Category Archives: Editorials

The Top 10 Mistakes College Students Make

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Credit:@SaraHallPerth

Going to college is both a fun and smart choice for youth to make in their life. However, with this choice comes new experiences as well as new mistakes to potentially make. These mistakes can make the “fun” view of college turn into frustration or even a total nightmare for some students. So, to help stop some students from making the same mistakes that others have made, here are the top 10 that most often occur.

  1. Thinking that Electives Are Easy

Elective courses often get the short end of the stick because many students think that no effort goes into passing them. However, there is a good chunk of them in which one will need to devote time to if they want to succeed. Never underestimate any class’ workload because sooner or later, an elective will be harder than you ever thought it could be.

  1. Not Getting a Side Job

Let’s face it, money is a major necessity to survive in the world; and a good way to make money is, of course, getting a job. Now, a lot of students are hesitant to get a job because it takes up time, but most jobs will work around students’ schedules. Also, if an outside job is too daunting, there are on-campus jobs that are perfect for students. Just make sure to apply for them at the beginning of the semester before they fill up. Plus, this is a good way to gain some experience for a résumé.

  1. Isolating Oneself from People

While many break out of their shell in their sophomore or junior year of college, many freshmen and early undergrads are still stuck with the “high school hierarchy” mentality. Due to this, the first year of college can be lonely and downright depressing with a lack of socialization. The people on campus, whether it be staff or students, are often fun and interesting individuals with their own goals and problems. It might be surprising how easy it actually is to make friends in college compared to how it was in grade school.

  1. Doing a Group Project with a Girlfriend/ Boyfriend

A group project with one’s special someone sounds like a great time. However, many young relationships don’t last long, so, sooner or later, breaking up becomes a possibility. Where does one go from there? Nowhere. A student would then be stuck with a person whom they feel bitter toward and would be forced to finish the project with them. Pick a friend to work with or someone new to make friends with.

  1. Less School, More Partying

College students are finally adults. The world is their playground, and they just want to have fun. I mean, who doesn’t? However, this is a university and students are here on a mission: to earn a degree. A few parties here and there can be great for students to let go of some stress and steam. Although, don’t get distracted with too many parties and forgot about classes and assignments. Have fun, but still be responsible in one’s school life as well.

  1. All-Nighters During the School Week

“Oh, no! I wasted my work time today watching a show and hanging out with friends! It’s okay, though, I’ll just pull an all-nighter.” This is a go-to way for students to get work done without having to worry about time. While this isn’t the worst idea, the body and mind will think that it is. The work albeit does get done, however, if you have classes the following day, it may be difficult to stay awake during the lessons. If the urge to pull an all-nighter ever strikes, at least do it on a Friday or Saturday so one can sleep in the next morning.

  1. Procrastinating on Assignments

Everyone has been guilty of doing this at least once throughout their educational track. A student is assigned something important, but so many other things come up or they simply completely forget to write it down. Suddenly, the student has a make or break assignment due the following day, and they haven’t even started it yet. Very few times will the student come out victorious in this situation, so it would be beneficial to write the assignment down and start it as soon as possible. The quicker it gets done, the less stress the student suffers.

  1. Not Using Tutors

The feeling of being able to understand a course’s material independently feels really great and rewarding. However, if a student really can’t wrap their head around a concept, the tutors in the C.A.V.E. are there to help. Researching a topic that is difficult to understand can sometimes be in vain. It is better to utilize the tutors who are there to help students work through subjects in a less stressful and sometimes simpler way.

  1. Not Going to Teachers’ Office Hours

College isn’t like high school in the sense that it is rare to ask teachers for any kind of help. The professors on campus have office hours for a reason. This is one of the best ways for teachers to help students with subjects one-on-one. Not going to the professors for help is a mistake commonly made due to students feeling like they are bothering them or that they are intimidating. Don’t be afraid of professors. They are human just like you and know how hard courses can be.

