5 Reasons Why Your Liberal Arts Major is Worth It

Being that I’m going for an English degree, I am constantly asked what on earth I’m planning to do. I have a bunch of different answers for a bunch of different people. However, at the end of the day, I sometimes do questions whether or not getting a degree is worth it, passed gaining my own sense of accomplishment that is.
So, this article is quite helpful in reassuring that the degree I’m after IS worth it, and will help me on my future endeavors.

Ivy League vs. Oxbridge

I was very dead set on attempting to get into Durham University. That is where my sites have been set since I learned about it. It is the #3 over all ranking University in the UK and their English department ranks just as high if not higher (my brain is a little fuzzy on that one at the moment). It has history, it holds prestige, and Harry Potter was filmed there (cool, though not the selling point).

However, I received a letter yesterday from Columbia University in New York, asking me to consider their University as my higher education next step.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m extremely naive when it comes to these things, how Universities work and the like. I don’t really know what this means. My ego wants me to say that it means I would get accepted if I applied to go to school there, but the skeptic on my shoulder says that they probably send this out to anyone that gets into Phi Theta Kappa as a formality. Both could be true, I don’t know!

However, there are some students out there that are genuinely in a place of great debate as far as their next step goes: Which is better – Ivy league schools or Oxbridge schools?

What does Oxbridge mean?

  • Is either Cambridge or Oxford
  • Oxbridge is the term which combines both schools. They are so high in stature that they just combined the words to create their own league, essentially.
  • In the United Kingdom

What does Ivy League mean?

  • This is a group of eight prestigious schools with a longstanding reputation.
  • Includes Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Darmouth, Cornell, Brown and University of Pennsylvania
  • In the U.S.

What’s the difference?

Aside from the fact that they’re on two different sides of the pond, Oxbridge colleges are compiled of just two universities, while Ivy league have eight to chose from, and thus have eight which rank differently among themselves. On the Oxbridge website it explains the differences:

“While Ivy League schools are much younger than most Oxbridge colleges, they rival Oxbridge’s influence in the global job market, as well as its academic. Though they vary hugely in size (from a mere 4,000 undergraduates at Dartmouth to over 24,000 at Columbia), they tend to be more consistent in character throughout the university as a whole, whereas the varied collection of colleges at Oxford and Cambridge gives these universities a more diverse and complex feel.”

How do they rank?

The list of Ivy League schools as far as ranking goes (According to a 2013 article in BusinessInsider) is as follows:

  1. Harvard – which also ranked #1 in affordability, job prospects and location. It also ranked #2 as far as academics goes.
  2. Yale – This ranked #1 with student body (tied) and student life, and followed Harvard in affordability. However, it was #3 in job prospects, and #4 in academics.
  3. Princeton – Priceton University tied with Yale at the #1 spot for student body, but that was the only #1 spot Princeton received. It did however rank higher than Yale in Job Prospects at #2, as well as ranking #3 in academics.
  4. University of Pennsylvania – UP tied at #6 in regards to affordability, and ranked #5 in Job prospects and student body, as well as academics, though they hold the #2 spot for student life. “Despite a low ranking for student’s intelligence, Penn graduates tend to a get a high starting salary for the first jobs and many will end up multi-millionaires”
  5. Cornell – Unfortunately, poor Cornell ranked at the bottom of the Ivy League schools as far as Job prospects and Student Body go, however, their campus was ranked at #2 (and it is a beautiful campus), and their student life was ranked at #3. They are at #5 in affordability, and tie at #7 in academics. Cornell has a high acceptance rate, which means larger classes as well.
  6. Columbia – Ranking at #1 in Academics, that is the ranking worth bragging about among the Ivy League universities. It is at the #8 position in both student life and affordability, and #6 in job prospects and student body. However, they have classrooms with less than 20 students, which is what earned it it’s high ranking in academics.
  7. Darmouth – tied at #7 in Academics (with Cornell), its campus, student body and student life also rank at #7. However, it is in the top half ranking for job prospects (#4) and affordability (#3).
  8. Brown – the highest ranking for Brown is it’s student body at #4, followed by it’s student life at $5. It ties with the University of Pennsylvania at #6 in affordability, and also ranks there with Academics, and falls to the bottom of the list with its campus.

