Hand Over Your Money…It’s College Time


I’m sorry. I don’t like to shout at you. It’s not very polite. One trend I’m seeing in our economics classes is of the people who intend to go to college 80% of you have no idea where or why. It’s like someone said you had to do something after high school but you were never sure what. The first week of class was dedicated to setting SMART goals.

College is one of the most expensive purchases you will make. Yes, that’s right. Purchases. Investments. Emptying of your wallet, depending on your perspective.

The jury’s out on this one, folks. Many economists are conflicted. Some say you should go to college right away because you will have increased earning potential. Others say the thousand plus percent increase in the cost of college over the last decade cancels out that benefit, and entrepreneurship is the way–find a mentor, network, and research to get into your field.

I’m going to stand in the middle on this one. For some of you, college is a must. I don’t want my neurosurgeon apprenticing and googling the answers. Sorry. But then again, there are, in fact, some degrees that are worth more than others. Take a look at this graph. This shows there are many more people than jobs for mathematics and computer science degrees. Sadly, it shows my field as the one with very few jobs and a surplus of degrees.

What does this mean?

1. Research your colleges. In order to do this, you should have a spreadsheet. I made one for you. You can cut and paste this into a working spreadsheet in your google drive, this one’s read-only. Feel free to add or subtract columns for things you value, like clubs or athletics.

2. Know the deadlines. They come up quick. You should be reviewing your spreadsheet for deadlines.

3. Narrow down colleges to a “yes,no,maybe” column. If possible, visit colleges on the likely list.

4. Look at the $$$$ column. Pay attention to scholarships and deadlines for scholarships. There are a ton of scholarships in areas you might not think about–corporate, ethnic, religious, gender, or experience-based scholarships. This requires research, application time, and hard work. It’s a part time job.

5. Fill out your FAFSA. This is the form that goes to colleges telling how much financial need your family has. Do this immediately after your family files their taxes. Some aid is first-come-first served. Being early helps here.

6. Don’t decide based on one factor. You have to be able to pay for the college once all the aid comes in. Sure, I’d like to own a Ferrari, but it doesn’t make sense. I’m broke, and my neighborhood gets snow. Potholes alone rule out the Ferrari. college is not an emotion based decision. IT’S AN ECONOMIC ONE. Sorry. I’m screaming again.

7. Think outside the box. I can’t recommend the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps program enough. The military, if you qualify, will pay for your degree(s) and give you a commission as an officer. In an economy where many qualified people are in debt and underemployed, it’s a reassuring thing to get out of college loan free with a guaranteed job. Again, you’ll need to attend to every detail in the application process, which is coming up quick.

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

At the same time as the American Civil War was just wrapping up, Alice in Wonderland was taking England by storm. Lewis Carroll, born Charles Dodgson, the son of a preacher and one of eleven children, all of whom survived into adulthood, was an author, professor, and photographer. 
His legacy is highly controversial.  Read through this Learnist board on Carroll and decide–was he a genius or a deviant?  When deciding, it’s important to look at the context of the times. Can we judge people, ideas, and situations in history by today’s standards? People often do. After reading through the Learnist board, please offer your opinion on the life and times of Carroll and Alice in Wonderland focusing on the following: 
1. History: There are so many references to the Age of Imperialism, the roles of women in society and social history. 
2. Fantasy and Imagination: Some of the best innovators fall into this category. How has fantasy and imagination resulted in inventions and innovations that make the world a better place?
3. The Rabbit Hole: Have you ever encountered a person or idea that changed your life forever? That made it so you never saw the world the same way again?  How can this help you change the world? You might not have had this experience yet. If not, think of someone you admire who has had an epiphany and been that kind of game changer as a result. 
Regardless of where you fall on the issue of Carroll, his stories are inspiring. “Sometimes, I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 
That’s exactly the kind of thinking that makes us magic. 

Got Power?


This Storm of the Century has been raging out there for a good bit now, and I hope that it’s treating everyone as well as can possibly be expected. I have made some resources for you–yes, a Snowpocalypse Learnist board for you to enjoy, including valuable information on “Why this storm is not named after a fish–because that would be illegal.” I included some historical clips to the Blizzard of ’78, which I do remember. I was angry, because my dad called in sick to work, and he was not sick. Therefore, he lied. Lying is bad. I didn’t quite get that by not lying, he’d be virtuous and probably a dadsicle on the side of the road, because everyone drove those awful rear wheel drive cars in the seventies that doubled for stunt crash mobiles in police chase movies.

Yes, it was bad.

Today, looking out my window, I see about two feet or so of snow with some drifts. Please leave a comment and update us as to your power, heat, and condition. Hope you’re all doing well.

Post your photos–best snowman, snow angel, or snow activity gets a prize–once I snow blow myself out to get it! Good luck!!


[Image stolen from my friend Heather’s FB profile. It’s her first snowman, which is either a victory, or pretty sad if you think about how old we are. You decide.  Location: NYC]

Pursuit of Everything

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I fell in love with this manifesto–before you go back to playing Call of Duty or ignoring your parents, stay with me.

It’s been scientifically proven that you are what you do and who you  hang out with. Your top five friends will shape your life. Think–who are your friends? What do they stand for? Do they bring you up or down? In ten years, will your friends be game-changers, innovators, or sitting on a bar stool somewhere never making anything happen.

If you don’t know who your five best friends are, check your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Who is there the most?  If you count the positive comments and then the negative comments, which number would be greater?

What is the life you would like to lead? If you’re going out into the world next year and wonder what that’s going to look like, I urge you to read The Life and Times of A Remarkable Misfit by A.J. Leon.  He left his high-powered job to travel the world. If you read one page, you will become inspired, if you read two, you will probably start making plans to do something, and if you read the whole thing, you may just change the world.


School of the Future: Science Fiction or Reality?

Two scholars stood before me, indignant.  “Why do I have to come to school to do #E%$#% worksheets? It’s a waste of my time.”

We talked. I listened.  I posed the question:

What would you do if you had to design the school of the future? If it had to motivate, engage, captivate, and produce results?

Is this science fiction? Or could it be reality?

I am throwing down the gauntlet. You know who you are…answer the question and be ready to place it here–a guest post, Prezi, video, series of interviews, or research paper will do.  Who knows, maybe you have an even better idea…


Congratulations on Your Efforts!

The Davies community really came together to help victims of Hurricane Sandy last week.  I was proud.  Ms. St. Pierre is a rock star when it comes to organizing a successful event, that is true, but you took the ball and ran with it, scoring more touchdowns than the first half of the last Patriots’ game.

If you hadn’t noticed, the press sure did.  This Sunday, there was a marvelous article about your efforts in the Providence Journal.  I wrote an article in Edudemic, which a national digital education magazine .  The entire nation knows that the William M. Davies Career & Technical High School cares.

Not only do you care and respond–it’s not always easy for you to do so because this is a regional school–you go above and beyond to take action. That’s why I’m so proud.  It is my sincere hope that this will not have been one event, but a spark that ignites a series of bigger and better events directed through your outstanding Skills USA Leadership and brought forward by you.

So, do you have an issue you want to address?  Do you want to continue bringing spirit to Davies? Do you want to keep helping improve your community and showing that Davies leadership? I do.  Let’s keep this inspiration rolling.  Nicely done, Davies!