There are a lot of crazy college sports out there, but Quidditch may just be the craziest. Last month, the first intercollegiate Quidditch match was held. Middlebury defeated Vassar handily (Vassar never even scored), and spectators were treated to a very interesting sort of game. You can read the full article here. I guess College and Finance was exactly right in comparing the people you meet in college to Harry Potter characters.
If the sport of Quidditch truly “takes off,” then we might have a QCS (Quidditch Championship Series). At the end of the season, at least 20 teams will be able to make a valid argument as to why they should be in the championship game. Schools in the SEC would also claim that their form of Quidditch is better than every other form of Quidditch. There could be various coaching changes, which would cause considerable controversy. Several college Quidditch coaches might bolt to the NQL (National Quidditch League) and then find out that they can’t hack it. At which point they would abruptly return to the college ranks. Two notable coaches to realize this would be Dick Fiban, and Jobby Latrino. Oh yes, and the newspaper tabloids will be buzzing once the starting Seeker for a nationally recognized Quidditch program is arrested for some crime, perhaps a DUI. Who knows, maybe the New England Compatriots (a professional Quidditch team that is sure to be founded and coached by someone named Will Handmeacheck), will get caught filming Chaser plays. We here at College and Finance truly look forward to an exciting new sport hitting the college, and maybe even professional, landscape.
December 14 2007 | College Fun | No Comments »
Today I read an interesting article about Harvard boosting their financial aid. Specifically, Harvard’s goal was to make the $45,620 yearly tuition price tag more affordable for everyone. The first thing I thought when I saw the headline was “about time!”
Students who come from families that make less than $60,000 annually already don’t have to pay anything to go to Harvard, but what about students who come from families that make more? Harvard found that students from financially well-off families (meaning middle class, and upper middle class) were forced to hold jobs that sometimes hampered their overall college experience. This is much like the plight I have had in college, as well as my siblings and many of my friends.
What do we do for the students who aren’t poor enough to receive FAFSA or university financial aid, yet aren’t rich enough to have their parents fund their entire education? It seems that this gap is ever increasing in today’s economy. When I fill out the FAFSA, it claims my parents can afford to give me $40,000 a year for college. I’m not sure in what universe my parents could ever give me $40,000, but it’s not this one. They can’t give me very much at all, yet I am denied aid because they just surpass a certain economic bracket. Therefore, many, many students like me are forced to take out huge loans and work constantly to afford tuition and fees. Which, as Harvard leaders saw it, can take away from the college experience. I still think it’s a great idea to get a job in college, but if you’re having to work 40 hours a week for school, you won’t be able to go through some of the greatest learning experiences in college (you’ll be too busy).
Harvard has now made it so that families between $60,000 and $120,000 would have to pay 10% of their incomes. That’s still a lot of cash, but paying $12,000 a year for a Harvard education, down from $19,000 is quite a drop when you think about it. If a family earns $180,000, their bill would drop from $30,000 to $18,000. To be fair, Harvard is the world’s richest university, so other schools won’t have the type of endowments to support that much aid. However, even making a little effort would have a positive effect.
Given these often trying economic times, it’s nice to see that some Universities are finally coming around and realizing how difficult it is to afford a college education these days. In March, I will most certainly fill out the FAFSA again. I know I’ll only be eligible for low interest rate loans, and I’ll have to continue to work my way through college, take out loans, and even try to find a few weird scholarships to make up the difference. Maybe other schools will come around and realize that despite what a family may make, they may not be able to simply pay for all (or even most) of a college education.
December 10 2007 | FAFSA and Financial Aid | 1 Comment »
I was reminiscing about freshman year with my friend the other day, which got me thinking, “what the heck did I learn my freshman year?” I suppose I learned a lot of things, I forgot some others things (math being one of them, as I took my last math class ever and decided I was done), and I grew as a person. However, I wish someone had been there in the beginning to impart some real freshman year wisdom on me before I had to learn things the hard way, and watch my friends make some huge mistakes. Perhaps had I had this advice, I wouldn’t have committed any party fouls, or dropped any classes. So, without further introduction, here are some things I learned my freshman year, that I’ve turned into some nice college tips.
