Category Archives: Random Stuff

Keeping those resolutions

A new year and a new semester, time to make those resolutions (and stick with them).

I know it is really easy to make resolutions, but so hard to keep them. A general rule of thumb is to make goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based). In essence, you want to avoid setting yourself up for failure.

So, here are some common resolutions of college students and some tips on how to keep them:

1)       I will not leave my studying to the night before an exam.
We all say this, yet on the night before an exam we are dusting off our textbooks and pulling all nighters. To avoid ODing on caffeine and panicking:

  • Keep up on assigned readings, this way you won’t be stuck reading 9 chapters of sociology in one night.
  • Create a study schedule, and hold yourself to it. Plus, little rewards like ‘I can’t watch the Jersey Shore until I finish my readings’ will help.   
  • Chose one day on the weekend that you dedicate to homework. Sundays are great ‘me’ days, so lock yourself in your room or head to the library and get your work done.

2)      I will be more involved on campus.
Since hanging out at the FarSide and singing karaoke does not count, here is how you can get more involved at RDC:

  • Check with the SA for volunteer opportunities, like writing for the Bricklayer, and clubs around campus.
  • Become a peer tutor. If you have a GPA of 3.0 and a grade of at least a B in the course you would like to tutor, you may qualify to be a peer tutor. This is not only a paying job, but an opportunity to further your own understanding of a particular subject, help other students with their learning, and it looks really good on your resume. Contact the Counselling, Career & Learning Centre Team in room 1402 by phone 403.343.4064 or via email at . Orientation and training is January 21, so contact them as soon as possible to set up an interview and submit your application.
  • Participate in the Student Perspectives Conference. Share with your family, friends, and peers your outstanding work in a topic related to the Humanities and Social Sciences. Abstracts are being accepted until Monday, February 22. Contact Christina for more information.

3)      I will go to all my classes.
This goal is a little unrealistic, since sometimes life throws curveballs that you can’t avoid, like the flu and car troubles. A better resolution is, I won’t intentionally miss classes. This goal allows for life to happen, and for you to recover from that cold. Maybe your resolution for next year can be I will be more engaged in class, but just attending is a good start! Plus, teachers do notice when you attend class and may be more likely to help you, since they don’t think you are a slacker.

4)       I will be more organized.
Unfortunately college can be a hectic time, with all the assignments, group meetings, and exams. So, before you start missing meetings and handing in assignments late, take steps to organizing your Winter Term now.

  • Use your student planner, keep your notes in a binder, input due dates in your phone, use dividers… There are so many tools out there to help you become more organized; you just need to actually use them.
  • Sign up for Grade Fix, it is an easy way to get organized and plan out your semester.
  • Every night go through your materials and put them in their place. There is nothing worse than looking through your notes before an exam and realizing you have misplaced lecture notes.

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The 2010 Winter Term at RDC has arrived

Sadly, the Winter break is now over and school is back in session. Hopefully, the effects of eggnog have worn off and you are ready to hit the books for the Winter Term. Here are a few points to consider for the upcoming week and term:

1.     A few important dates you need to be aware of:

  • First day of classes- January 6
  • Last day to day Winter Term fees- January 11
  • Last day to add/drop Winter Term courses- January 13
  • Last day to withdraw from full year courses and receive a WD- January 13
  • Reading week- February 15-19
  • Student Perspectives Conference abstracts due- February 22
  • Last day of classes for the Winter Term- April 12

2.     The Bookstore:

  • The bookstore has extended hours until January 13
  • Used books or course packages can only be exchanged during the first week of classes
  • All exchanges or refunds must be in original packaging and accompanied by a receipt within 14 days of purchase.
  • Also, check out the Students’ Association (SA) used bookstore (located in the SA office- room 2010) for required texts. You may be able to pick up used texts for cheap here.

3.     Random:

Enjoy the first week of classes and don’t worry, reading week is only 5 and a half weeks away!

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Winter break is finally here!

A few things you should do over the break:

1) Get your books now and beat the first week rush. By now, I mean now! The bookstore is closed from 11:00a.m. on December 24 until January 4. Online orders will not be processed during this time.

2) Pay for your Winter classes, either online or at the cashiers. Tuition is due January 11, 2010. If you have any payment questions, contact the RDC cashiers.

3) Whether you go for a sleigh ride at Heritage Ranch, spend the day on the slopes at Canyon, or go skating at a neighbourhood rink, get outside! Winter may not have the best weather, but there are plenty of fun winter activities to enjoy.