  1. Not Reading the Course Material/ Books

After paying all that money to buy the books necessary for succeeding in a course, where do the books go? They often don’t even get opened until it’s time for a test. This is the greatest mistake that a shocking amount of students make all the time. It is understandable that students have a life to live outside of school, but reading the course material is a key part of passing any class.

College is still a fun and exciting place where students have the potential to make many memories, whether good or bad. If students try to avoid these commonly made mistakes, they are sure to have an even more stress-free time at Saint Leo.

Do You Have the Right to Repair Your Appliances?

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Right to Repair legislation to combat monopolies has appeared in 11 states. Credit: @HacksterPro

Anyone who has broken an electronic device and brought it to a repair shop may have encountered the phrase “This may void your warranty.”

Some companies state in their policies that outside repair shops are not licensed to fix their electronics. An example of a company that has a policy such as this is Apple. The act of a separate repair shop simply opening a phone and fixing it may void the warranty on a device.

But why is this? Why would Apple or other similar companies want their devices to be kept shut and only repaired by people that the company allows?

There’s also the issue of whether or not they’re even allowed to do this. In recent years, several bills and acts have been brought up by states that would require manufacturers to supply the same information and manuals that they give to licensed shops to independent retailers. With this legislation, several companies have come out in opposition against these efforts, such as Apple and John Deere.

The right to repair is generally seen as the right you have to open and repair your device or vehicle. This basic right has been a problem with devices such as electronics and vehicles, namely with John Deere farming equipment.

The fight for the right to repair began in 2001 and focused mainly on vehicles, but in more recent years with the advent of smartphones has begun to stretch to phones and home computers. Apple famously makes their devices difficult to repair, by ways such as including screws requiring uncommon screwdrivers, adding unnecessary glue, or making parts incredibly expensive.

At a local electronics repair shop in Dade City, the difference between the repair for an Apple phone versus a repair for a non-Apple phone is apparent. The repair of an Apple phone screen costs more and takes longer in almost every comparable situation.

The primary argument for the right to repair is the idea that you should own anything you buy. People want to be able to fix the phone they have themselves when something fails or to have it repaired for cheap at an independent store. They don’t want to have to purchase a new device or exchange an arm and a leg for a simple fix at an official, licensed store. Supporters believe that they have the right to fix their own items, to have manuals to be able to fix things, and to even be able to get into the code and software of the device.

One of the most common arguments against the right to repair is the idea of intellectual property rights. Apple and other companies against repair legislation want their intellectual property, or IP, to be kept their own. In the company’s opinion, if people are fully allowed to take apart and snoop around in their products, they may be attempting to make a superior or at least similar product by copying their schematics.

A different argument that has been brought up by lobbyists and other spokespeople against the right to repair is that the repair may be dangerous. For example, a lobbyist famously claimed that consumers could possibly cut their fingers on the broken glass from a screen repair. While this claim got a lot of criticism and jokes made about it, the argument is valid when dealing with batteries. The batteries in electronics are known to possibly be volatile, such as in the recent fiasco with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

One organization fighting for the right to repair is the website iFixit. iFixit is an independent repair company that believes that every consumer has the right to repair anything they own. On their website, they have a page dedicated to the issue, stating “Would you buy a car if it were illegal to replace the tires? Or a bike if it were illegal to fix the chain?” iFixit supplies consumers with guides on how to repair problems with electronics, as well as parts.

For example, when a new Apple device comes out, iFixit will quickly tear it down to be able to create guides on how to replace the screen or the home button. Due to the lack of official repair manuals or documents, many independent repair shops use iFixit religiously, using tools, parts, and guides all supplied by the website.

This problem stretches far beyond electronics, as it affects vehicles and farming equipment as well. For example, Apple is planning to make a smart car. When the car comes out, what will happen if one needs an oil change or windshield wiper fluid? Without right to repair legislation, it is possible that simple fixes and maintenance like this could be highly overcharged and companies may even void your warranty if done at home. This possibility leads to a worrisome future that lawmakers are trying to get ahead of before we truly approach a monopoly.