1. Calculus and/or O-Chem will be two of the worst classes you’ll ever take, so prepare.
2. All lectures are optional unless otherwise stated, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend any.
3. Make friends with someone in every class, or take class with a buddy, it makes things much easier.
4. If you miss more lectures than you attend, you may not do as well as expected.
5. Unless the class is a 101 course with really attractive people, and athletes in it.
6. The higher the amount of attractive people in the course, the easier it will be (seriously, it’s true).
7. Take advantage of professors’ office hours.
8. Take advantage of any note cards allowed during tests (3 point font works wonders).
9. Prepare to get little sleep the week of finals, because you’ll be studying all the time (especially if you skipped too many classes).
10. Avoid early morning classes like the plague.
11. Don’t become an Engineering major unless you plan on studying on Fridays.
12. If you don’t know the name of your professor, and can’t remember what the class topic is about, you may want to go to a few more classes.
13. If you haven’t selected a major, don’t panic, unless you’ve been in college for 4 years and still are taking random basket-weaving classes.
14. Don’t start a huge research project the night before.
15. Start it at least 2 nights before.
16. If you decide to rush a Sorority or Fraternity, schedule the easiest classes possible during that semester/quarter.
17. If you have a high school sweetheart going to a different school, do yourself a favor and break up.
18. If you have a high school sweetheart at a different school, who you really like, stay together. However, be prepared for ridiculous amounts of stress, because it’s very difficult to stay together, and one person usually will stop trying to work on the relationship.
19. Be careful when entering a serious college relationship, because those grades might end up suffering as you spend every waking moment with your loved one.
20. Don’t hook up with anyone on your floor (unless it’s the last month of school).
21. If you are a guy, don’t allow a girl inside your dorm room unless it is truly clean. If it’s like an average male dorm room, she may not ever want to see you again.
22. Yes, it’s awkward if you hook-up with someone and can’t even remember his or her name the next day.
23. Especially if you still have their clothes in your room.
24. Dread the walk of shame, and always use protection, unless you love getting STDs.
Alcohol and Partying
25. Liquor before beer, never fear.
26. Beer before liquor, never sicker.
27. When having a dorm party, don’t open the doors while beer is in plain sight, no matter how drunk you may be (unless your college is totally cool with that).
28. Make friends with your RA the first day, it might help you get out of trouble in the future.
29. Make friends with local campus police, it might save you from spending a night in jail.
30. Don’t share drinks with anyone who hooks up with loads of people, or who you don’t know (unless you love Mono).
31. Natty, Beast, and Keystone are all terrible, yet effective and cheap.
32. Girls, you can’t drink as much as guys (generally), so don’t try, it will always end up worse for you.
33. Halloween is one of the greatest parties of the year.
34. Halloween also allows girls to dress provocatively without shame, so guys should enjoy it.
35. There are many alternatives to partying every weekend that include; seeing a movie, reading a book, going to a hookah bar, going mini-golfing, riding a bike, working out, talking with friends, studying, writing a term paper, playing video games, etc. Remember, too much of a good thing is always bad.
36. Never party during finals week, unless you love failing.
37. If your entire week (Monday through Sunday) consists of partying, you may need to attempt to remember why you’re at college in the first place (Hint: It’s not “to party”).
Health and Cleanliness
38. Try to keep it to one or two energy drinks/Starbucks per day (more than that and you might start twitching randomly).
39. Designate cleaning responsibilities for all roommates (especially the smelly one).
40. If the trash starts to become a living organism, you should probably take it out.
41. Take vitamins daily, and try not to panic when everyone around you gets sick.
42. When home, eat as much as you can, sleep as much as you can, and do laundry.
43. Better yet, make your mom do your laundry.
44. Set at least 3 alarms in the morning, because you’ll be perpetually exhausted. Grab extra sleep whenever possible.
Making and Saving Money
45. Keep a textbook fund handy, because they’ll cost a lot not matter what you do.
46. Pizza and beer are not very nutritious, but are cost effective.
47. Share textbooks or buy from eBay, or some other used textbook store to avoid getting ripped off.
48. Force yourself to eat cafeteria food whenever possible (if you paid for it).
49. Work like crazy over breaks and limit spending, you’ll need the money for next semester/quarter.
50. Consider an on-campus job, so you can make some cash while you’re in school.
51. Sign up for (and activate) no more than one credit card, unless you’re really keen on getting into debt as early in life as possible.
