College Student Grocery List

As the year begins, I can sadly say that this will be my last post writing for Distance Learning. It’s been a good year, and I hope to be back writing soon. In lieu of the events that are about to take place, I decided that my last post should be one that I thoroughly enjoy. And since I’m getting back into “fit queen” mode, I decided to compile some clean eating recipes for you that should stay within the college student’s budget, which is roughly twenty dollars a week for me (I usually spend fifteen though!)

Avocados are good for the soul! (photo by ollesvensson)

Avocados are good for the soul! (photo by ollesvensson)

Here’s this week’s grocery list and the recipes that I can create from it:

  1. Pomegranates (1)
  2. Bag of Spinach
  3. Avocados (2)
  4. Cucumbers (1)
  5. Bag of Bananas (6)
  6. Crunchy Peanut Butter
  7. Pepper Jack Cheese
  8. Diced Tomato w/ Green Chile Can
  9. Black Beans Can
  10. Long Grain Rice
  11. Bag of Red Apples

Total Cost? 14.69$.

Now, for the recipes in mind:

The idea is to half your avocado, then take out the seed and a bit of the avocado as well, to create a bowl inside of a bowl. I know, mind warp. Keep in mind that for this recipe, I already had eggs and bacon from the previous week (about every four weeks, I buy staples, then the other three weeks I buy additional things to compliment the staples.) Cut your bacon into little tiny pieces. Crack the egg into your avocado bowl. Sprinkle your bacon pieces on top. Then, heat the oven to 450, and let it go for about 15 minutes.

  • For the lazy days: Hispanic-themed Rice:

Boil some rice up, open your can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and the can of black beans as well. After the rice as cooked, top it with some of the diced tomatoes and black beans. Obviously you’re not going to use the whole cans for one sitting, so be mindful to save the rest in containers!

Slice apples, throw some peanut butter on a plate, dip and enjoy. Be mindful of how much peanut butter you use – you don’t want to overdo it. I chose crunchy peanut butter because I didn’t want to spend money on sliced almonds – but I do recommend it if you have a little bit of extra cash for the week!

  • For a dessert: “Ice Cream”:

I got this recipe from Blogilates. Basically, cut up a banana in slices and set them in the freezer. When they’re frozen, throw them in a blender with some peanut butter. And you have peanut butter ice cream! You can’t even taste the banana, and it’s very creamy.

  • For a lunch or dinner: Sandwich:

Keep in mind that for this recipe I already had bread, egg, bacon, and mayo at the house. Toast a slice bread with cheese on top, so it’s all melty and gooey. Toast the other slice too, but add mayo to it. Cook an egg. Layer spinach first on the slice with mayo, then cucumber, then avocado. It’s optional but adding bacon to this would be killer.

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Best Social Studies Sites of 2013

Social studies was one of my favorite subjects in school. I actually ended up graduating high school with roughly eleven credits in the subject, when only four were necessary. And with the year about to end, these are the best social studies sites of 2013.

History is, in my opinion, one of the best subjects. They just don't draw like this anymore. (photo by MCAD Library)

History is, in my opinion, one of the best subjects. They just don’t draw like this anymore. (photo by MCAD Library)

#1. Perfect Storms

Part of social studies is seeing the social effects of disasters – whether it be in history, like the assassination of a president, or even natural ones. Perfect storms allow the students to “see” the events in history happen through computer art. It also allows you to create your own perfect storm, where you put in an address of your choice and watch the destruction ensue.

#2. The Poverty Line

Want to see or share with your students what it’s really like to live in poverty? Even in other countries? BCC states that they “…calculate[s] how much money people living at the poverty line have to spend on food each day.” Right now, it’s actually inspiring me to spend “a dollar a day” on food. I know other people have done that type of fast in order to understand the poverty culture better.

#3. Knotted Line

An interactive website on the struggle for American freedom. Definitely the most modern-artsiest social studies site I’ve seen so far. At first the site was confusing – I actually had to click the “About Us” page to figure out that clicking and dragging the knotted line was what I needed to do.

