What I’d like to Change about the University System

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I love education. Learning has enthralled me from the very start. I loved the pride I felt after receiving a good grade, and I loved bringing home new and interesting facts from class to tell my parents about. However, as I have entered the university system, there are aspects that I really wish were different. If universities incorporated these ideas into their classes, they might start seeing more successful graduating students who have been properly prepared for the workforce of our generation.

1. Less lecturing, more experiencing.

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While I fully understand the importance of lecturing, I think it’s just as important to experience the field in which we hope to enter. If I am a mass communications major, I don’t want to learn about the evolution of the newspaper industry every single day. Knowing the history of an industry is incredibly important, but will it help me once I enter the workforce? I want to visit the Tampa Tribune. I want a tour of local advertising and public relations agencies. Professors should have speakers from your intended industry come in and talk about what it’s like to work in that field. These are the types of experiences that will help students figure out what they really want to do in life. I’d like to have a day a week in my classes where we are physically doing the types of things that we will be doing in our future professions.

2. Standardized tests aren’t always the best measure of how much a student has learned.

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There are two types of students in the United States: the ones that have panic attacks over standardized tests and can’t perform to their best ability, and the ones that know how to beat the system. The kids who have the panic attacks freak themselves out so much that they blank out even on questions they know. On the contrary, I’ve been taught since the 5th grade methods on how to properly guess an answer on a standardized test. Should we really be learning how best to beat the test, or should we actually be learning the content? There must be a better way to measure a student’s abilities in what they have been learning. Personally, I am a good test taker. Process of elimination has helped me get answers correct on content I’d never seen before. But just because I’m a good guesser doesn’t mean I know the material. That isn’t learning.

3. Assigning hundreds of pages of textbook reading is ineffective.

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College professors need to realize that not only does the technology of this generation discourage students from textbook reading, students frankly don’t have enough time. Students are taking 3 to 4 other classes, and on top of assignments for your class and others, the textbook simply will not get read. How about creating media-related content that teaches students the concepts? I’d like to see professors experiment with assigning short informational Youtube videos as homework assignments. I have a feeling something more visual might help students who aren’t crazy about textbook reading learn the material better.

4. If you’re making me take math, at least make it relevant. 

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I remember being so excited coming into college because I was ready to start learning about what I was actually passionate about. I understand the concept of making students well-rounded individuals by having them take all sorts of classes, but at least have these irrelevant classes relate back to their majors and lives. As a mass communications major, the only type of math I’d be interested in learning about is how to balance my personal budget. Learning real-life financial techniques would be helpful for people lacking in that area. Algebra will not.

5. Classrooms should be set up in a way that encourages class discussion.

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In every class you take there will be an introverted student who sits in the back and never gives his/her opinion. What if that opinion is one that could teach an entire class something they may have never thought of before? I had a teacher in high school set up our desks in a circle. This made the introverted kids speak up just as much as the extroverted ones because they felt more comfortable. Class discussion is so important to the course material because it gives students the chance to give their opinions and learn from each other.

6. Practicing a concept should be done in the classroom.

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Why are we being taught concepts only to not understand them and then fail at the homework? We should really spend half of our class time learning the concepts, and then half the time practicing them together and with our instructor. Then, students who don’t have time to go to office hours can ask questions right then and there in the classroom.

7. Less reading off PowerPoints, more helpful note taking.

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The majority of university lecture classes involve professors reading straight off of a PowerPoint presentation. While using a source of media to teach students concepts is a great idea, it needs to be transformed. Show us what you’re talking about, don’t just read it.

Students are also so busy trying to write down everything a professor has written on a slide that they don’t even know what they just wrote down. I had a professor this semester that gave us notes for the semester that were already halfway filled in. Then, during her lectures, we’d just have to fill in the blanks. That allowed me to listen without spending too much time writing.

It makes sense for education to change with new generations of students. Check out this video about changing education paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

Maybe I’m crazy for wishing these types of things could be implemented, but as a college sophomore I’m struggling with all of these problems and more. I find myself wanting more from my university. Instead, I am learning on my own and through my own experiences outside of class. Maybe that is healthy, but with what we’re paying to go to school, it might make sense to revolutionize education for a technology-minded generation growing each and everyday.

What do you think? Are you getting what you’d hope for from your university system?

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10 Reasons Why You Should Marry A Sorority Woman (A Rebuttal)

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** This article is a rebuttal to an article called “The Reasons Why You Never Want To Marry A Sorority Girl.” (In case you’d like to read it) Its intentions are not to offend non-affiliated women, but to vouch for the women that are. The chosen pictures of famous sorority women are not meant to represent their respective points either. They were chosen at random as I believe them to be influential and productive members of our society. This article is meant to be viewed light-heartedly. Thank you!

I get it — sorority girls sometimes get a bad rep from what the world outside of Greek perceives us to be like. I’m here to clear those stereotypes up. As a member of a Panhellenic organization, I can vouch for my sisters and the sorority members in my community by saying that we will not only make great wives one day, we will make exceptional ones.

Here’s why:

1. Sorority members are student leaders and hold themselves to a high academic standard.

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Katie Couric — Delta Delta Delta

According to the fraternity and sorority national statistics, the all fraternity and sorority GPA is higher than the overall collegiate GPA. Any idea why? Sorority members must meet a certain GPA requirement in order to stay in their organization. We are encouraged to get involved on campus, join other organizations, get to know our professors and log our study hours in at the library. 85% of the student leaders on 730 campuses are members of Greek-letter organizations. Now you might be thinking: who cares? But when you’re looking for a potential wife, you’re going to really appreciate a woman that wants things for herself in life. Joining a sorority gives girls the confidence to be leaders in college and beyond.