52. Avoid having to purchase separate shampoo and soap by using shampoo as a body wash.
53. Getting so drunk you don’t even remember the football game is lame (unless your team stinks or loses to a Division I-AA school).
54. About 98% of students involved with Student Government are doing so to boost their resumes.
55. If you are waking up before 2PM on non-game day Saturdays, then you’re too motivated and should stop making everyone else around you feel lazy.
56. If you don’t have the famous John Belushi “college” poster, a poster of some band, or some poster referencing a movie or alcohol, you’re not technically in college, and should be ashamed of yourself.
57. Your college is the best college in the world, despite what anyone else says, or what rankings (either academically or athletically) may be.
58. Your university president will most likely be an idiot who is out of touch with students.
59. Your hometown is better than everyone else’s hometown.
60. MTVU is pretty good (because it actually plays music videos).
61. VH1 and MTV are still terrible.
62. If you go to a huge university, no one cares about Homecoming Court.
63. If your school is ranked high in a certain area, you should brag about it to all your friends in lower ranked schools.
64. College isn’t high school, so almost all dances are lame.
65. No one in college uses MySpace anymore, get a Facebook account.
66. It is very creepy to add someone as a friend on Facebook if you’ve never talked to them and just happen to have lecture together.
67. You don’t really need a car on campus; it just makes some things more convenient.
68. The third time your RA yells at you about the noise level, you can assume he/she is serious.
69. If you have a druggy roommate, inform them that drug deals cannot take place in your room (unless you’re a fan of cops busting in).
70. Don’t forget to bring anything with you to school, because it’s a pain to forget things.
71. Accept all care packages with the greatest appreciation possible (especially if they include food or money).
72. Establish as many rules as possible with your roommate(s) in the beginning of the year, because it will help later.
73. You don’t need to be best friends with your roommate.
74. You don’t have to like him/her either, but you should at least try to be cordial, because he/she knows where you sleep.
75. It’s never too early to start thinking about housing for the next year.
To Do List
76. Memorize your social security number (or at least the last four digits, because you’ll need to put it on many exams).
77. Keep your student ID on you at all times.
79. Keep an iPod (or other MP3 player) with you at all times, for it makes the walk to classes less boring.
80. Check Facebook at least four times a day; double it on weekends.
81. Participate in school traditions!
82. Read the school newspaper occasionally, to at least be semi-informed about your campus.
83. Take advantage of free school concerts.
84. Join a club, team, group, or cause so you at least have something to do, and can meet new people.
85. If you go back to visit teachers, insist that you’re getting the best grades ever and you’re studying hard.
86. Do the same when you go home for the holidays, and whenever your parents call.
Gaming (mostly for guys)
87. Super Smash Brothers/Guitar Hero is a good way to socialize within the dorms by getting new people to walk in randomly.
88. Halo 2 or 3 and/or Call of Duty will be played at least once a week.
89. Playing too many video games (especially RPGs, see below) can kill your GPA and your class attendance record.
90. Playing World of Warcraft can also destroy your GPA and make you not meet or socialize with anyone else (outside of your guild).
91. No one in college can actually afford a PS3.
92. Girls will be exactly 20 times as likely to play Wii with you over any other system.
93. Playing NCAA video games is a good way to exact revenge on a team that beat your school in real life.
94. Get football tickets (even if your team is terrible, or you hate football), because you can at least sell them.
95. If you can’t get football tickets, watch every game (if your school is a football school, so you at least have something to talk about).
96. Never argue with an SEC fan (even if you’re right), because they won’t ever listen to reason.
97. Get basketball tickets (even if you hate basketball, and/or your team is terrible), because you can at least sell them.
98. If the head football coach offers a class at your university, take it.
99. ESPN never covers your universities athletic team enough, and your team never gets respect (note: SEC fans can’t complain here, most ESPN employees love the SEC).
100. The BCS will never get it right, and college football needs a playoff system (and no, the “regular season” is not a playoff, just ask LSU and Ohio State).
101. If your school wins a National Championship (in any sport), bragging rights last for 4 years (although, would you rather brag about a water polo championship or a football championship?).
Hopefully you learned a little something, and maybe won’t make some of the mistakes I made my freshman year. If your year turns out to not be as great as you expected, don’t fret. Remember, there’s always next year!
December 02 2007 | College Advice and College Fun and Financial Advice | 6 Comments »