4) Work on your Student Perspectives abstract for the 2010 SPC. Deadline for submission is February 22, 2010. For more information, contact Christina Verticchio.

5) Celebrate the short break from classrooms, books, and assignments. Enjoy the festivities with your family and friends. Build gingerbread houses, drink eggnog, and wear ugly sweaters. For some reason, Christmas is the one time of year where the little kid in us appears, wanting to watch Frosty the Snowman, not being able to sleep Christmas Eve and rushing down to the tree first thing in the morning. Relish this time, because school will be back in session before you know it.

Happy Holidays to all! See you in the New Year.

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Reality check…

I know school is the last thing you want to think about, but here are a few friendly reminders for the upcoming school year.

1) Enroll in your classes

Registration is open for fall and winter classes. Classes are filling up quickly, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to get the classes you want.

2) Get your funding together

If you have enrolled in classes for the fall term, your tuition is due August 14 (only 2 days away!). To get information on financial help for the upcoming year visit- Funding and awards.

Also, this may be the time to start looking for a part-time job to hold down during the school year. Working while in school is a great way to minimize any debt you may incur while attending a post-secondary institute. Also, if you are not from Red Deer, it is a great opportunity to meet new people. Whether you gain employment in a field related to your education or not, all work opportunities give you one kind of experience or another. You may not realize how handy a BA degree comes in when you are dealing with customers in a restaurant, but one day you will realize how your education helped you to think rationally about the situation, helped you communicate with the customers, and helped you solve any problems you were faced with.

3) Find a place to live

If you want to live on-campus:

Residence is a great way to start off your experience at Red Deer College, it is affordable, convenient, and a great way to meet fellow students. Plus, there is no commute to campus which means you can wake up 5 minutes before class starts and still make it there in time.

If you are looking off campus:

Two great resources for off-campus housing are the Students’ Association and Kijiji.

The Students’ Association has a good selection of rooms for rent and the landlords are willing to rent to college students.

Kijiji gives you the option of setting search parameters and seeing pictures of the place before actually going to see it. Kijiji often features places that have already been rented out, but it definitely has the most selection to offer renters. 

4) Get parking

If you plan on driving to campus you may want to invest in a parking pass. Check the Parking at RDC site for information on parking passes, residence parking, and hourly parking rates.

5) Enjoy your summer

Get out and enjoy your last weeks of summer vacation. See you in September.

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“Hello, I’m A Mac.” “And I’m a B.A.” (Which is BETTER, Mac! No offense).

Well. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I wish I could be in a Mac vs PC commercial”, then . . . here’s the um, next best thing.

We are making a little video for You Tube, our website, and for prospective students, showing them why people do their B.A. and what it’s like to do it at RDC.

The idea is for it to just be very honest, very unedited straight talk, from real people who know what they are talking about! Namely . . . B.A. students at RDC or B.A. alumni from RDC. The fact that you guys are pretty much awesome is the best ad we can think of.

If you’re up for it, we’ll probably do the filming one day over Reading Week. It won’t be much . . . just tell us about yourself. Very simple. And you will be rewarded for your efforts! By going out for lunch! Or a gift card to somewhere awesome! It hasn’t been decided yet. (Maybe you should tell me what you prefer!) But you will be rewarded.

So let me know if you want in . . .

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President Obama In The House!

Today is historic . . . for the first time ever, a black president is being sworn into office in the United States.

At a time when the economy of some of the strongest countries in the world is rapidly failing, when global warming is a swiftly approaching threat, and when so many countries, including the US and Canada, have military presences, and mounting casualties, in the Middle East, can this guy really bring about the change he stands for?

Nobody can say yet . . . but whether we support Obama or not, we will all be watching him really closely to see if he can truly change the world.

I like to think so.

And a shout out to the B.A. degree . . . Obama got his from Columbia University in Political Science in 1983. Before entering Harvard Law School, he worked for a number of years in Chicago in the non-profit sector. So let’s see . . . his B.A. allowed him to do really cool work with communities in Chicago, and his education and work experience combined would have been huge factors in getting into Harvard Law . . . leading to him becoming a senator . . . and then President of the United States! His wife Michelle, also a lawyer, has a B.A. in Sociology.

Not saying we’re all potential Barack or even Michelle Obamas . . . but hey. See what could happen with a B.A.! Whatever else you call it, don’t call it a waste of time . . . with this degree who knows how you can change the world.

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Dress for Success – Or, What Not To Wear At Work!

