Flu season has hit in full force–and on a college campus, that’s bad news. With loads of students, faculty members, staff, and visitors, and with communal spaces and close-quartered dorms, college campuses are basically incubators, making it pretty easy to get sick. But before you give into the flu bug, or even the common cold, take these germ-fighting steps that just may keep you healthy:
1. The Elbow Trick. Gotta sneeze? That’s okay. It’s natural. But be respectful of others around you. Instead of sneezing your germs into the air, cover up by covering your mouth with your elbow. That way, not only will you be protecting others from potential sickness, but you’ll also be protecting yourself by keeping it off your hands. Literally.
2. Cafeteria Etiquette. Perhaps the germiest place on campus is the campus dining hall, especially if it’s buffet-style. Just think about it: all those people plus all that food equals all those cooties. Think about bringing some hand sanitizer with you, or be extra careful about what you touch. It might seem a little overzealous, but it’s better than being sick.
3. Wash, Wash, Wash. By far this is the simplest and most effective way to fight off any sickness, especially the flu. After you use the restroom—or even periodically through your day—wash your hands (and use soap, of course). Think about it this way: every time you wash your hands then somewhere a fairy doesn’t contract the flu.
4. Accountability. If your friends are hacking their lungs out, or even if they’re being a little unsanitary, then call them out. No one’s going to call you a bad friend for not wanting to get sick, so speak up.
5. Common Sense. If you can see that someone’s visibly sick, then you might want to think about staying away from him or her until they’re better. If your roommate’s sick, sleep on a friend’s couch, or make sure you clean the surfaces of your room (and your hands, remember!) often. If you can make it through flu season without going down for the count and without spending way too many in hours without being able to get out of bed (which isn’t as good as it sounds), then consider yourself lucky.
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And with every miracle, there is that superstition bringing it all around. A rabbit’s foot? Maybe. Or prayer to God (every football player loves that one)? Possibly.
But these college sports traditions? Phenomenal. And maybe even a little bizarre!
Traditions, for sure, remind us that college sports – all sports – allow us to dream of glory, guts, and the gusto of the marching band cheering for the winning kick or three-point shot.
And we like to believe that something as mundane as a rabbit’s foot may play a hand in it!
Needless to say, here are some of the most interesting traditions in college sports. Some of them are actually funny, others are sort of cute, and a couple here is just plain strange.
So definitely enjoy!
The Ohio State University Buckeye “Leaf Stickers”
Aaawww…. A true state of fact that even college football players in all their massive developing muscles can be in touch with their inner child. They love stickers!
Why? Apparently, this tradition going as far back as 1967 revolves around a particular coach by the name of Woody Hayes thinking it would be good luck to reward his players with “stickers” on their silver helmets whenever they made great plays during games.
Not just any stickers, though. No, no. Leaf stickers. That’s rather touching. I’d be thankful, though, that the stickers weren’t “My Little Pony” or “Edward Cullen.”
The University of Iowa’s Psychological “Pink Play”
Who says football isn’t a “thinking” game? It’s like chess, for God’s sake. These big animals called football players do have brains; they’d have to given the fact they have to remember every darn play the coach comes up with. After all, the helmet protects the brain from damage (mostly).
Of course, most of the thinking really isn’t done by the players. It’s done by the coaches – in particular, one coach from the University of Iowa by the name of Hayden Fry, a Baylor psychology major ironically enough, acting like a veritable Sigmund Freud.
For that extra edge in a game, you know what he did? He painted the entire away team’s locker room right before his first game with his football team. What color? Oh, the smashingly masculine color of pink.
The whole locker room? Yes. The whole locker room. Everything from the toilets to the ceilings. Pink.
Can you imagine the horror in the eyes of the away team, as they walk into the locker room and see pink? That really doesn’t make a team want to play some good and intense football. The color ‘pink’ isn’t exactly an aggressive color. Look at every single G.I. Joe character, and you won’t find even one character wearing the color pink. Instead, these football players are fixing their jock straps in Barbie’s house.
