Self-Help

What You Need to Know When Going Back to School as an Adult

Working Adult College Students

It’s never too late to obtain a degree, but going back to school as an adult can be difficult. As an adult, you may have many other responsibilities that your (much younger) fellow students don’t have, such as a full-time job, career or parenting responsibilities. Even if you can devote yourself entirely to being a full-time student, you may still feel like a duck out of the water. Whether you’re jumping into a four-year degree program, or you think it might be a good idea to take some online classes. Here are three things you need to know when going back to school as an adult.

Talk to an Advisor before Registering or Enrolling

As an adult, your educational needs will most likely be strictly academic rather than both academic and social. While an incoming college first-year student might benefit from living on campus and staying at one school for all four years, your best option might be to take online classes at a community college before enrolling at a four-year institution. Speaking with a college admissions counselor may help.

Also, Collegewise counselors are passionate about “creating customized plans and setting deadlines to ensure that students complete their applications and essays thoughtfully, effectively, and early.” 

You May be Exempt from Some Classes Based on Experience

Adults have the benefit of work experience that most first-year college students do not possess. Another way college admissions counseling can help you is in determining if any of your applicable work experience might exempt you from having to take certain classes. The fewer classes you have to take, the sooner you can obtain your degree and the less that degree will cost you.

It’s Going to be a Big Change

Working adults who become college students must alter the lifestyles. How often do you need to take your work home? If often, then you may find it difficult to set aside time for research and homework after you arrive home from work. Although it may seem unmanageable to work a full-time job and attend college, you can manage both. With careful time management and dedicated preparation, you can do it. Think of the goal at the end to keep yourself in high spirits, and try to enjoy the shift in the atmosphere of the classroom versus the workplace.

Remember, receiving academic advising from an experienced higher education professional is critical to a first-time student’s success. While effective college admissions counseling isn’t the sexiest topic, it can make the difference between satisfying college experience and an unsatisfying one.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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9 Ways to Stay in Your Lane

Excessive Talking

(Photo Credit: Cheat Sheet)

When you learn to stay in your lane, your life will be so much better. The purpose of this piece is to offer nine ways to help you stay in your lane.                                    

1. Fix Yourself First. When you’re too eager to solve the problems of others, or too swift to make an unproductive generalization or analysis about someone else, pause and begin working on yourself. You have too many issues in your own life to address to devote time to the problems of others.

2. Recognize Your Own Inadequacies. Before you attempt to highlight the inadequacies of others, take enough time to eliminate your own.

 3. Stop Running Your Mouth So Much. Many people talk so much—never taking time to listen—that they fail to realize what they are actually saying. Excessive talking can lead you to commenting on phenomena you lack sufficient knowledge to discuss. Listen just as much as you speak.

4. Consider How Insignificant Your Comments Are. Most of what you respond to that doesn’t directly involve you will not be affected in any way by what you’re wasting your time trying to convey about it. Take a moment to consider this question: Who cares what I have to say? If your response is “all that matters is I said what I had to say,” then understand you’re simply being self-indulgent. When this is your frequent response, recognize that you’re self-absorbed.

 5. Understand the Harm Your Words Can Cause. When you get out of your lane, you increase the likelihood of communicating something hurtful or harmful. If you feel compelled to say something, at least take the necessary time to articulate it in a responsible way.

6. Respect the Differences of Others. Just because people don’t do what you do and don’t think like you, those aren’t valid reasons for you to involve yourself in their business. Give people the freedom to be who they are—just as you desire to have the liberty to be who you are. Don’t attempt to impose your values on others; your values are just that—your values.

7. Analyze your intentions. Investigate the real reason or reasons you feel it necessary to step into someone else’s lane. You may discover that your intentions are what need addressing instead of the issues others are confronting.

8. Keep a Private Journal. Instead of always involving yourself in the affairs of others, purchase a journal and record your thoughts. You will find journaling to be a healthy way to end your desire to get into other people’s lanes. Also, you will discover that journaling is cathartic and meaningful narrative therapy. A private journal is a safe space for you to collect your thoughts without hurting anyone, without getting into a lane you shouldn’t be in, and without having to experience negative repercussions.

