Leadership Isn’t Out of Reach for Shy Students

For shy students, speaking up in class, let alone leading others, can seem like a Herculean task. While it might not come naturally, those who are shy shouldn't entirely discount their ability to lead or provide guidance to others. Leadership, like many other skills, is something that is honed through practice and experience, and is something that is in the reach of even those who tend to shy away from being in front of others. If you'd like to come out of your shell and start standing out instead of blending in, there are some thing you can do to help push yourself forward.

Volunteer for things. Once you speak up, there's no going back so you'll be forced to get out there and interact with others. Eventually you may even want to volunteer to lead a study group or group project. Remember, practice makes perfect and the more chances you take the more you'll learn.

Ask questions. Just because you're not ready to lead a group doesn't mean you have to stay silent. Speak up and ask questions of others. Participate in discussions and tell that part of you that is terrified to speak to shush.

Stop expecting perfection. If someone doesn't laugh at your joke or isn't instantly wowed by your ideas it doesn't mean you should give up and go back to being the fly on the wall. Every single person faces social rejection or criticism at some point. You have to get used to it, no matter how hurtful it may be at first.

Figure out what makes you feel confident. Everyone has talents or subjects in which they tend to excel. What are the situations that make you feel confident and competent? Choose these settings as the first places you test out your leadership skills.

Start small. Leading a large group can be intimidating for anyone, so if you're shy, stick with the small stuff at first. Start club with a few acquaintances or just work with a couple of other students. Eventually, as you gain confidence in your abilities, you may be able to expand your horizons.

You may never end up being a chatterbox or hyper-outgoing but any person, even those who tend towards shyness, can learn to lead and speak up about his or her ideas. It may not be an easy path, but the benefits can be plentiful and varied in both college coursework and a future career, making all that hard work more than worth your while.

Developing Responsibility as a College Student

Becoming a responsible adult is something that a lot of college students struggle with during their time away from home. No supervision access to things and behaviors previously banned by parents can make for a rowdy first few years at school as students stretch their wings and learn what benefits life as an adult offers. Of course, being an adult isn't all about fun, as most students soon learn, but building the skills and responsibility necessary to hold down a job, pay bills on time and take care of yourself takes some practice and maybe even a few failures to perfect. Here are a few things all college students need to consider as they start learning what it's really like to live in the real world.

Your actions only hurt you in the long run. While your parents might be upset if you get into trouble, your missteps will have a lot bigger impact on your own life than theirs. They may make it hard for you to find a job or lead the kind of life you want to led. Always remember your long term goals before you do anything.

There are very real consequences to messing up. The consequences for making mistakes as a minor are usually relatively light. Yet now that you're older, penalties for your mistakes are going to be pretty real. You can end up with a permanent record, get expelled from college and make mistakes that have a long-lasting effect on your life so make sure that harmless fun really is harmless after all.

Sometimes fun needs to take a backseat. Students should have a great time while they're away at college, but part of growing up is understanding that sometimes fun needs to be put aside to get important things done. You came to college to get a degree, that work should take precedence over everything else.

Growing up means sometimes having to do things you don't want to do. Whether it's paying bills, working over the weekend or doing laundry, being an adult isn't always the epitome of fun. Yet these tasks will help give you the money and freedom you need to have fun at other times. Finding a balance between what you have to do and what you want to do is a big part of growing up.

Responsibility isn't always a bad thing. While you might think being happy and carefree is the best thing in the world, having responsibilities isn't always bad. After all, most people want to have good jobs, a house and even a family someday. These are all big responsibilities but they can be worth it.

Becoming an adult is along process and won't stop after you graduate from college. You'll still have a lot to learn but you can get a head start by getting some of the basics down and learning the fundamentals of what it means to have responsibility when you're still a college student. It can make the transition into the real world a little easier and leave your parents a lot less to worry about.

10 Things You Need to Know About Potential Pell Grant Cuts

By Donna Reish

President Obama's announcement that he intends to cut the nation's deep budget deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade was met with the usual support and opposition from the left and right, respectively, who complained that it either wasn't enough or too much. Of course, politicians are probably more concerned with the political implications than how it'll affect the average American citizen, particularly college students, whom Obama has vowed to support. His new budget plan calls for major reductions in the funding of Pell Grants and other higher education programs over the next 10 years. The federal grant largely benefits students from low-income families who struggle with the financial burden of college. Haggling in Congress will ultimately affect how much the program is impacted, but for now, here are few things you should know about the currently proposed cuts:

  1. Obama has proposed a $100 billion reduction in the funding of Pell Grants and other higher education programs: With both parties promising to reduce the national budget deficit, it has become a foregone conclusion that financial aid programs will see cuts in funding. Now that both sides have put their offers on the table, we have a better idea of what to expect in the near future. Programs such as and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program and Byrd Honors Scholarships would be eliminated in Obama's proposal, while funding for the Perkins loan program would expand by $8.5 billion per year beginning in 2012-13. Overall, the Education Department's budget would grow by 4.3 percent.
  2. During Obama's time in office, the maximum Pell Grant has increased from $4,731 to $5,550: Additionally, the average Pell Grant awarded increased from $2,970 to $4,115 in order to make up for four years of weak funding during the Bush administration. In 2008, Obama campaigned promising to increase financial aid and make college more affordable for students from lower and middle income families. But now that Republicans have regained the majority in the House, changes that were established when the Democrats were in control could be rolled back.
  3. The amount of Pell Grant recipients increased from 6.1 million in 2008 to 8.9 million in 2010: Due to the weak economy, expanding enrollments and the increase in qualifying applicants, many more students have been applying for aid in the last three years using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The White House states that more than nine million students are currently receiving aid from Pell Grants.
  4. A $20 billion shortfall is expected in the Pell Grant program in 2012: The shortfall is a result of the increases in the maximum amount awarded and number of recipients, which have caused the Pell Grant program's expenditures to double in the last three years. Obama has pledged to provide $41 billion — $28 billion from discretionary spending and $13 million from mandatory spending — to fund the program in 2012.
  5. If the shortfall is unaddressed, then the maximum Pell Grant award will drop from $5,550 to $3,240 in 2011-12: The decrease of $2,310 would greatly affect college students all over the nation. In order to avoid such as a drastic change, Obama will need to cut spending for other higher education programs. In doing so, he'll need to select areas that aren't heavily depended upon by students who normally have trouble finding other ways to fund their educations.
  6. Obama intends to keep the maximum Pell Grant award at $5,550: Despite the massive cuts, Obama wants to leave the maximum award untouched, which would be achieved by taking the next two actions on this list — the elimination of year-round Pell Grants and the reduction of loan subsidies for graduate and professional students. As a result, much fewer students would be impacted, especially low-income students who can't afford to spare the money when paying for college.
  7. The elimination of year-round Pell Grants would save about $60 billion over the next decade: In the year-round program, students in accelerated programs are able to receive two Pell Grants per year, the second of which is used for summer school. This option became available in the 2009-10 academic year after the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 was passed, which, as it turns out, did little to improve students' academic progress and cost much more than anticipated.
  8. The reduction of loan subsidies for graduate and professional students would save $29 billion over the next decade : It would result in $2 billion in savings next year, providing a short-term enticement and saving bundles long-term. Although some professional and graduate students currently benefit from the payment of their student loan interest by the government, experts claim that it hasn't encouraged more students to attend in graduate school.
  9. In the House bill, the maximum Pell Grant award would be reduced from $5,550 to $4,705: The Republicans' plan entails the largest reduction of student-aid funds in the history of the Pell Grant program. It's a part of their spending bill for the remainder of 2011 that intends to shed an additional $100 billion from Obama's budget plan. During last fall's midterm elections, Republicans pledged to drastically cut national spending.
  10. The House Bill could result in the removal of 1.7 million students from the Pell Grant program: The estimate was made by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org, a trusted website devoted to providing comprehensive information about financial aid. For every $100 change in the maximum Pell Grant amount, 200,000 recipients are affected, meaning that even a minor reduction can disrupt the college careers of tens of thousands low-income students. According to Kantrowitz, 97 percent of Pell Grant recipients earn fewer than $50,000 per year.

Information courtesy of Yahoo, Inside Higher Ed, The New York Times and Fastweb.

When Students Should Head to the Doctor

Many students (and adults alike) tend to ignore the symptoms of a cold, hoping that it will go away on it's own. In many cases, especially if it's caused by a virus, there is little the doctor can do anyway and rest, healthy foods and hydration will help your body to take care of the cold. Yet there are times when symptoms shouldn't be ignored and students should make a trip to the doctor, even if it interrupts class or study time. If you're feeling under the weather, here are some signs you need to head to your college medical facility.

You have a high fever. Fevers are a sign that your body is trying to fight off illness but when they elevate body temps into triple digits students should start to worry. Anytime your fever is over 104 or over 102 for more than two days you need to see a doctor.

You have difficulty breathing or chest pain. Aside from the stuffiness caused by congestion, your average cold or flu shouldn't make it hard for you to breathe or cause any kind of chest pain. This could be a sign of something more serious, so consult a doctor as soon as possible.