The Three Best and Three Worst Moments of Being a Sales Associate

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Illustration by: Emily Kochanski

Special to Lions’ Pride

By:  Cedric Blatch

Here’s a glimpse of what it is like to work in retail courtesy of your friendly neighborhood sales associate. It’s imperative that others (and specifically customers) finally understand the feelings of a sales associate; for those who have worked in retail, get those likes ready. As for those who have not—be prepared to find out the three best moments and the three not so best moments of being a sales associate.

Working in retail is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. It’s important everyone knows what it’s like to work in retail to understand the struggle of folding a table full of shirts and ten minutes later finding that same table has been massacred by ruthless customers. Folding a table full of shirts only to have them messed up is one of the worst things that can happen. In that moment, all hope is lost and dreams are truly crushed.

Also, a sales associate can spot a customer that has not worked in retail just by the way the customer shops and interacts with the merchandise in the store. It is the sales associate’s job to provide customers with the utmost customer service at all times. Customers often get tired of hearing “Hi, how are you? Anything I can help you with?” but what the customers fail to understand is that associates themselves are constantly being micromanaged.

Being micromanaged is beyond frustrating and is probably the second worst thing about being a sales associate. Customers affect a sales associate’s job but management is what also

makes associates frustrated doing their job. Constantly snooping around over employees’ shoulders and watching their every move is not an effective way of management; this is known as “babying to the tenth power.” Now, it’s not entirely managers’ fault for their constant checking; they too are also being micromanaged by the people in fancy suits, also known as corporate. The micromanaging is something that needs to change, but let’s be real, it won’t.

Cleaning up after customers is the last and absolute worst part about being a sales associate. It is simply one of the biggest nuisances one can handle. Some retail stores don’t have a merchandise limit for customers, limiting the articles of clothing they can take into the fitting room. It’s extremely sad how some customers leave the fitting rooms with twenty plus articles of clothing left behind for the associate to put away.

I remember this one particular day; I was not having a good day overall and a customer was trying on clothes in the fitting room I was watching. I was cleaning up my area making sure everything was clean so we could leave on time as we were about to close. The customer hears the closing announcement over the store intercom and begins to leave. At this moment, I am excited because I know I will be going home soon. Then everything took a turn for the absolute worst.

I check the fitting room the customer had just left and there are articles of clothing everywhere. There were about 10 shirts on the floor, eight different pants on the chair, along with dresses, and more shirts on the hangers. I was so close to leaving early but then I had to stay a little longer to help finish put the merchandise away. What made it even worse was that the customer only walked out with one shirt to buy. This was one of the worst nights during my retail tenure.

However, things aren’t always so bad in retail, there are some positive moments too. One of the best parts of working in retail is the flexible schedule. Managers in the retail world are very flexible when working with your schedule. The managers truly understand the importance of having a life outside of work and understand that things come up and sometimes calling out of work has to happen. It is one of the things I truly appreciate because the managers truly go out their way to work with you.

Another plus to working in retail is the satisfying impact one may have on a customer. When customers come into the store, naturally they will be fine on their own. Usually, there is that one customer that may need some extra help. Being able to help that customer find everything they are looking for and see a big smile on their face while they are thanking you is an amazing feeling.

This one day while I was working, it was a slow evening but I had a lot of cleaning up to do, a customer came in and said “Hi, can you help me? I’m going to see my ex-boyfriend and I need to look hot!” I laughed and offered my assistance by stopping the cleaning up I was doing. We spent about 40 minutes walking around putting together a plethora of outfits, then we finally found one she loved. She was beyond happy, her smile stretched from here to China. She was extremely appreciative and went even as far as to tell management about me helping her. It is a very rewarding feeling when a customer is satisfied after being helped.

Another great thing about being a sales associate is the discount that is offered for the desired store employed at. Every store is different but I believe that 20 percent off whenever is pretty awesome. The discount comes in handy while on a regularly scheduled shift, just walking around you get to shop at the same time. The discount helps out a lot when it is something that is really wanted and you forget about the discount you have and you are able to save a lot of

money.