#4. Lincoln Killing Interactive

If you’re ever teaching or wanting to know about Lincoln’s assassination, this has to be one of your go-to stops. It’s run by National Geographic – and goes through the conspiracy theories, the assassination, and the aftermath. It teaches some really cool stuff – for example, if you didn’t know, Lincoln was almost assassinated in August of 1864.

#5. History of Information

This site is basically an online encyclopedia of history. Dating from 2,500,000 BC to the present, it’s pretty interesting. Although I’m very disappointed that one of the biggest things in history for 2013 is the youngest developer created a mobil game app. Sigh, technology is alright but there is way too much of it these days.

#6. Q&A: Teaching Social Studies

This is just an article, but it’s worth a look. It links to other articles that may help you out – with subjects such as dealing with history myths. The thing about social studies in middle and high school is that you have more room to branch out and really get to know your students – which you might not get with a math or science course as much. It’s a perk, and the Q&As should involve not only questions on how to teach, but how to socialize with your students and create a happy classroom environment.

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How To: Live Off-Campus

Living off-campus at a four year university must be significantly different from living off-campus at a community college (which probably is because most community colleges don’t have on-campus housing) but it’s still a way of life that needs careful planning – that is, if you want to show up to class on time.

Living off-campus can be fun, too! (photo by thisgeekredes)

Living off-campus can be fun, too! (photo by thisgeekredes)

#1. Show Up in Your Gym Clothes A Lot

The reason for this is simple: you’re still paying for the gym at your college. You’re also paying for the technology available to you, as well as if your university has a pool. Basically – if you’re living off-campus, you won’t have the luxury of going to your dorm, changing, then making your way to the gym. Actually, I probably wouldn’t even be motivated for that – I’d get to my dorm and then fall asleep. Show up in your gym clothes. It’s a lot easier this way.

#2. Show Up To Class On Time

You’ll have to get used to commuting, as well as realizing that you won’t have the same parking space every single time. Plan accordingly, because otherwise, you won’t show up on time – and it’s no fun when your professor calls you out on it.

#3. Be Responsible

If you have to drive to campus in the morning, don’t drink the night before. Alcohol will stay in your system usually at most for eight hours, so if you have a class at seven, you basically have to be done drinking at eleven at night, which is usually when you probably would start.

#4. Make Campus Feel Like Home

Join a club or organization, like a health club, get a job on campus, do something! Just because you’re a commuter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the perks of college. In fact, to motivate commuters, US News states that:

“At Philadelphia University, commuters are eligible for prizes, from gift cards to local eateries to Nintendo Wiis, if they attend on-campus events, get good grades, or seek out a tutor.”

Of course, you will miss out on some things, like…

#1. A Place to Rest Between Classes

That’s why you see them sleeping in their cars, on benches around campus, and the library.

#2. More Help Outside of Class

If you’re the kind of person who needs help in class, you should probably make a few friends who you can text if you miss a day, or don’t really understand the assignment due at midnight.

The thing to understand is that living off campus is significantly different than living on campus. You have to put in a lot more effort to even show up to class, not to mention be involved. It seems like a harder life, but in lieu of the money you’ll save, it may be worth it for some more than others.

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Tracking Adderall via Twitter

Adderall is a drug that is very much abused by our peers. It is the quintessential study item for some of us. That’s why this study, from NCBI, tracked how much college students all across the nation were talking about it; and then compiled it in this colorful and a bit horrifying map.

Adderall - the study and finals drug. (photo by hipsxxhearts)

Adderall – the study and finals drug. (photo by hipsxxhearts)

The study, as quoted from here, follows this experimental form:

Adderall is the most commonly abused prescription stimulant among college students. Social media provides a real-time avenue for monitoring public health, specifically for this population.
This study explores discussion of Adderall on Twitter to identify variations in volume around college exam periods, differences across sets of colleges and universities, and commonly mentioned side effects and co-ingested substances.
Public-facing Twitter status messages containing the term “Adderall” were monitored from November 2011 to May 2012. Tweets were examined for mention of side effects and other commonly abused substances. Tweets from likely students containing GPS data were identified with clusters of nearby colleges and universities for regional comparison.