2. Sorority members hold each other accountable.

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Jennifer Garner — Pi Beta Phi

The stereotypes about all sorority girls being promiscuous and not so classy are galaxies far from being true. Maybe you’ve met a bad egg that totally skewed your judgment, but don’t let that one girl give you a bad view on all sorority members. As a whole, sorority girls are more well-behaved when drinking in public because they are representing not just themselves, but their entire organization. Observing the way a sorority woman behaves in a bar setting may surprise you. The sorority woman is not dancing on the bar or taking body shots. And no, she probably isn’t taking a fraternity guy home either. Her sorority house most likely doesn’t allow boys in the house past a certain time.

3. Sorority members are fully capable of taking care of themselves.

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Condoleeza Rice — Alpha Chi Omega

The author of the article I wrote this in rebuttal to was under the impression that sorority women are not capable of cooking and cleaning because someone else does it all for them. For the most part, this probably isn’t true. At my sorority house, we have chores every Sunday that we are responsible for completing. We also have our own kitchen — but surprise, no chef! We are fully capable of whipping together a meal and watching a movie with our sisters while we’re at it. Cooking and bonding at the same time? Doesn’t that sound like a good evening with your future wife? I thought so. Sorority women are just as independent as the next woman when it comes to taking care of themselves.

4. We treat our little sisters like we would treat our own child.

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Sheryl Crow — Kappa Alpha Theta

This may sound really silly to anyone who has never had a chance to be a big sister in a sorority, but it’s a really unique blessing. Having the responsibility of mentoring a new member through her collegiate years is no small task. Being the person that a younger member looks up to makes older members want to be even better themselves. It challenges them to hold themselves accountable for their actions, as they are directly influencing another human being. Sorority girls learn to be proper role models through this process. Wouldn’t you want to marry someone that others look up to?

5. Sorority women are philanthropic.

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Sophia Bush — Kappa Kappa Gamma

As a member of Delta Delta Delta I have become attached to our philanthropic partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I can speak for all sorority women when I say that raising money and awareness for a cause is more fulfilling than  just about any experience college can give you. St. Jude becoming a part of my life has made me less selfish in all of my decisions. It’s pretty profound realizing that the annual philanthropy events we put on are helping children fight cancer. If you decide to marry a sorority woman, chances are she’ll be donating to her sorority’s cause for the rest of her life. Talk about a woman with a big heart!

6. Sororities teach girls the true value of friendship.

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Carrie Underwood — Sigma Sigma Sigma

Friendship takes a whole new spin when you share the same ritual with other women. Sororities give women the chance to feel a part of a group of people that they relate to. And as much as I am similar to many of my sisters, I know our differences are what allows us to grow and learn from each other. Whoever you marry, I hope you want it to be to a woman who has a good group of girlfriends that she can still go out with on Friday nights while you play poker with your boys. A sorority girl will have her friendships with her sisters long after college, so you can still have a beer or two with your buddies.

7. Sorority women are confident.

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Alicia Keys — Alpha Kappa Alpha

Because of the support they receive on a day-to-day basis from their sisters, they become strong, confident women by the time their collegiate years are over. A sorority woman’s sisters help her find out who she is, what she’s great at and where she is going in life. They push her to pursue her dreams and to accomplish anything she has her sights set on. Wouldn’t you like to be married to a woman who can hold her own and be able to pick out a rockstar outfit without needing your opinion? I thought so.

8. Sorority women know their morals and values.

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Sue Grafton — Pi Beta Phi

Being a part of a sorority teaches girls fresh out of high school what it’s like to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It allows girls to connect with other girls who share the same morals and values as they do. As they go through their collegiate years, they become more in-tune with who they are, what they think and what they want out of life. I don’t know of too many people who would want to date a girl who doesn’t have opinions for herself. Sorority women learn how to speak their mind in an intelligent and respectful manner.

9. Sororities prepare women for their professional careers.

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Leigh Anne Tuohy — Kappa Delta

So of course, college Greek life doesn’t last forever. But sorority life gives collegiate women the connections and professionalism they will need to join the workforce after graduating. Most sororities give their members a chance to have a mentor, an alumnae member who has a career in the same field she hopes to go into. Dressing for chapter meetings teaches members how they should dress for an interview. Holding a leadership position within a sorority teaches women how to effectively work with others and helps them work on skills such as public speaking, organization and event planning.

10. A sorority woman will put on one kick-ass wedding.

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Erin Andrews — Zeta Tau Alpha

Along with all of your family and friends, your future wife’s sorority sisters will be there to celebrate your big day. Not only will they be able to show your Uncle Bill a good time on the dance floor, they will have memories upon memories to share during toasts. A sorority woman’s wedding is the result of years spent on Pinterest as well as hiring one of her sisters to be her event planner. Wine list? Check. Flowers? Check. DJ? Check. Don’t worry, she’s got it covered.

And if those 10 points didn’t sway your opinion, the pictures of influential women in our society who were sorority members should have. Still not convinced? My feelings aren’t hurt, but don’t forget this article when you continue to see sorority members becoming powerful public figures.