The things associates see on the daily are mind blowing and leave a puzzled look on their faces every day. The moral of the story here, working in retail has a lot of pros and cons. Everyone should try and understand what it’s like on the other side. Maybe one day we will run into each other at my store. If we do, don’t bring this up; I don’t want to get fired.

The Importance of Fine Arts Education

Fine arts education is dwindling in American primary and secondary schools.

According to the Center for Online Education, 25% of public high schools have completely rid of education of the fine arts. The pulling of arts classes and programs in schools is a shortsighted disaster. These courses are crucial and just as important as, if not more important, than subjects like math and science.

Participation in the fine arts teach students important soft skills and gives them tools that can be utilized in other areas. Young children benefit greatly in different areas from arts education. In particular, they develop fine motor skills from activities such as playing an instrument, dancing, or creating visual art.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s official website, “…developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors.”

The fine arts are critical for older students as well.

Judith Burton, professor of art education at Columbia University, conducted a study that found that STEM subjects required “complex cognitive and creative capacities ‘typical of arts learning.’” Many studies prove that her findings show that arts education drastically improves students’ attendance and overall performance academically.

According to the National Art Assembly of State Art Agencies, “…students who took four years of arts coursework outperformed their peers who had one half-year or less of arts coursework by 58 points on the verbal portion and 38 points on the math portion of the SAT.”

In addition to improvements in the classroom, arts education also aids students in learning soft skills that are essential for their future careers. While most employers have clear material requirements for their positions (such as a college degree and work experience), what makes or breaks an applicant is usually his or her soft skills.

Entrepreneur published a list of “The 10 Unique Soft Skills Employers Desire in New Hires” that mentions skills like creativity, focus, innovation, and dependability; all of which are acquired through participation in the arts.

Exposure to the fine arts is also incredibly important for students because our society communicates through the arts.

For centuries, different art forms have been used to make powerful political and social statements. Many of these artworks have changed history and inspired different movements.

In 1939, Billie Holiday’s controversial hit “Strange Fruit” became a symbol of the protest of horrific racism at the time. Lyrics such as, “black bodies swinging in the southern breeze” are so powerful that the song has become iconic and was named “Best Song of the Century” by Time Magazine in 1999. “Strange Fruit” is only one of many artworks that has influenced history.

A more modern example of art as communication is Nilufer Demir’s shocking photograph of the deceased toddler Aylan Kurdi. This photograph is credited for illuminating the severity of the Syrian refugee crises. People internationally were moved by this photo and demanded intervention for the Syrian people. Without teaching students the fine arts, there would be no world-changing protest songs or viral photographs.

Besides education in the fine arts helping students succeed, it is also connected to their holistic health.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, “…engagement with artistic activities… can enhance one’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states as well as have a salient impact on important physiological parameters.”

Arts are even used in therapies such as music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3 million adolescents have suffered one or more major depressive episodes in the past year. By providing fine arts classes for students, schools will be providing a therapeutic activity that has been proven to relieve stress and improve mental health.

It is critical for students’ health and personal development to be exposed to the fine arts. While schools nationwide are ridding fine arts education, there are different programs and organizations such as Bring Back the Music and Americans For the Arts fighting to bring it back. The hope is that school officials will begin to realize the impact of arts education and will integrate it back into the curriculum.

STEAM Power

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3D printing is an example of how art and science combine and work together. Credit:Wikimedia Commons

“We’re scientists!” my high school art teacher would say when he taught the chemical formula for clay.

It’s no secret that science impacts art. From innovations like plastic tubes to preserve paint, to printing presses, to computers capable of sound mixing and animation, scientific advancements continue to give artists of all mediums more options and better tools.

Scientific knowledge also helps artists integrate an understanding of natural sciences to better their work.

“Leonardo da Vinci, painter and draftsman of the High Renaissance, is best known as an artist whose works were informed by scientific investigation. Leonardo observed the world closely, studying physiology and anatomy in order to create convincing images of the human form. He believed that the moral and ethical meanings of his narrative paintings would emerge only through the accurate representation of human gesture and expression,” said Robert Eskridge of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Science as a way to understand the physical world helps artists understand their subjects and manipulate their media. Art as a creative process and mode of expression and communication influences how people learn about science and integrates scientific investigations as well.