By Asolsma1988 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
The University of Colorado’s Running With the Buffalo
Here’s the thing: everyone knows it, scientists know it, psychologists know it…. We’re all dumb animals, basically. We do stupid stuff all the time. Walk on the moon? Are we retarded? Yes. Or how about build airplanes? The Wright brothers were insane.
The University of Colorado has possibly one of the greatest traditions in college football. The football team is lead onto the field at the beginning and second half of each game by a real life 1,300lb buffalo! The students love it, the fans love it and admit, you love it!
Last, But Definitely Not Least, Notre Dame’s “Play Like a Champion Today”
Pure awesomeness. Jack Black himself as the panda would agree. I left this one for last, because really there’s nothing bizarre or even funny about it. It just screams pride, glory, and nostalgia for a football team practically worshiping those words on a sign in the hall right before coming out to the field by simply tapping it in homage to the words.
Every football player for the Fighting Irish does it. Even the ones sitting on the sidelines. It’s a tried-and-true tradition that will never go away.
One would think that a player tapping the sign as he walks out in his shining gold helmet would embody those words, that it would act as some kind of spiritual channel of energy to energize the player with the power to pummel the opposition with his pinky.
What’s important is that a player believes in it. Faith is full of power. And words cut to the soul. When you put the words “play” and “champion” together, it’s like subliminal messaging for a football player.
There’s no better tradition than that…. Not one in this world.
No Matter What the Tradition Is….
It unifies a team in a common goal and gives them the will to win. One inch. One point. One goal. Sounds like a coach’s speech, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t matter if it’s nothing more than a rabbit’s foot. The tradition – the charm for good luck, if you will – has power because someone believes it does.
And that makes all the difference.
However…. If you’re the coach on a college chess team, you better paint that locker room bright red with giant horns painted all over it. Nothing says disaster like a peeved and aggressive chess player, right?
Even if you saved all of the babysitting money you earned from the time you were 12, all of the tips you accrued delivering pizzas in high school, and every single check from every birthday card you have ever received, chances are, you’d still come up short when trying to pay your college tuition. Unfortunately, college is expensive even though it’s a critical step in advancing personally and professionally. Fortunately, there are ways for students to mitigate expenses related to higher education through college financial aid. The FAFSA, or Free Application For Student Financial Aid is the universal starting point in the Unites States when it comes to determining federal student aid eligibility. You can complete the application online by creating a PIN for electronic signing and document retrieval. The following information and documents are needed to fill out a FASFA:
Social Security Number
Previous year’s records of money earned
Income Tax Returns from the previous year
Parents’ federal income tax return (For dependent students)
Untaxed income records (Ex.) Social Security, welfare, veterans benefit records)
Current bank statements
Your alien registration or permanent resident card (if not born in the U.S.)
Once you file your FAFSA form, you will have a better understanding of what types of financial aid you qualify for at the federal level. There are various forms of financial aid available, aside from money you qualify for by completing your FAFSA form. The most popular being scholarships, grants, student loans and work-study programs.
Scholarships are a form of financial aid awarded to help ease the financial burden of college, though it often takes good old-fashioned hard work to land a substantial amount of money. Scholarships often require time and attention to detail in order to research the ones you qualify for, carefully fill out applications or write required essays and keep track of deadlines. The most common are merit-based, need-based or athletic, but you can also earn them by being affiliated with certain groups or if you have a special talent or skill-set. Many types of organizations provide financial aid to qualifying students, so you should acquaint yourself with the ones available through your high school, college, company, parent’s or relative’s work, and your local community to see what you might qualify for. You can also find these and more through college scholarship Web sites such as Fastweb.com. Additional information is also available at the U.S. Department of Education.
Grants are sometimes referred to as gift aid because unlike other forms of college financial aid, they don’t have to be repaid. Traditionally for undergraduate students, the gift amount is based on need as determined by information provided on the FAFSA, as well as the cost of attendance at the university the student is enrolled at. There are currently four federal gift aids available that undergraduate students can apply for:
Federal Pell: Pells are awarded by the Department of Education to low-income students and do not have to be repaid. These awards are typically given to first-year undergraduate students.