9. Acknowledge You’re Not the Messiah. You don’t have all of the answers. You’re not always right. No one believes everything you say is the Gospel.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison          

10 Ways to Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery

Bob Marley Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery

(Photo Credit: Pomeroy Blues)

If you desire to emancipate yourself from mental slavery, then the following is a list of ten ways that will lead you to liberating yourself from mental slavery:

  1. Never be a “people-pleaser.”
  2. Give yourself the freedom to think for yourself.
  3. Never worry about the judgments of others.
  4. Always be yourself.
  5. Benefit from learning from revolutionaries. Observe them directly and/or read about them. Learn what makes/made them distinctive and truly liberated.
  6. Enjoy the beauty of everyday life.
  7. Don’t fall in love with tradition of any kind.
  8. Bloom where you’re planted. Be great and a leader in the areas and gifts you naturally have and/or have worked to obtain.
  9. Read and learn something new every day.
  10. Learn how to see things from the perspectives of others and not just your own perspective.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kids and Technology: Set an Example While They’re Young

Children and Technology

(Photo Credit: Digital Trends)

As most parents know, your kids are watching you all of the time.  You don’t have to sit down and have a formal conversation with them to teach them things; even kids who seem like they rarely pay attention are observing and learning from your behavior.

As your kids start getting their first smartphones, tablets and laptops, you want them to be responsible. You don’t want them to spend all day in front of a screen, and you want them to be kind to others over the Internet.  One of the best ways to ensure that your kids are responsible with their technology is to be a great role model with your own devices.

With this in mind, the following tips can help parents set an excellent example with their use of technology.

One of the best things parents can do to be good technology role models is to turn their devices off as often as possible—and definitely during family time.  While you might be excited about your new LG Optimus or the latest iPhone and all of the features and apps that can help your busy schedule, if you are on it all of the time, then your children will mimic your actions when they get their own phones.

Moreover, each time we take a quick peek at our texts while aiding our kids with their homework, or each time we interrupt them to say, “I’m sorry, I have to answer this email really quickly,” we’re sending a clear message that we prefer technology over people, claims Dot Complicated.

When your children get their own devices, you will still want them to pay attention to you, so when they are speaking to you, make sure to be fully present with them.  Resist the urge to constantly check emails and texts, and instead give them your full attention.  You also can avoid the distractions by setting some family rules about screen time.  For example, no phones or tablets at the dinner table.  Be sure to follow the rules you establish.

Limit Your Game Time

Yes, you’ve been trying desperately to get past level 199 in Candy Crush so you can crow about it to all of your friends on Facebook.  However, as DigiParenthood notes, keep in mind that your kids are keenly observing how much time you spend playing games on your phone.  Show them the importance of discipline, and that work should come before pleasure by finishing your necessary tasks first.  Finish your chores around the house, help your kids with their homework and walk the dog all before sitting down to play a game.

Many time limit apps out there such as TimeLock, allow parents to designate a certain amount of time their child can use the device.  This is a wonderful tool for you to track how long they spend on the Internet each day, and you can set your own time limits to show your kids that you limit your game time as well.

Be a Good Social Media Citizen

We can talk to our kids about the importance of privacy on social media sites until we are blue in the face, but if our Facebook page is full of posts about personal experiences and situations, our words will probably fall on deaf ears.  Use social media very carefully, and never post anything you wouldn’t want your young children to see—because chances are they will.  Also, be kind and polite while online, even when others are rude; this will help to show your kids the importance of online etiquette.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Truth Should Never Hurt

Truth

(Photo Credit: Match Stic)

We live a world where far too many people do not embrace truth. Many people love to run from truth and make excuses about it.  When you fail to face truth candidly, directly and willingly, you will find yourself living a life saturated with problems. Most of those problems are self-imposed. One of the fundamental reasons why people feel that truth hurts is it does not change. You should not let it hurt you, however. When you present someone with truth, it will not change simply because he or she is your friend or family member; truth is truth—no matter who does not like or agree with it.

If people would invest more time in working to ameliorate the phenomena truth exposes that are wrong in their lives, then they would have a significantly less antagonistic relationship with truth. Instead of getting angry with someone who provided you with a substantive critique full of truth, accept the revelations of truth to place you on a path to experiencing dramatic progress.  Don’t hate truth-tellers—hate the fact that you’re not a lover of truth.

Those who have serious self-esteem problems or low self-esteem are often individuals who have the most challenging time confronting truth. As a means of avoiding truth, they will engender false identities and realities to attempt to palliate the often unsettling realities of truth.

Learn to accept the things you cannot possibly change and work passionately to change those you can. You have to realize complaining each day is not going to enhance your life.

