Tag Archives: college

The 12 Days of Back-to-School

The Twelve Days of Back-to-School
(sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)lockers
By Joanie Connell

On the first day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
The best decorated locker.

On the second day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
2 musical instruments andteen flute player
The best decorated locker.

On the third day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
3 club sportsteen baseball player
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the fourth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
4 AP classesteen studying
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the fifth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
5 best friends!teen friends
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the sixth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
6 private tutorstutor
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the seventh day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
7 ettiquette lessonstie
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the eighth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
8 college visitscollege buildings
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the ninth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
9 designer backpacksteen with backpack
8 college visits
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the tenth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
10 test prep classestest answer sheet
9 designer backpacks
8 college visits
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the eleventh day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
11 service hourscommunity service
10 test prep classes
9 designer backpacks
8 college visits
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the twelfth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
12 therapy sessions!therapist

Don’t Fall Victim to College Burnout!

By Joanie Connell

burnoutCollege students, beware! Make the most of your summer break and take care of yourselves when you go back to school. There is enormous pressure on you to continue exerting exorbitant efforts to maintain your academic competitiveness, after nearly killing yourselves getting into college to begin with.

Overachievers burn out young. On Harvard College’s Admissions website, there is an article written by the dean of admissions and other Harvard educators that advises high-achieving students to take time off to avoid burnout. The letter starts out by describing the over-stressed lives of children who are pressured to achieve. At Harvard, they know about college burnout and they have noticed a definite increase from one generation to the next. Harvard is not alone in seeing the correlation between high achievers and burnout; the mainstream media has noticed as well.

“It is common to encounter even the most successful students, who have won all the ‘prizes,’ stepping back and wondering if it was all worth it. Professionals in their thirties and forties – physicians, lawyers, academics, business people and others – sometimes give the impression that they are dazed survivors of some bewildering life-long boot-camp. Some say they ended up in their profession because of someone else’s expectations, or that they simply drifted into it without pausing to think whether they really loved their work. Often they say they missed their youth entirely, never living in the present, always pursuing some ill-defined future goal.”

It’s not just the high achievers who are at risk of burnout. The kids who do not have high grades can be at risk of college burnout too. Some of the top predictors for college burnout, according to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute and the Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas Christian University, include a low high school GPA and a lack of comprehension of the material. In other words, if students are pushed into achieving a higher level than they are able to achieve, such as getting into a more difficult school than they can handle, they are more likely to burnout and dropout.

A major problem for young people in the workplace is that they are burnout 2already burned out before they get there or crash and burn shortly after they arrive. Even if they do not burn out, they feel they are entitled to greatness after all the effort they put into getting there and all the promises of sweet nectar from the heavens they have heard from the adults in their lives. Don’t work yourselves so hard that you crash and burn—either in college or when you start working. Pace yourselves. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Should You Spend Less on College?

money stackBy Joanie Connell

Parents and students beware! Don’t get suckered into taking out unaffordable college loans because you think you have to. You don’t.

The problem with financial models is they assume people make rational decisions. There’s nothing rational about overspending. People overspend for emotional and psychological reasons, not rational ones.

We overspend because…anxiety

  • We feel anxious: we need to keep up with the Joneses, we feel insecure about our abilities, looks, or status. (Salespeople prey on people’s anxieties to sell them things. See techniques used and a sales example.)
  • We want something really badly: we see a beautiful house and we have an overwhelming desire to own it. (Salespeople also create customer desire to sell. See techniques used and a sales example.)
  • We think we deserve it: we feel entitled to go to a good college because we are a member of a certain group or because we have worked hard to get good grades.
  • We invoke psychological defense mechanisms to believe we can afford what we are buying: we deny that interest rates will go up, we rationalize the luxury car is necessary to impress clients.

There are many more irrational reasons for overspending, but the point is we need to stop doing it.

OVERSPENDING ON COLLEGEgraduates

“Too many degrees are a waste of money. The return on higher education would be much better if college were cheaper.”

One of the biggest problems in our nation right now is that young people are overstretched with costly student loans and it’s limiting their ability to live independently. Financial analysts have shown that, for many people, the investment in college has a negative return. (See The Economist and The Wall Street Journal for recent articles). Why are people spending so much on college then?

“Four in 10 college graduates, according to a recent Gallup study, wind up in jobs that don’t require a college degree.”

Frankly, I think the biggest reason why young graduates are in great debt is because they thought they had to go to the college they chose to get a good job. This is driven by anxiety—the fear of not being attractive in a highly competitive job market. Evidence shows that expensive college degrees are not necessary for most jobs. Check out the College Planner for more on this and for advice.

“A study by the Harvard Business Review found that almost half of the top executives at Fortune 100 companies did not go to prestigious schools.”

Prestige is another driver for choosing a college. I think that parents are the main contributors to the prestige factor because it makes them feel more successful as parents to have their children go to more prestigious colleges. The Boston Globe reports on how parents are using Face Book as a bragging platform to boast about their children’s college acceptances.  Here is a great blog from the Huffington Post for all you parents out there who are doing this.

The Huffington Post provides a “ranking of the public colleges with the highest return on investment.”

Entitlement is another major factor. A high school student told me she wouldn’t consider going to the local state college, as she literally turned up her nose. I was confused because it was a good school at an even better price and her family had only modest means. She chose to go to a state college in a neighboring state and pay out-of-state fees instead. She also moved back home after graduating, burdened with large student loans.

These are all psychological reasons for choosing colleges that may turn an otherwise practical decision to an impractical one.

OVERSPENDING ON LIFESTYLEmoney roll

Student loans aren’t the only factor contributing to young people’s financial problems. The new grads feel entitled to a high standard of living right out of college. I have been surprised at how many 20-somethings I know who have lived in their own apartments, walking distance from the beach here in costly San Diego. Some of them have moved back home because they say the cost of living is too high for them to afford. Well, of course it is if you expect to have an apartment next to the beach! Seriously, who can afford that?

What are reasonable expectations for a standard of living for a recent college graduate? A used car, an apartment with roommates and mismatched, self-assembled furniture in a rundown part of town would seem like a start. It takes time to earn money and save up to buy furnishings, piece by piece, and eventually make enough money to rent a nicer apartment or get a nicer car (emphasis on “or”). It’s not reasonable to expect to have all this right out of college, especially if you have loans to pay. It’s also part of the experience and the fun of being young.

All of the issues here are affected by the economy and demographics as well as psychological factors. Yes, it is more competitive to get into college these days and there is higher unemployment than at some times in our history. The standard of living has also increased so we should expect to have a higher standard of living than at previous times in history. Yet, young people are still financially overstretched and they don’t have to be. We don’t have control over all of these factors.  Yet we can take control of the psychological factors if we are aware and deliberately make practical choices.

Be wise. Make a practical decision on where to go to college. You will be thankful later.