The university student is an interesting subject from a fashion viewpoint . . . I’ve been one and I see them daily here in my office and around the hallways at school. Basically, when you’re in school, anything goes. Some people are stylin’, wearing the latest trends and making you wonder “How are they paying for that?” Others are never to be seen in anything other than jeans and a hoodie. Still others just waltz out of rez to their first class in their pyjamas each morning. It’s all good.

When the first job comes around, though, it’s time to invest in the wardrobe a little bit. Unfortunately, that can be tricky, because typically the first paycheque isn’t all that huge. There are a couple of good reasons to be willing to spend some cash on professional attire, though.

Why Bother Thinking About This?

First of all, starting in the workforce can be tough when you’re a new grad. You’re probably going to be younger than a lot of people you work with, and/or a wee bit less experienced. You want to be taken seriously by co-workers (not to mention bosses!) and, well, people are shallow. They’ll take you more seriously if you look the part and aren’t schlepping around in a glorified take on jeans and hoodies.

Another reason is that if you want to stand out in a crowd and get noticed, the right clothes can help you accomplish this. Looking good could set you apart from a bunch of decently-dressed-but-boring wallflowers. And being set apart in somebody’s mind could mean they are more likely to remember you when they want to have somebody to head up a new project or possibly promote. Who knows!

Last but not least, first impressions count, each time. Whether you are dealing with customers, clients, or your co-workers, if they see you are sloppily clad, with mismatched socks and frayed hems, stained shirts, or just ancient-looking or super out-of-style clothing, they aren’t going to feel like they can trust you as much to know what you’re doing on the job. It’s not necessarily a fair judgment, and it may seem like a small thing, but it could make a big difference in how they respond to you and work with you.

Get Clothes. Don’t Get Poor.

So. If you want to start a new wardrobe without breaking the budget, how do you go about that? What’s the best practice here? Where are Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear when you need them? (And the $5000 credit card they provide?)

Here are a few expert tips:
– Choose pieces of clothing that will last. It may be tempting to buy a lot of cheap clothing, but a better investment for items that are classic like dress pants, shoes, or blazers, is to find fewer pieces that are high quality and are going to last you for years. It may mean paying a little more up front, so make sure to pick things that will stay in style for a long time and are not going to get stretched out of shape or fade quickly.

– Go with professional-looking comfort. There is nothing worse than being at work in a meeting or up front while giving a presentation when your clothing just doesn’t feel right. You don’t want to be having to constantly adjust the length of your skirt hem or wishing that your sweater wasn’t so itchy or your shoes so pinchy. There are lots of clothes available that are stylish but still comfortable, and remember that the eight-hour day can feel pretty much eternal when you have to keep telling yourself “that’s the price you pay for beauty!” as your feet start to blister in your super-fancy heels. Make sure you think about how the clothes will feel over the workday as you try them on in the store.

-If you want to look trendy or in style, then accessorize that way. So bottom line – the clothes are classic, but the accessories (like scarves, jewellry, glasses frames, colour of shirt or tie) are a nod to the latest trends. The good news is the accessories are the inexpensive items . . . so you can change them up every time the trends change. Sweet deal!

One Size Fits All?

Now, remember that jobs are different – different industries, companies and company attitudes, geographic region, and job requirements. So a suit and tie might not be the best choice when working with young kids, or your company may be cool with employees wearing whatever the heck they want. When in doubt, dress like the boss!

Here are a few things you should ALWAYS avoid:

– Workout gear
-Clothing that is too revealing
-Too much cologne  or perfume
-Athletic socks

What About My Personality?

Can you show off your tattoos and body piercings? Can you get crazy acrylic nails? Can you grow a totally ragged beard? Can you dye your hair however the heck you want to? If that’s your style . . . why not?

Because your boss can come down on you. Yes, it’s true. According to lawyers, it’s perfectly legal (in most cases) for an employer to regulate how an employee looks. And even if nobody says anything, studies show that you are less likely to be hired or get promoted if you’ve got a ton of tattoos and piercings showing. It may not be fair. It may not be that way forever. But that’s the way it is currently.

AND, a final note.

I’m no fashion expert. (Though I work with plenty of them!) It’s pretty easy to find this kind of information online or in magazines if you’re looking for it. So if you want some more specific suggestions . . . have a look at these websites:

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Happy Holidays!

christmas-hollyHappy Holidays to everyone . . . enjoy your well-deserved break. Hopefully you find lots of time to sit back and relax after a busy semester.

In case you are already experiencing withdrawal from school (haha) never fear – classes start up again on Tuesday, Jan. 6th, and the B.A. Blog will be back at that time too.

Until then . . . stay warm! Eat lots! Happy holidays!