Too many people love to laud themselves as being “real” and champions of truth. When you are an authentic person and lover of truth, you never have to say this yourself―others will do it. Most of the folks I’ve witnessed presenting themselves as “real” and champions of truth are complete phonies. They use multifarious deceptive characterizations of themselves to try to avert attention from the true toxicity of their facades.

Again, truth should never hurt. If you ever feel that truth hurts, then this indicates that you need to change your relation to truth. A misguided and unhealthy relationship with truth can be destructive. You can live a more liberated and victorious life when you allow truth to reign.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Invite Disloyalty to Your Doorstep

Disloyalty

(Photo Credit: Bole Gain India)

The waning embracement of loyalty is becoming ever so lucid throughout America.  When you fail to be loyal to your family and friends, you invite disloyalty to your doorstep.  The costs of being loyal are significantly less than the repercussions of being disloyal.  Often those who are disloyal to their family and friends are governed by a spirit of selfishness.  This spirit of selfishness frequently defines those who are disloyal.  Most folks willing to be disloyal will try to make everything about them.  If you, therefore, have friends and family members who attempt to make everything about themselves, then they have great potential to be disloyal to you.

Although it can be quite emotionally painful to have someone you trust be disloyal to you, it can be empowering: You have a chance to learn his or her real name: Enemy.  Once you discover his or her true name, treat the person accordingly.  The discovery of disloyalty will remove the blinders from your eyes about the person.  This will enable you to invest your time in people who genuinely love and support you. Even when people painstakingly endeavor to conceal their disloyalty, disloyalty has a way of being revealed to you.  Disloyal people tend to have disloyal friends, family members, and associates, and those individuals often—without the least thought and regret—communicate the disloyalty to the victims.

While it can seem easy to respond to this piece by saying, “Don’t trust everyone,” some of the victimizers can be people you’ve never had any reason to suspect of being disloyal.  You should not immediately blame the victim.  It’s not healthy to go around distrusting everyone but it’s wise to keep your eyes and ears open.

Should a family member or friend be forgiven for being disloyal?

Forgive everyone for everything.  The disloyal will inevitably receive justice.  You will recover from the pain disloyal people have inflict on you—just don’t let that pain stifle your progress.  Find the strength to overcome this pain or it will accomplish just what your enemies hoped it would: destruction.

After reading this piece, let your loyal family members and friends know how much you really appreciate, love and support them.  Being a victim of disloyalty offers you powerful insights about why your loyal family members and friends are so valuable.

As a quick reminder to disloyal people, your actions can cause those same evil seeds you planted in one place to sprout at your doorsteps.  You do reap what you sow.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Keep Your College Student from Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

Identity Theft

(Photo Credit: Identity Theft Protection)

Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the country, according to the FBI.  College students are especially vulnerable to this type of fraud for a couple reasons: They lack an understanding of how important it is to keep personal information safe, especially in this era of excessive sharing through social media, and because they come with clean credit histories which they are unlikely to monitor.  We have a responsibility to educate our college-age students about identity theft and how to prevent it.

Prevention Tips

  • Tell your children what identity theft is and how it could affect them if they are not careful. It is vital that anyone going away for college has a clear understanding of the issue and the consequences if certain measures are not taken.

  • Despite having a clean credit history, it’s necessary for college students to check their credit regularly. This is a good way to keep an eye out for fraudulent activity and accounts opened in their name.

  • Explain to your children that when shopping online, they must only use secure websites. This must be the rule if they are going to use a bank or credit cards online. The best way to recognize a secure website: There is an “s” on the end of “http.” This provides customers with peace of mind that payment information will be kept confidential.

  • Teach your college students to always use a firewall and a quality antivirus and malware program. This program should be updated regularly to ensure the latest version is being employed and the maximum protection.

  • Consider signing the whole family up for an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock. This is the ideal way to keep personal information secure. Such services monitor their clients’ accounts and offer them fraud alerts, guidance and resources on how to keep personal information safe.

Basic Security Measures

  • Your children should have a secure place to store their Social Security card, personal documents, credit cards and mail.

  • Teach your children to keep their campus apartments or dorm rooms locked to stop people from going through their personal belongings.

  • Invest in a paper shredder. This is the best way to eliminate documents no longer needed.

  • Instruct your college students to create a separate list of all their account information and banks’ phone numbers. This makes it easy to report a card as misplaced or stolen. They should also keep the phone numbers of the three major credit bureaus handy in case anything suspicious happens.

We are responsible for sending our children out in the world armed with good facts about protecting themselves. With these simple tips, we can educate these young adults so they don’t fall prey to identity thieves.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison