean cutting back hours at work? Dropping a class so you can still keep the balance but afford to go to school? Or maybe you simply just need to choose one over the other for the time being? 
  • Consider transportation time when trying to work. If the job is a decent drive away and you are not feeling like you have enough time to manage school and work, an on-campus job or something with a shorter commute might be a better option. 
  • Talk with your roommates, classmates, friends, and anyone else you may have connections to about what jobs they are currently working. Some of the best jobs I had in college came because a friend I knew told me about it. 
  • Your school most likely has an online job board where you can search for open positions, check this often! 

Did you work during college? What other tips would you add to this list? 

Cover Photo: pexels.com

#TeacherMom Thoughts on Underestimating Our Kids

underestimating our kids

A month before my daughter’s 2nd birthday I researched the best gift to give her. I didn’t want more pointless toys to fill her room and never be played with, so I set out to give her the perfect gift. Through all of my research and talking with friends, I finally found the perfect gift! A balance bike. If you’re not familiar with a balance bike, it’s a two wheeler bike that kids pump with their feet instead of pedals. The idea behind a balance bike is that it teaches kids how to balance on a bike instead of relying on training wheels, making the transition to a standard two wheel pedal bike that much easier. 

The first day we got the bike my daughter was so excited! However, upon attempting to ride the bike, she quickly became frustrated because she couldn’t do it. So naturally, I became frustrated with myself that I tried to pick out the BEST gift, but it seemed to have flopped, because she didn’t like it and couldn’t do it. 

However, day after day, we practiced and practiced the bike. We had many walks around the neighborhood and bike rides with friends and eventually it was starting to click. It absolutely did not happen overnight, but it did happen! She then continued to ride the balance bike for a year and a half after that original day of her looking at it reluctantly, and I was proud of the progress she had made. 

Eventually, she became very adept on her balance bike and started noticing that other, older kids were riding pedal bikes. Naturally, she started asking for one. I was hesitant to agree, because of her age. She was only 3.5 years old! I continued to say no to her day after day, all the while, she kept asking. 

Finally, I found a second-hand pedal bike equipped with training wheels within our budget and caved, mostly because it had the training wheels. I figured it would give her a chance to learn how to pedal on a bike, since she had not learned that yet. 

When I came home with the bike, she immediately grabbed her helmet and took off. It only took a second of fumbling with the pedals before she figured it out, and off she went. She rode two houses down, turned around, and came right back. I was BAFFLED. It almost felt like my eyes and brain weren’t working. Was I really watching my daughter effortlessly ride a pedal bike? Granted, with training wheels, but I was still thoroughly impressed. 

The next day when we got the bike out again to ride again, I noticed that the training wheels weren’t actually hitting the ground much, she was mostly riding the bike herself, and when I addressed it with her, she told me she needed them and couldn’t ride without them on. It took a lot of talking and convincing and discussion, but eventually she let us take the training wheels off. Then, I did what a lot of parents do with their kids. I stooped over and I held the back of her seat and one handlebar while she slowly gained her balance, straightened the bike out, and continued to ride as my hands loosened grip and eventually let go. The moment I let go I knew it was a ride or die moment. She would either continue pedaling and fly, or realize what was happening and crash. I held my breath to see what would happen…. 

And she did it! She continued to pump her feet and steer the bike with the perfection that any 3.5 year old could have. I was so proud of her! And again, I honestly could not believe my eyes. 

That night I was reflecting on the situation and absolutely in awe that my 3 year old could ride a two-wheeler pedal bike by herself. I distinctly remember when I learned to ride a bike, I was in first grade and boasted to all of my 6 year old friends about it the next day at school. How did my child learn to ride a bike at half that age? 

When it boils down to it- I underestimated her. In my mind, I believed that kids learn to ride a bike around kindergarten to first grade, and even though I set up my child for success by providing her with a balance bike at a young age, I still could not wrap my mind around the fact that she had the ability to do this on her own. From the very first time I shut down her idea of a pedal bike, I was shutting down the idea that she was capable. 

What else was I underestimating my kids on? Definitely their ability to climb a ladder. Or anytime I called out “be careful” while they were on a playground. Why was I forcing them to live in this idealistic box of how old they had to be to climb a ladder or ride a bike? Because it was for my own comfort. I wasn’t prepared to see them fail, but we all know that we can’t find success without a little failure. 

In a classroom setting, are we underestimating our kids? Are we sticking to our curriculum, and robbing them of the opportunity to see how far their learning can take them? What discussions are we having with them to think deeper and continue beyond the test? 

In the end, we need to stop underestimating our kids. We need to give them the benefit of the doubt and see how far their minds and bodies can take them, because they may just soar. Or take off steadily on a pedal bike! You never know until you give them the opportunity to show you. 