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Food For Thought: What To Eat Before An Exam

eggIf you want your brain to be functioning in top capacity on exam day so that you can recall the material from those hours of studying you put in (hopefully not all last night!) then consider some of the following tips from a dietician on what to eat before your exam.

1. Eat Breakfast

Studies show that concentration and memory recall are better in those that eat breakfast than those that skip it. So even if you wake up with nervous butterflies in your stomach on the day of the exam, it may be worth your while to try and cram something down. Dieticians recommend that you combine different types of carbohydrate-rich foods so that energy will be released at different rates. Try cereal, milk, toast, and  juice.

2. Protein It Up

Protein is helpful for enhancing alertness, so if you’ve been missing sleep due to study sessions or nerves, you might want to have an egg or put some cheese on your toast to benefit from some extra protein.

3. Drink Some Energy

As long as it’s OK to do so in the exam, an energy drink is a good idea, whether it’s Gatorade or another sports drink, Coke, or fruit juice. Sometimes drinks other than water aren’t allowed to prevent cheating . . . water is good, as long as you don’t drink TOO much of it.

4. Keep It Light All Day

If your exam isn’t until the afternoon or evening, then keep eating throughout the day but avoid large meals that are high in fat, because they could make you SLEEPY and SLUGGISH, which is not how you want to feel. Go for soup, pasta, a sandwich, and some milk or juice to drink. Eat a small or medium-sized amount of food, and have a snack periodically to keep your energy up.

good luck with exams!

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Keep Your Online Persona Tasteful . . . Or At Least Private!

MySpace, Facebook, blogs, online forums, You Tube, Flickr . . . just a place to relax and be yourself online, right? Just a few places to connect with friends and share something of yourself with the world.

Well, yes. But what if “the world” includes a future employer? Because chances are, it may.

According to research results found by ExecuNet, which is a career and business networking organization, about 83% of companies they surveyed are using the web to figure out if potential hires really are as great as they come across on those carefully crafted resumes we all have. In fact, 43% of these companies say that they would eliminate candidates from the hiring pool based on what they see online.

Think about it – is there anything online about you that you wouldn’t want an employer to see? Maybe some crazy party photos that might freak out a potential employer. Maybe a blog post about how much you hate your current job and boss. Maybe your MySpace username is a little on the risque side or your Facebook profile picture is somewhat shocking.

It could even be photos somebody ELSE has posted of you! Something you have little to no control over could be causing problems in a job hunt.

Or what if you’re a regular commenter in a forum on something that you might not want an employer to know about?

There are all sorts of places an employer might be looking, starting by just googling your name. What is going to pop up? Is it going to make you look good, or make you look unprofessional and like a risky choice of a hire? It’s not against the law. It’s publicly available info.

Well, if you want to manage your online persona to make sure that if and when somebody DOES google you, they see the information you prefer them to, here are a few tips:

  • Google yourself. On a variety of search engines, type in your name (and location, if your name is really common) and see what pops up.
  • Turn your privacy settings ON! If you have MySpace or Facebook and more info than you would like is accessible to anyone who looks at your profile, then make sure you use privacy settings to keep things personal. Same with blog posts.
  • Get a username. If you are posting on a forum about something you’d rather keep private, then don’t use your full name (not that most people would, but just in case!) Stay anonymous.
  • Post some good things about yourself! Nothing wrong with purchasing a domain name where you keep honest and professional information about yourself posted.
  • Be careful about your friends who are online. If they are going to post stuff about you that you aren’t comfortable having visible to others, then don’t allow them access to that kind of info if you can help it. If they’re good friends, ask them to use their judgment when posting stuff about you, and they should be willing to comply.

What if there is stuff out there that is less than ideal? Well, don’t freak out. Be proactive. Try to post a bunch of stuff that is more complimentary: for example, a LinkedIn profile that confirms your resume information, a blog where you discuss your above-board hobbies and interests or volunteer experiences, etc.

Be honest, too! If you’re submitting a resume claiming that you’ve done something, and an employer could confirm that by doing a little online research – well, make sure that they will be able to find some evidence of it!

You can always prepare yourself as well. If you get to an interview and are asked about some of these things, make sure you are ready to answer. For example, you could say “Well, I did volunteer at this place, but they don’t include volunteer names on their website for security purposes” if that is the case.

Be your own PR person. Do your research on yourself, and expect that somebody who is looking to hire might be doing the same. Then take what measures you can to ensure your online persona is positive where easily accessible and private or anonymous if you choose to keep it that way.

Thanks to jobpostings magazine for the information! (

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