Art and science are interdependent and one cannot really be without the other. However, these two fields are often divided against each other. The arts are often brushed under the rug and considered impractical against the hard sciences.

Despite this tendency, many educators recognize the arts’ uses and practicality and argue to add art and design to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), changing it to STEAM.

According to STEAM’s official website, “…innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century.”

The STEAM movement, which was promoted by the Rhode Island School of Design, seeks to include art and design into “research policy” and education and to “influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation,” according to STEAM’s official website.

Art can supplement STEM subjects in many ways. Visual diagrams of cells and anatomy help students visualize and understand information in biology textbooks. Technical drawings and manuals direct how to install and use equipment.

However, art is not only a way to supplement STEM education. Encouraging creativity and artistic thinking can improve the way people approach technical and scientific work.

“When an artist is painting, he is trying to solve a problem—how to express what is being felt. He experiments with colors, technique and images the same way a scientist or engineer experiments with energy and signals,” said former University of Houston student of educational psychology Jay Young. “There is more than one way information can be taught just like there is more than one way problems can be solved,” he continued.

“Young’s research focuses on how to incorporate creativity into STEM education with the implication that doing so will increase the quality of STEM graduates. He says STEM studies are about problem solving, and creative endeavors are exercises in problem solving,” said Marisa Ramirez on the University of Houston’s official website.

Artistic and scientific exploration cannot be completely divided or put into neat, little boxes.

Just as logical and technical innovation and understanding improve artistic possibilities, artistic creativity promotes innovative and creative problem solving that opens the doors to new possibilities that science and technology can explore.

As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Financial Pitfalls – What to Avoid After Graduating

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Credit: @NWTC

Many seniors are graduating at the end of Apr., while the juniors are heading towards the final chapter of their college experience. Once they start working, however, there are many common pitfalls that young adults make when joining the workforce.

For many people who did not work during college it is new to have a steady paycheck filling up their bank account. This incoming money from working after college may be tempting students to spend it on things that are not necessary. It seems that almost everyone knows somebody who bought a new car, new phone, a big TV, or other things that are not absolutely needed.

“Students often overspend on an auto or apartment. Students often try to live a lifestyle like their parents enjoy, but their parents have worked and saved for decades to afford that lifestyle,” said Rick Scott, Saint Leo assistant professor in the accounting, economics, and finance department.

This spending might have fatal repercussions on the financial security in the future of someone. One step that everybody can do is making a monthly payment plan to pay off the most important things before spending money on anything else. One of these things might be paying off a student loan. Not doing so can ruin the person’s credit score, which could limit the person’s ability to buy a house, car, or get a rental apartment. Incidentally, there are loan specialists that focus solely on making payment schedules and helping people to get out of debt.

Another financial obstacle that adults may face is saving too late. Most individuals will retire some day; therefore, they should have sufficient funds for a financially comfortable retirement. This is especially important, since Social Security does not provide enough retirement funds and Social Security is not guaranteed anyway. According to The Washington Post, the Social Security fund will be empty in less than 20 years, as more people of the baby boomer generation will retire.

When people start waiting too long before they start to save it will significantly decreases the funds that will be available at the time of retirement. Some of the common retirement plans are the IRA, the 403-b, or the 401-K. Through the effect of compound interest, the money that is paid into these accounts increases every year.

“Paying off a student loan is usually more important than starting to save for retirement unless it is a very low interest rate loan. On the other hand, if you work at a company that will match your contributions to a 401k or 403b, it is of the highest priority to contribute as much of your salary as the company will match to your retirement plan. Not doing so is the equivalent to turning down free money. In other words, it is crazy for most people to pass matching funds up,” said Scott.