213,633 tweets from 132,099 unique user accounts mentioned “Adderall.” The number of Adderall tweets peaked during traditional college and university final exam periods. Rates of Adderall tweeters were highest among college and university clusters in the northeast and south regions of the United States. 27,473 (12.9%) mentioned an alternative motive (eg, study aid) in the same tweet. The most common substances mentioned with Adderall were alcohol (4.8%) and stimulants (4.7%), and the most common side effects were sleep deprivation (5.0%) and loss of appetite (2.6%).

Twitter posts confirm the use of Adderall as a study aid among college students. Adderall discussions through social media such as Twitter may contribute to normative behavior regarding its abuse.

It’s an odd study because we aren’t exactly sure who was just talking about Adderall and who was actually using it.. I’m not sure if there are any songs in ode to Adderall but there might be, and someone might have just quoted a lyric that was stuck in their head or really, anything else.

The study showed that Adderall was not used recreationally, but mainly during final exam week and midweek- meaning kids would use it as a study aid. The study monitored the trend for six months, and even still – showed that the trend was very one sided in regards to the USA.

Nonetheless it is astonishing how concentrated the Twitter trends are on the East coast. Makes me wonder what’s going on on the West coast that students aren’t really interested in using the drug. Is it just more accessible where we are? Or is it something else? Is the East coast more reliant on drugs to make good grades in school? All of these questions rely on social sciences to answer.

To see the map I’m talking about, click here.

Of course they have no proof that any of these kids actually took the drug, so nothing can be done about that – but they can speculate.

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ADD/ADHD Doesn’t Really Exist As Much As You Think

We can say all we want that ADD and ADHD are real problems for us in Western civilization – but see, that’s just it. It only “exists” in the Western world, meaning that it’s a sham. Here’s why.

I suppose these kids are supposed to be on Adderall(?) (photo by Life Mental Health)

I suppose these kids are supposed to be on Adderall(?) (photo by Life Mental Health)

Now, it’s not that ADD and ADHD don’t exist – because there are always cases where it is. But there is absolutely no question that it is over-diagnosed in the Western world.

Food for thought: maybe if it wasn’t so over-diagnosed, there would be less kids (kids who actually don’t need the medicine) who would be willing to sell their Adderall to a college student with a final coming up.

I can’t sit through a movie or in the house for very long before I start to feel antsy, sick, and have the desire to want to run around outside. But here’s the catch: I can’t focus because I need to be doing something productive. I need to feel like I’m not wasting my life away. I don’t have ADD.

Huffington Post states that:

Attention deficit disorder consists of nonspecific symptoms and behaviors that are widely distributed in the general population: poor concentration, distractability, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. At the poles, the diagnosis is easily made. At one end, the kid who presents with classic early onset, severe ADD is unmistakable. At the other, most kids clearly do not have ADD. But in between (at an arbitrary, flexible, fuzzy and heavily-populated boundary), it is tough to distinguish clinical ADD from normal kids who are no more than extremely frisky and difficult to manage.”

Makes me wonder how willing parents are to rid of their “headache” children that they would put them under unnecessary drugs (that, by the way, make you feel like complete crap if you don’t actually have the disorder) just to get them to learn how to sit down and stop talking so much.

It’s not just becoming popular for children, adult ADD is being prescribed at faster, more abundant rates as well. The same article suggests that:

“Far too often, ADD is becoming a common tag along diagnosis — especially used by clinicians prone to prescribing polypharmacy drug cocktails. Adult ADD should be diagnosed only when symptoms are clear cut, definitely impairing, and had their onset in childhood. There is no such thing as late onset ADD.”

There is a clear solution – and it is this, as Dutch psychologist Laura Bastra suggests:

“”A medical approach to ADD type behaviors is warranted only for the minority of kids who have really severe and persistent concentration problems and disruptive behaviors. Most kids respond to simpler methods and don’t need an ADD diagnosis. Medical treatment should be offered as the last, not the first step — clearly necessary for those who really need it; but unnecessary and even harmful for those who don’t.”