FSEOG- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity: The FSEOG Program provides need-based aide to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to post-secondary education. There are approximately 4,000 participating postsecondary institutions who award this type federal financial aid.
TEACH- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education: Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the (TEACH) Grant Program that provides aide of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: A student whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 may be eligible to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
Loans are borrowed money and repayment with interest is required. Students apply for them in order to finance their education that they cannot cover upfront with money they’ve saved or through other non-repayable forms of financial aid. Students and parents are eligible to take out a loan to finance a student’s higher education. There are two broad types: 1) Federal as offered through the government and 2) Private are offered through the bank. There are 5 federal student aid types currently available, but the most common ones are:
Federal Perkins Loan: Students with exceptional financial need are awarded the Perkins. A school’s Financial Aid office determines the amount awarded to the qualified student. Then the school acts as the lender and distributes the government funds. The annual maximum allowed for an undergraduate and graduate student is $4,000 and $6,000, respectively. An undergraduate student is allowed to borrow up to $20,000 under the Perkins. If the student continues on to graduate school than the limit raises to the $40,000 maximum.
Federal Stafford Loan: Staffords can be subsidized or unsubsidized. The subsidized type means the government pays the interest while the student is enrolled in school. If it is unsubsidized than the student can pay interest while in school or may elect to defer the payment until after graduation. Regardless of need, all students are eligible for the unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
Keep in mind though, you or your parents can also apply for the PLUS for Parents, PLUS for Graduate and Professional Degree Students or the Consolidation Option, depending on your circumstance.
Private loans are offered by banks and credit unions across the US. When looking for this type of financial aid, it’s important to truly understand the terms of the loan, such as when your repayment period begins and what the interest rate will be. Especially in today’s economy, you need to pay special attention to how long the deferment period is in the event you don’t find a job right after college or if you lose your job suddenly.
Many schools offer work-study programs as well, where you can earn money while attending school to help pay for your education expenses. You can find information about your school’s work study program usually on the College Financial Aid page of your school’s website, or you can visit the Financial Aid Office. Currently, there are about 3,400 institutions that participated in federal work-study programs.
Fortunately, those freshmen who’s parents didn’t leave them trust funds can still achieve their dream of higher education through various forms of financial aid for college students. It’s important to find the option or options that best suits your financial needs, and by exploring the options listed above, you’re off to a good start in financing your education expenses. If you have any tips for other students to secure the maximum amount of college financial aid, please leave a comment!
Thursday, October 21st has been coined as the Affordable Textbooks Day Of Action. Students from over 40 campuses will speak out against expensive textbooks by hosting presentations, sending emails and talking with professors directly. This is part of the Student PIRGs, Make Textbooks Affordable campaign. The campaign has been in effect since 2003, and focuses on the following areas:
Passing Laws: As of July 1st, 2010 schools need to provide a list to students of the books required for their courses before classes begin. This allows students to have more time to explore other channels such as buying or renting textbooks online. Additionally, publishers will need to offer bundled items separately, allowing students to have more control over which items they choose to purchase for class.
Promoting Open Textbooks: Increasing the popularity of open textbooks is another primary initiative of the campaign. Instead of costing $150-$200 per textbook, open source textbooks allow students to download and read content for free.
Exposing the Problem: Getting the media to address the cost of expensive textbooks to raise awareness among the general American public is also critical. In fact, the campaign was mentioned in today’s New York Times article.
Promoting Used Books: Encouraging students to shop online for used textbooks, or by swapping with friends and classmates is great way for students to save money and to combat publishers who undermine the used book industry by releasing similar, but new editions of textbooks every couple years.
Establishing Rental Programs: Encouraging cost-saving textbook rental programs to become more prevalent on college campuses and online. On average, students who rent textbooks spend between $130-$240 per year opposed to $900 spent by students who buy; a savings of about $700.
Organizing Professors: Additional effort is spent educating professors about the astronomical cost of textbooks so they choose lower cost options for their students.