However, one major disadvantage of these pension plans is that the owner is not in control of his/her money. Although for some people it might seem uncomfortable to self-manage their money, it can be a big disadvantage. The managing companies of these pension plans take a big share of the profits that is made from the money, while the risk is carried by the pension holder.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the owners of a retirement plan had to take a big hit. Even though the portfolios of these plans were diversified in different industries, most people lost lots of money. However, the companies that manage the plans did not lose any money, since they don’t take the risks, whereas these companies make the majority of the profits when the investments are doing well.

Many people realized these flaws in the system after losing money in the crisis and switched to a self-managed pension plan. These plans allow the owners to manage their money themselves. While many people are scared of doing that, it can also be a big opportunity. Also, unexperienced investors can learn how to manage their money in a safe way through books and seminars on investing. This way the investor carries the same amount of risks, makes all of the profits, and is being able to control their investments themselves.

“I advise recent graduates to keep your debt levels down. Avoid using credit cards unless you can pay off the balance every month to avoid interest charges. Start a regular saving plan to build up your rainy-day fund and make a budget,” said Scott.

With these tips future graduates can live a good life, while also planning for a future that is financially secure. The road to financial success might not seem easy, but it is worth it.

How Schools Are Teaching Students to Cheat

Special to the Lions’ Pride

By: Maria Larcomb, ENG 440 Student of Professor Marissa McLargin

When parents send their children to school at any age, they expect them to be taught many different things: how to factor equations, how to write, and how to work a microscope. Pushing their kids to succeed, parents want them to learn a lot and to learn it well.

However, parents and society at large are extremely unaware of the most common lesson that students are currently being taught at school every single day: how to cheat.

The current school system that stresses to students that their greatest goal should be getting straight A’s and that everything else is second priority is in need of dire change. According to the Journal of Psychology of Education, by placing immense value on good grades, “…schools remove the importance of learning,” and place it on receiving high marks instead. Thus, with heavy pressure placed on students’ shoulders to succeed at all costs, methods of cheating are often adopted to ensure success.

Unfortunately, this trend of cheating is prevalent at all levels of academia. Both elementary school and university students alike are succumbing to the temptation of cheating. According to the Journal of Business Ethics, approximately 75 percent of college students admit to cheating at least once during their years spent earning a degree.

Some of these students cite their reason for cheating as a means of surviving; they are terrified of failing. However, other students state that they feel compelled to cheat in order to retain their streak of impressive marks received in the past. A Saint Leo student-run survey revealed that an average of three in five students have, in fact, cheated before.

According to the Psychology of Academic Cheating, students cheat their way through school because this “shortcut” method offers them many advantages. It provides an opportunity to maintain a student’s image among their peers or family members, a chance to succeed academically, and a way to bypass the punishment of repeating a grade.

Although the promotion of independent learning is commonly cited as the primary focus of schooling, it has regrettably become second fiddle. As directed by the school system, teachers are frequently forced to “teach to the test” and provide long vocabulary lists instead of promoting autonomous and invested learning.

The National Education Association attests that this teaching strategy is both disadvantageous and harmful to students. As a result, students are tasked with memorizing countless terms and words before a test, only to forget them weeks or even days later. Therefore, those who struggle with remembering numerous terms for a test will not receive grades that are indicative of their true potential. Instead of reflecting their learning abilities, it will only demonstrate their memorization skills.

Thus, these students will look elsewhere for means beyond those of memorization in order to pass exams. In the fall of 2016, Columbus State Community College released a newsletter stating that although cheating has been around forever, it is now expanding past its old limits. With the increase of advanced technology, the trend of cheating has become easier and more prevalent than ever. Access to tools that promote and encourage cheating are readily available to students with simply one quick click of a mouse. Likewise, plagiarism can be executed with only a few keystrokes.

It is evident that the current structure of the school system and the stress that it places on students to receive good grades has dire effects. Through the unintentional promotion of cheating, students are being pressured to adopt dishonest behavior and learning is losing its purpose. In order to combat this, it is essential that we are aware of this detrimental lesson that is being taught to students and advocate for the school system to place its priority on learning once again.

By reworking the school system to focus its attention on promoting the importance of learning, rather than placing such heavy significance solely on earning good grades, cheating culture could be considerably curbed to students.