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Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Academics | 0 comments

Fun Electives for Medical Students

Fun Electives for Medical Students

Hello Maria, I am going in the medical field and was wondering if I should take some writing classes. I would like to know what your thoughts are on the matter.

Dear Kyle,

If you are going to the medical field, I am pretty sure you have your class schedule planned out for like the next 4 years. Is this the case for you? Yup, I know. I understand there are many required courses and most of them have to be taken in a specific order. Even your electives sometimes must be in the math or science field. There is very little wiggle room.

That being said, I personally believe that a balance schedule is one of the keys to student success. If I were you, I would go for it. Take a writing class! Start by taking one next semester and if you like it enough then go ahead and take more. If your class schedule is filled with classes such as Organic Chemistry and Calculus 3, I believe a social science class will do you good. Even just to have your mind thinking on something else entirely unrelated to compounds and equations.

Furthermore, I would like to argue that some physicians are noteworthy writers. Some of my favorites include, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Keats, and the great Anton Chekhov. Also, as you start your career in the medical field, writing can become an artistic outlet for you. Don’t be shy and go for it!

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Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Academics | 1 comment

Online classes

Online classes

What is a good way to keep focused when you’re not self motivated with online classes?

Dear Andrew,

Ah, yes, online classes. These are a new method of education that has emerged in recent years thanks to the frequent evolution of technology, which makes everything easier. Online classes are very convenient, and a fast way to get a requirement done. Please don’t misbelieve that they are easier classes. On the contrary, I would argue they are harder specifically because, like you mention, there has to be a lot of self-motivation on the student’s part to get up, sit in front of the computer, and do work.

Aside from the convenience of being allowed to do school work in your pajamas, there is also the advantage of going at your own pace. This can be critical for students who tend to finish stuff quickly and immediately want to start on whatever is next.

When I took my very first online class, I felt the same way. I constantly asked myself, why do it now when I can do it later. This mentality is not good at all because it will only lead you to get behind.

What I did was, and this is my advice to you, create your very own due dates and write them on your planner. If you break a due date, then you must, I don’t know, write an email to your professor and ask him or her a question on the assignment or homework. Or, read a chapter from Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics as a penalty (unless you’re a total Philosophy nerd, you won’t like this book). Usually my self punishments would involve me not using my iPod for a day. The harder the penalty the most likely you won’t miss another due date.

Furthermore, the trick with the online class is you must dedicate time to them.

Just because you can get an assignment done in an hour doesn’t mean you will learn what you need to learn. If you have modules intended for each week, start on Monday and, little by little, work your way through the module taking time on the readings and writing notes.

The more time you dedicate to the class, the more important it will become for you. If you put time in it then you will want a good grade. Ultimately, this will only help you get motivated and retain the material better.

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Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Academics | 2 comments

Boring classes

Boring classes

What is the best way to get through a class you are required to take but have absolutely no interest in?

Dear Amanda,

I understand. It is hard to sit through an hour and half of class when you have no interest in learning the material. And, I understand it can be a little boring, not because the class is easy but because there is no drive for it. I’m going to assume you are talking about the classes outside of your major that are the general learning requirements for the degree you are pursuing. Some of these classes are Comp I & II, Ethics, Speech, Humanities, Math, and the Sciences.

Personally, I would say that these classes are super important for the student to become a rounded individual and knowledgeable of various subjects. Even though it seems like a drag to attend these, overall, what you will learn in these classes is good for you.

Look at it this way; you will become a better student and person once this class is completed. I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but if it wasn’t for my speech and composition classes, I could honestly not survive my now upper-level classes’ essays and presentations. The classes that are of no interest to some students are usually the ones that build up the pivotal foundation of knowledge. This is why I say that they are of the utmost importance.

I know, I have been there, they can be boring but they are good for you.

Some tips on how to get through not-very-interesting classes:

  • Read the material and try to apply it to your life, if you make a connection with what you are learning and your personal life, it will be more memorable.
  • Instead of dreading going to the class, before you step in the classroom, think of things you like in the class, maybe your professor gives great examples and anecdotes, the textbook is fun to read, you like your seat and the people sitting next to you.
  • Think of the reasons why you are taking this class: a new degree for a new career, a personal accomplishment, making your family and friends proud.
  • At the end of the class reward yourself (this is what I do after a big test): watch your favorite show, eat something you love, or go out with friends.

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Posted by on Oct 20, 2013 in Academics | 0 comments

Choosing a major

Choosing a major

Is it common to switch your major many times? I can’t seem to pick just one.

Dear Lacy,

It is absolutely normal! I changed my major a few times, too. College is a time to explore your interests and decide on the career that will make you happy. Just make sure you are not taking classes that will not serve you or the advancement of the degree you wish to attain (Associate’s or Bachelor’s).

Also, keep in mind some majors take longer to complete than others due to all the prerequisites that exist for the actual major’s classes. For example, for majors in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), there are usually more prerequisite classes for these majors. Unless you want to be in school for a long time, then be cautious to complete these instead of exploratory courses.

If you continue to constantly switch your major, then I would recommend you speak with your academic adviser about degrees and courses, and to a career specialist about which degrees lead to what careers. Even if you have a career in mind, the degree you are considering might not be the best choice.

For example, if your ultimate goal is law school, then an undergraduate degree in pre-law is not entirely necessary. It will definitely help but you can still be a great lawyer and majored in English or Sociology.

Additionally, if you are like me and like to pursue an array of interests, consider double-majoring or choosing a minor. This can be an easy fix to relieving the desire to know about stuff outside of the required curriculum. I’m currently minoring in Latin American Studies and I love it. Still, do not forget that it is more important to learn about something that you are passionate about.

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Need to Know | 0 comments

Graduation

Graduation

Can an online student earning a certificate attend graduation ceremonies?

Dear Tracy,

Yes, online students earning a certificate can attend graduation! And please do so!

SPC holds a ceremony after the end of each semester in December, May and July. The times and location vary. (Check the graduation website for specific details.)

All SPC students attaining a diploma or certificate are encouraged but not required to participate in the ceremony. I, personally, very much encourage you to participate! I have had the opportunity to attend more than 5 SPC graduation ceremonies.

In some I was selling roses as PTK scholarship fundraisers, in another I was behind the scenes arranging programs, and, of course, in one I was actually graduating. It is an amazing experience that you will treasure forever.

After all, if you took all the classes and fulfilled all the requirements, at the end you deserve to walk across the stage while your name is being said on the speaker, receive your diploma holder, shake the trustees’ and Dr. Law’s hands and have a simple ‘yay me’ moment!

It is an accomplishment, so enjoy it!

Some other reasons why graduating students need to attend graduation:

  1. You can’t deny the perfect opportunity to wear the SPC-blue cap and gown. It is beautiful color!
  2. You’ll be surrounded with people who have endured the same things as you.
  3. Seeing some of your professors wearing their own graduation regalia is just inspiring.
  4. You’ll see the baton of academic power.
  5. It is a milestone; another finish line crossed in the long road of life, might as well dress up for it!
  6. You can tell your grandchildren about it.

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