According to The Complete University Guide of 2015 (in the United Kingdom), the Oxbridge universities rank accordingly:

  1. Cambridge – ranking at number 1 out of all the universities in the UK, it also ranks #1 in entry standards, and research assessment. However, in Graduate prospects it ranks third, following the Imperial College of London and St. George’s University of London; and follows Buckingham and St. Andrews Universities in Student Satisfaction.
  2. Oxford – ranks at #2 over all in the United Kingdom, as well as in entry standards, and research assessment. It also ranks lower than Cambridge in graduate prospects and student satisfaction.

A 2012 article in Forbes published a list of the world’s most reputable Universities – all but one of which were either in the US or the UK.

  1. Harvard University (US)
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
  3. University of Cambridge (UK)
  4. Stanford University (UK)
  5. University of California, Berkley (US)
  6. University of Oxford (UK)
  7. Princeton University (US)
  8. University of Tokyo (Japan)
  9. University of California, Los Angeles (US)
  10. Yale University

How Do you Decide?

“The biggest differences you’re likely to find between Oxbridge and Ivy League lie in their study programmes. As mentioned above, American courses offer a great deal more flexibility, operating a ‘majoring’ and ‘minoring’ system, where you pick one main subject area (your ‘major’) and combine it with other subjects, or ‘minors’, which do not have to be in the same subject. While some universities are stricter than others on the combination of choices, the benefit of this system is its ability to offer diverse courses to students with wide-ranging interests. Thanks to this flexibility, some American universities say they can offer up to 3,500 different courses. At Oxbridge, you’ll have to apply for one specific, named course, and the two universities differ slightly in their course structure: Cambridge opts for a broader curriculum in the first part of the course, after which students can pick modules – sometimes from the papers offered by other degree programmes – and specialise, whereas Oxford students go into more depth in each module from the outset.”
~Oxbridge

It of course depends on what you’re after, what degree you are wanting, and what you expect out of your university. Another thing to consider is costs. For some, it just isn’t an issue – an education is worth more than money and/or a person might be wealthy enough not to worry about it. For others, it can be a troublesome concern.

In the UK, all the schools have the same tuition costs – £9000 (although at one point I did find one that was £8500), which is about $14,000. In the US, Universities vary in tuition – from $14,000-$51,000+. There are of course scholarships available for all schools, though one might have to get quite a few to be able to cover that cost.

For me, the cost is a huge thing. However, that being said, I never thought that I would qualify to be considered at a school like Columbia, so it has changed things up again.

What factors would you consider?

Some More Helpful Links to help you make up your mind:

  • TopUniversities.Com This link will take you more in depth as to how Ivy League schools rank in the world, among each other, and how certain departments rank as well.
  • TopUniversities.Com This link takes you to a comparison between Oxford and Cambridge Universities
  • University.Which.Co.UK This page examines the different aspects to consider when thinking about whether to attend Cambridge or Oxford, and compares them
  • TED.Com This is an editorial piece about why we consider any of the above schools to be better than any other school, with further links to related TEDtalks videos

Escapism

We all practice it, which is the sad truth – whether we make a conscious effort around it or not. I know I have indulged in it – during my break-up over the summer i required the herbal assistance of a sleep aide and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
so that I wouldn’t dwell.
For many people it’s alcohol, pot, drugs, or it can been as seemingly innocent as an abundance of television or even reading.
Escapism is the art of distracting the self so that processing of things which are difficult to process is neglected. This, if done right, can be beneficial, but it is an intricate balancing act. Without fully knowing the self, it can be one slightly wobbly step from disaster.
This is how alcoholism happens, stuck addictions, laziness – unhealthy habits in all areas of life – can develop.
It was Scarlett O’Hara that inspired my escapism –

“I won’t think of that now, I’ll think of it later when I can bare it”