An Open Letter To A Future College Student

An open letter to college freshman tips and advice

Dear Future College Student, 

You don’t know it yet, but your greatest life adventure is about to begin. You’ll walk into this wide eyed and ready to see what is in store for you, and walk out with an expanded knowledge and a full heart. 

College is an amazing and unforgettable time where you will grow in ways you never knew was possible or needed. You’re about to meet new friends, professors, and peers that will shape your experience while you are there. Those friends are going to get you through your four years at school. They’ll be there to study with you, grab a quick lunch with you, and yes, even invite you to a party or two. 

Your relationship with your professors may surprise you. Some professors will be cold, distant, and simply read off of their presentation slides. While other professors will take you in, teach you, mentor you, and send you off into the world with a newfound knowledge and love for their subject area. Maybe even with a letter of recommendation as well! 

Your campus is big and daunting and you will probably get lost… often. But by the end of your time walking these sidewalks and hallways, you’ll know this entire place inside and out. Because it won’t just be a college campus to you, it’ll be your home. It’ll be where you spend hours at the library nailing down equations and studying for that big mid-term you have coming up. The multiple food stops on campus will be where you stopped for a morning bagel on your way to biology class because you didn’t have time to grab food out of your own kitchen in a rush to get to class. 

The basketball, football, and hockey games you attend will become a bigger part of your college experience that you never realized you needed. The comradery of a whole school chanting and cheering together all for the same team will bring everyone closer than ever before. 

Four years at college isn’t just walking onto a campus and walking away four years later with your degree in hand. It’s the environment, the parties, the friends you make, the events you attend, the professors you meet, and so, so much more. 

So listen up, future college student. This is where your greatest life adventure begins. This is where some of your best memories and learning moments will happen. Take it all in, and enjoy it. The saying is cliche for a reason, but it truly will go faster than you expect it too, and you’ll be sad once it’s over. 

You’ve got this. 

A List Of Our Favorite Toys

Toys are an important part of childhood. They may create clutter and stress in our lives as parents and teachers, but the truth is, they can be essential to our kid’s childhood. They don’t have to be noisy and there doesn’t have to be a lot of them, as long as they are intentional. Here are our favorite toys we keep at our house. In fact, the less noisy and flashy they are, the better development wise. 

Magnet tiles- Learning more about magnets AND the ability to build various structures. They are also an easy add-to collection. Where we can continue to purchase more as gifts to my kids, but our abundance of toys doesn’t feel overrun. 

Wooden blocks- Again, building! Imagination! And sustainable materials. 

Kitchen set with food and dishes- More pretend play has happened in our play kitchen (both outdoor and indoor) than anywhere else in our house. 

Pop open tent- I’m a big fan of these because they fold flat for easy storage behind or under the couch. Our next purchase will be a pop up tunnel. 

Baby dolls- Both my son and daughter love playing pretend with our collection of baby dolls. None of them are very fancy and we’ve thrifted the majority of them. 

Outdoor kitchen with real pots and pans- I spent a weekend thrifting old pots, pans, silverware, and other kitchen dishes that we’ve put into our little playhouse in the backyard. These combined with some dirt and water seem to be our most popular toy! 

The toys you choose to have in your home for your kids don’t have to be extravagant and don’t have to be flashy. In fact, the less batteries required, the better! The more work your child has to do in order to play with the toy, the more learning and growing that is happening. 

What are some of the favorite toys in your house? 

Importance Of Reading 20 Minutes A Day

benefits of reading 20 minutes a day

Many, many schools push 20 minutes of reading a day. And while using reading charts or similar methods may not be beneficial in the long run, sitting down to read for 20 minutes a day is. Especially if it’s done in an authentic way. Here are some statistics of reading 20 minutes a day: 

Children who read 20 minutes a day are exposed to 1.8 million words in one school year.

They are also more likely to score in the 90th percentile on standardized testing. 

There was also a study done on children reading 15 minutes a day that showed academic achievement and gains in regards to reading, but not as high as the students that read 20 minutes a day. 

Students reading 5 minutes or less a day were more likely to fall behind their peers academically and needed intervention methods to bring them to grade level (statistics from kidskonnect.com).

Beyond just statistics and test scores, what are the other benefits of reading? 

A widened imagination and higher levels of creativity. 

Reading can help foster empathy. 

It exposes children to multiple cultures, ideas, and worlds. 

Reading improves writing skills. 

It expands vocabulary. 

Taking 20 minutes to read every day can boost mental health. 

Improves critical-thinking skills. 

Can encourage them to ask more questions when they don’t understand concepts in the book, such as why some cultures eat, drink, or act in the ways they do. 

Have I convinced you yet?! Encouraging 20 minutes of reading a day can do wonders for children’s education. There are amazing benefits to it! Stay tuned for a blog post in the future on how you can foster a love of reading in your students as well.