We all know that to be a college student in this day and age you need to be capable of balancing too much, functioning without sleep, finding time where none exists and squeezing the very last penny out of every dollar.  These are just a few of the thing we do day in and day out and if your anything like me your always looking for way to take back control.  So what is it exactly that I do??  I embrace technology, not only am I on the lookout for the next YouTube or Facebook but also for free stuff that can improve my daily routines. In the handful of years I’ve been seeking higher education I’ve collected a few tips, tricks and shortcuts; here are a couple of my free favorites….

1.  Paint.net
Ever wanted to make some simple touchups on a photo?  The Paint program preloaded on windows computers is great, right?…if you just wanna just view the picture. I discovered this program just recently, actually after completing a Photoshop class here at FVTC.  I needed something powerful yet economical, and what paint.net gave me was FREE!  It runs on pretty much any machine and isn’t a resource hog making it extra appealing for you netbook owners.  Packed full of features like layering, automatic updates and an unlimited history; it’s a no brainer this is where I take my photos for a quick fix.  It’s not a direct replacement for Photoshop, but if you’re not a design major you might not even notice.

2.  Google Voice
This is a relatively new service that Google is offering, well new to most of the internet.  About a year ago I was asked to beta test this application by Google while I was still riding the Google Wave hype.  Unlike Wave, Google Voice has shown it can be successfully integrated into Gmail for an even better user experience. So why does this matter at all?  The list goes on and on, but my three favorite features are the ability to choose any area code within the US for your Google voice number, send and receive SMS text messages from your internet browser and last but not least is the ability to creates personalized greetings for individual contacts or groups.  Oh yeah, and it’s totally free if your call stays within the USA!

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When I first transferred to FVTC a few years back, I was looking to get more involved as a student.  At the college I was attending prior, I was part of a Math and Science club on campus.  I looked forward to our monthly meeting; who was going to lecture, what was it going to be about, and spending and hour with like minded individuals.  This is where I formed most of the relationships that continued after I left that school, and where I learned of my very first internship.  Way back in the day the Math and Science club helped me secure that first internship.  I was introduced to one of our guest speakers by a professor of mine and the rest is history.  I realized that if I didn’t seeking out these opportunities someone else would.

Looking back to my freshman orientation at the Oshkosh Riverside Campus, I remember listening to Krystal, who was the Collegiate DECA president on campus at the time.  For those not familiar with DECA, it is an international organization that focuses on preparing you for your career field.  Its geared towards business and management student in a variety of disciplines from design to business ethics to hospitality & tourism.   I may not have know all that at the time, but what Krystal said was enough to get me to the kick off meeting a few weeks later.  Not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into I showed up for the free pizza, what I got was a whole lot more than cheese and sausage…

  1. Real world experience – Getting to coexist with successful people is awesome, but getting to work alongside them is even better!  My involvement with Collegiate DECA has paired me with professionals from companies such as Finish Line, College Pro Painters, T.J. Maxx/Marshalls, Walgreens, Valpac, and many more.
  2. Network, Network, Network – Have you ever been told it’s not what you know, but who you know?  Well, you do have to possess the relevant knowledge, but rarely is that enough to take you across the finish line.  DECA is a catalyst for coming out of your shell and in the process you’re going to meet other students, teachers, and community members that all share the same passions.  As I’m now finding out, these are the people willing to help me as I try and transition from student to employee!!
  3. Travel – Not all clubs come with this perk, but because I’ve enjoyed success in Collegiate DECA competitions I’ve traveled to Madison WI, Green Bay, WI, Atlanta, GA and Anaheim, CA.  I’ve never been to Mexico or Florida for spring break, but that’s a sacrifice I’ve been willing to make!!
  4. Build your resume – Sure getting through college with straight A’s is awesome, not that I would know; but how far is that really going to take you?  I choose to balance my resume by getting involved, showing I not only posses the skills valued in the classroom, but the ability to adapt to my surroundings, think on my feet, and work with others.

So there you have it!  Hopefully you got to check out some of the Student Organizations last week in the commons, but if you haven’t it’s not too late to get involved!!  Take some time to look through all the clubs that are available on campus, what do you have to lose?

First week in the books!

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hey, Hey we made it through the first week of the semester!!  I think a small pat on the back is order.  We’re a long way from the finish line, but off to a good start.  This week has really been kickin’ my butt; trying to settle into my new schedule which isn’t all that different it just seems like there are less hours in the day.  Like I’ve mentioned before the biggest difference is that amount of time I’m spending in the classroom.  Last semester all I had was a single night class, now I’m in the classroom every day.  Both of my classes seem like they will be pretty interesting and helpful for planning the next steps in my life after college. (Financial Planning and Effective Business Practices)  One of the coolest things about these classes is the makeup of students and their willingness to share their trials and tribulations.  It seems like there are as many displaced workers returning to the classroom, years or even decades after entering the workforce, as there are students fresh out of high school.  I have also come to realize I don’t exactly fit into either of these groups.  I guess my perception of a college student is changing, or just forming…

A little bit less exciting, I got an e-mail late last week saying that because of the recent upgrade to blackboard one of my classes isn’t available for access at this time.  I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but was relieved to see the class there when I logged onto blackboard this morning.  I was beginning to worry that I might fall behind because of something so far out of my control… Which brings me to the million dollar question…

Here we go again!!

Posted: August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

I can’t believe this is the end of summer, after last week’s 100 degree days it even feels like summer is gone.  Just six short days from now I’ll be sitting in a class room again.  Lucky for me I had an awesome time up north last weekend; perfect weather, fishing, and water conditions.  This was the latest we had ever gone up north and I was blown away by how quiet the town of Saint Germain was.  Places normally packed with families were empty and almost looked like they were closing down for the year.  The quiet was a pleasant surprise for my whole family, and much more of a retreat than I expected.  Normally I come back relaxed but exhausted, we’re constantly on the move but with the lack of other vacationers this year I had a lot more downtime.  I guess, bring on next week!!

Another semester of classes is knocking at my door, all I have is six more credits till graduation but I decided to take a full course load in order to be able to stay on my parents insurance and receive financial aid.  I’m still on the fence about the whole thing though, I’ll have to be in a classroom everyday! Something I haven’t done since my sophomore year in the Chemistry program, and to be honest I’m a little nervous.  Along with the three classes I’ve elected to take in the classroom, I’m also taking another three classes online.  After interviewing Thom earlier this summer for the Video Student Spotlight I started looking into the Photovoltaic Installer Certificate he earned.  I’ve always been kinda a nerd when it comes to technology and this really caught my attention! I signed up for three of the classes that are offered online; soon I’ll be a Jack of yet another trade, but still a master of none.  Anyways I guess I’m looking forward to wrapping up the Business Management Program this semester and learning as much as possible about alternative energy, I have high hopes and hopefully I’ll have lots to share.  Good luck gearing up for your return to the classroom, see ya in the hallways soon!