Without allowing herself the emotional strife of losing her parents, the loss of the comfort of Southern living, she would not have been able to be the support her family needed, would not have been able to get her plantation working again. However, it is seen later on in the book when her second husband, Frank Kennedy dies and she refuses to process her guilt, and does turn to alcohol as her method of escapism, and developed it no a vice.
I use school as my escapism. I focus on that because it is something that I have control over. Now I don’t have it, not for another three weeks. I’m too broke for drinking all the time or doing drugs, or engaging in some other means of distraction, so I’m faced with processing things.
Processing is reflecting and coming to terms with an event. We do do it all the time. Dreams are your brains way of processing the events from the day. Sometimes if you look closely at a dream, you seem elements of the day, and know that it was weird that a bunny turned into lasagna when you let it in your dream, but it just appeared that way because during the day you were eating lasagna when you saw a road kill bunny on the street outside.
The stress of not allowing yourself to process things can result in mental problems as well as physical problems, like any forms of stress. It can alter the functionality of your digestive system, which can lead to weight gain, parasites, candida, foul breath and body odor, and so on; it can diminish your sex drive; it can effect your comprehension of tasks in daily life; it can have strong effects on your moods; and of course cause sleep problems as well.
Do yourself a favor – don’t engage in escapism. It’s not worth it. No matter how difficult it is to process, give yourself the chance to do so. You’ll be able to grow from it and be happier and healthier for it.

Racism vaccine: are you scared?

A friend once told me that is is fear that keeps everyone from being able to band together and make a difference. No one trusts any one, so no one will believe or act with anyone. It’s a sad truth.

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

In 2014, in North Carolina, USA, a black teenage high school football player was found hanged by someone else’s belt, wearing someone else’s shoes. Who has his shoes? Whose belt was the weapon of his death? We don’t know, because the system declined to investigate. The police, the coronor, the whole apparatus agreed that it was suicide, plain and simple. He had gone out for a run after dark, something he did frequently being an athlete. He was allowed to play high school football again. His first game was tomorrow.

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Deleting Racist Friends from Facebook

In the wake of Police brutality going without justice for the victims, in the wake of the debate of the issues being due to racism or not – there are of course a lot of people showing their true colors. All over Facebook there are people coming out with shocking remarks in many different directions – and a lot of peoples’ friends lists are getting shortened.

Even the Huffington Post has been publishing articles about deleting racist friends. There are memes about people keeping Facebook friends from high school only to realize they’re racist -or whatever. Do we need those people in our lives?

I believe that people interact with people have have two opportunities presented to them: to teach and to learn. Does that mean preach? Good God – No! However, by deleting people that have opinions which differ from your own, you’re just perpetuating the intolerance. If you care about a person – you accept them for who they are, and their background and beliefs make them who they are. Does it make it ok to be racist/homophobic/sexist/bigoted in any way? Of course not! However, love is spread with love, not by dismissal.

Hate, misunderstanding, love, prejudice, fear – they’re all paths a person walks down through life, and they are given countless opportunities to learn from them, to overcome obstacles, and grow as a spiritual being. By deleting people that clearly have hate and/or fear in them, you’re denying an opportunity for them to grow.

By showing compassion, you can spread compassion.

Accomplishments and Goals

Live to Write - Write to Live

Last night I gave a presentation on Accomplishments and Goals. We reviewed our accomplishments from 2014 and set goals for 2015.

I asked my participants to make a list of 50 accomplishments from 2014.

You might be thinking, but I didn’t accomplish 50 things in 2014.

I bet you did. I bet you accomplished many more than 50 things.

In order to get people thinking, I wrote a list of categories on the white board, with heading such as Body and Wellness, and Creativity and Learning (lifted directly from Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map, which I’ve written about before.) Under each heading were a number of different categories.

Look for any list of categories to help you come up with your own list of accomplishments.

After we’d made our lists of 50 accomplishments, we spent the rest of the evening talking about and clarifying our goals for…

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Word count Update Again

I’m shocked that I’m keeping up with my delayed NaNoWriMo. There was a day or two where I was lagging a bit, but I’m slightly – ever so slightly ahead of the game.

I started on December 5th, seeing as I was needing the quarter/finals to end before I got into any project requiring my attention. And now, 7 days into it, I should be at 11,669 words. Not only have I reached that, but at this moment, I have just entered in my 11.901st word, putting me around 250 words into tomorrow’s goal.

Now, if we want, again, to count the words that I’ve been writing altogether that don’t necessarily go towards my novel-in-the-making, then I’ve got some 14-1500 words just in blogging, which really does get me past tomorrow’s word count goal.

However, it is National Novel Writing Month for a reason – the word count is meant to go towards writing a novel in 30 days. So onward I continue – simply being pleased that I’m writing so much at all!

Who knew that I could find satisfaction in a five-week vacation during my most loathed time of the year!

One week of winter break down, four more to go.