Logical enough? Be smart. Don’t put your children on drugs as a first step.

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Is Common Core the Educational Obamacare?

I’ve never really believed in Common Core. Frankly, most teachers, parents, and students don’t either. The problem is that the people who try to improve education really have no experience in the field – or if they did, it was many, many years ago. In fact, many articles are surfacing comparing it to Obamacare – and we’re seeing how that has failed right now.

Nice. (photo by William M. Ferriter via Todd Ehlers)

Nice. (photo by William M. Ferriter via Todd Ehlers)

I couldn’t put it better there, so here’s Spectator’s take on the matter:

” But they’ve found instead that Common Core is an educational track that parallels the Obamacare: both are designed to “fundamentally transform” America, both were conjured up out of audacious incompetence, both are products of ideological thinking rather than experience and common sense, and both are guaranteed to produce disastrous consequences.”

Common Core, much like Obamacare, was forced onto the public and left little room for anyone’s say in anything. The process of how Common Core came to be was that of two things: money and incompetency. Spectator sums up their process, as quoted here:

“Common Core was developed without state legislative involvement or authority, without involvement of curriculum or content specialists, and it was never voted on by anybody. Instead, it began with progressive educational insiders in Washington, D.C., was developed by Achieve, Inc., a group of progressive education reformers, shaped by commercial vendor NCS Pearson, Inc., and funded primarily by Bill and Melinda Gates through numerous foundations, organizations, and coalitions. At the last minute, two D.C.-based trade associations, the National Governors Association and the Council of State School Officers, were brought in to give the appearance of local and state involvement. Common Core has been implemented primarily through billions in federal “bribes,” because states had to accede to it in order to receive “Race to the Top” grants or waivers for “No Child Left Behind.'”

Critics have already given Common Core a D grade. Others have said that the high school graduation passing rate parallels seventh grade math. That’s ridiculous – and I wonder if they are trying to dumb us down so that they will have even more authority over us. Other critics suggest that (from the same article):

” Instead, some experts say that the goal is to produce “workers,” not “educated, thinking citizens.” The “lessons” in Common Core peddle propaganda, even in grammar exercises and math problems. Parents are reporting disinformation, distortion, and disparagement of American capitalism, exceptionalism, and opportunity. In short, Common Core appears to be as much about indoctrination as it is about educating our youth and providing them the skills needed for both informed citizenship and productive careers.”

But what’s even more disturbing is how it doesn’t just stop at education. It’s another way for the government to keep track of the population – starting from the time a child is of school age, for the rest of his life alive. The more that our private lives are put on display for others, the more we will be controlled and potentially dumbed down- all at the hands of government.

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It’s Okay To Hate College, Right?

I can’t say that I enjoy going to school, but I’ll do it because it’s the safest way to a brighter future. I guess. Turns out, other people hate college – worse than I do. Other people love it more than I do. To each his own, I suppose.

A valid reason to hate college. (photo by jvoves)

A valid reason to hate college. (photo by jvoves)

Thought Catalog has written an article sharing his story of hating college – and why he fled, that I will quote here, because his story is told best by him:

“I dropped out of college after three days. 10:00 on a Saturday night, I threw on my backpack, strode to my car, and fled.

Let’s back up a few months. If you were trying to identify someone who would withdraw from school after 72 hours, you wouldn’t have alighted on me. I applied for early admission at my college; I was accepted by October of my senior year. I started packing my boxes and shopping in the adorably coordinated aisles of college necessities six months before my move-out date. Five of my friends would also be joining me at said college. I was independent and academically minded with a car, a plan, and motivation.

I had every reason in the world to get out of the town I lived in. I had every reason in the world to continue educating myself. Then suddenly, seemingly without reason, I told my college to go screw itself.

Moments of shocking mental clarity have a habit of finding us in very strange, very small ways. Mine found me as a sat in my friends’ dorm room, a newly minted college freshman, crammed between them and five strangers, lights out, watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Nothing has ever quite mirrored my inner turmoil like an on-screen acid trip did, and no one finds this more bizarre than I do. The scene unfolded on the 32″ television screen in front of me: the movie set’s carpet mutated up the walls, actors stood around a casino morphing into gigantic alien creatures. I began to feel like I might crawl out of my own skin and take a leap. From the kids around me I heard plans to go out for the night being made, names of downtown clubs being tossed around, car keys jangling, each person becoming more alien to me by the second. WHY AM I IN THIS ROOM? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!?!

Okay, you know what? Chill. The. Hell. Out. Like, what are you even panicking about? (Some of) these people are your friends, and you’re glad to be here, and college is great, and you made the right choice, and you have all this freedom, and you’re having fun, right? You’re having fun, and…

“Coming with us?”

That question was directed at me.

“Naaahhh,” I said, smiling serenely. “I gotta head out.”

I have a really vivid memory of walking away from their building in the dark. Warm. Stars. Crossing campus at an unusually slow pace. Studying the faces of the people I passed. Watching them feel at home. Realizing that I felt like a tourist where I, too, was supposed to feel at home. I walked straight to my car.

I can never be sure of why we are who we are and why we do what we do. Sometimes we know exactly what we want, and sometimes we only think we know. And that’s okay. Seriously. It’s okay to grab a situation and sling it out of your way if it isn’t working for you. It’s okay to unapologetically free yourself. It’s okay to get halfway down a path and say, “Uhhh…never mind.” In my case, it was okay to realize that I loathed my school of choice. Listen, if your instincts start nudging you to do something, by God, your instincts know what’s up.

Fleeing my first college like a bandit taught me that there will always be another path, and it doesn’t really matter how your desire for a new path manifests itself, as long as you are ballsy enough to take it. And that people who will help you move everything you own twice in one week really love you.”

Couldn’t have said it better, my friend. Couldn’t have said it better.

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The Wealth Effect

We live in a capitalist system here in the US. That means we have the freedom and ability to make our own way – and either become wealthy or fail, and try again. Wealthiness in the US isn’t exactly a variable – considering a family’s wealthiness usually regresses into nothing after  two or three generations. Yet, something like our parent’s income has a direct effect on if we get into this prestigious university or that prestigious university.

Wealth in the USA. (photo by er00mb0b)

Wealth in the USA. (photo by er00mb0b)

Now we have, through the studies that the NYTimes has reported, a way to measure the wealth effect – as given by John Jerrim, from the University of London, as quoted here:

“My background is economics, and if you look at the economics, kids that go to certain universities earn a premium on their wages during their working lives over and above the premium you get just by going to college,” Dr. Jerrim said. In the United States that premium is about 6 percent, he said.

“The other reason for looking at these particular universities is that they seem to influence access to certain jobs and to act as a signal to high-flying graduate recruiters,” he said. “If you take the job of being prime minister of Britain, for example, you almost have to have gone to Oxford.”

The article then goes on to say that:

“Dr. Jerrim found that students whose parents come from a professional or managerial background are three times as likely to enter a high status university in Britain or Australia as students with working class parents. For the sake of the study a “high status” university in Britain was defined by membership in the Russell Group of large research institutions; in Australia the study looked at students attending the “Group of Eight” coalition of leading universities.

The same threefold advantage applied to students attending prestigious public universities in the United States — those described as “highly selective” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which rates schools based on the test scores of incoming students. At elite private American universities, moreover, students are six times as likely to come from a professional as a poor or working class background, Dr. Jerrim found.”

It’s kind of scary – almost like a “you’ll never get out of the situation you’re in” type feeling, don’t you think?

Jerrim basically states that working class children are either not being accepted to universities, or frankly just aren’t applying. Either way, it’s causing a skew in the statistics.

It’s also easier for richer kids to attend school because their parents are more fit to support their educational endeavors. For the middle class, this means extensive and almost psychotic amounts of debt on their shoulders. Is it even worth it for them?

Either way, the wealth effect has become very luminescent.

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