You have had a persistent cough for more than two weeks. If a cough doesn't start to get better on its own, it's time to seek medical help. You may have bronchitis or effects from allergies or asthma that medication can easily help to treat.

You are unable to keep even fluids down. Your body needs water to survive, especially when it's trying to fight off a bacteria or virus. If you cannot keep water in your system, you need to visit a doctor so an IV can be administered. The effects of dehydration can be severe, so don't wait to seek out help.

Your cold just won't go away. Why suffer for months on end? If you can't seem to get over a sickness, visit a doctor. He or she may be able to provide you with medications that will fight off the germs causing the problem, or figure out if there is something else at play besides a cold.

It's true that many colds will go away on their own, but some could transform into something much worse if left alone so its essential that students be on the lookout for signs of trouble early on. That way, medications and treatments can be prescribed and students can get back to looking and feeling good.

Community College May Be Right for Some Students

Community college has a bad rap. Some people don't even see it as real college, others as a place where people go when they can't get into other schools. While not all community colleges are created equal, for the most part, these accusations are just unfair. For some students, community college can be a great choice and one that helps to open up a lot of other doors. Still wondering if community college is right for you? Here are some instances when community college may be the best choice.

You have a not-so-great GPA. If you couldn't get into the university of your dreams because of your grades, community college can be a godsend for students who are ready to clean up their act. These college level courses will now form the basis of your GPA and you'll be able to make a clean start, provided you're willing to do the work.

You need to save money. College is expensive but community colleges are often much less so than their larger university counterparts. Attending community college to get some general education classes out of the way and to build skills can be a great move for budget minded students looking to eventually move to another school.

You're not sure college is right for you. If you're not sure college is the best choice for you and your career goals, taking some courses at a community college can help you to see if you'd thrive in a higher education environment or hate it, without spending tons of money.

You want to pursue a two year degree program. Many bigger schools don't offer two year programs, but community colleges sure do. If you're looking to get an associate's in a wide range of fields, community college may be your best bet. If you love it, you can also add on more years.

You need to stay close to home. There are a variety of personal reasons for which a student might not want to go away for college if there isn't one nearby. Familial obligations and personal preferences sometimes simply mandate that students stay close to home and community colleges can offer that proximity.

If you're on the fence about heading to community college, don't be. Even if it turns out that you want to attend a bigger school later on, transferring is possible and it's always better to get started on your college dreams sooner rather than later.

10 Outdoor Careers that Can Earn You a Good Living

By Donna Reish

According to accomplished British journalist and writer Katherine Whitehorn, "The best career advice given to the young is — find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." If you love the outdoors, or simply can't stand being cooped up in an office during daylight hours, then you may have considered pursuing a degree that leads to an outdoor career. But if the perceived impracticality of such a goal has halted you from chasing your dream, think again. There are numerous outdoor careers that are both financially and personally rewarding. The few listed below offer some of the attributes desired by people who prefer not to follow the paths most taken. Note: the mean annual incomes provided with each occupation are courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  1. Construction Manager — $93,290: Motivated men and women who enjoy overseeing the construction and maintenance of buildings and structures choose careers in construction management. It's their duty to plan, organize and implement projects that must adhere to strict budgets and schedules. Although it's a challenge, they're given the power to ensure things are operating the best ways they see fit. Aspiring construction managers earn a bachelor's degree in construction management, construction science or civil engineering; partaking in an internship that provides hands-on experience is important for students hoping to enter the occupation. Highly trained individuals will benefit the most during the faster than average employment growth for the occupation that's expected in the coming years. Those who stick around and work their way up as construction managers earn handsome salaries — the top 10 percent averages $151,630 annually.
  2. Geoscientist — $92,710: Geoscientists use their immense knowledge of the earth with the goal of, in many cases, locating and procuring oil, gas and minerals, utilizing natural resources in manners that cause minimal or no harm to the environment. Others in the profession focus on the human impact on the environment and vice versa so that we can cultivate a more mutually beneficial relationship. Regardless of their goals, geoscientists are highly educated, driven individuals who perform important duties crucial to sustaining society. For that reason, they must have a bachelor's and advanced degree in geosciences. Upon graduation, aspiring geoscientists find jobs rather quickly, and that'll likely continue in the near future, as faster than average growth in the field is expected. Seasoned geoscientists earn excellent salaries — the top 25 percent of earners average a yearly salary of $117,040 — because of the specialized nature of the occupation.
  3. Mining and Geological Engineer — $82,080: Mining and geological engineers find and extract minerals, coal, ores and materials used for building. They determine which mines contain the most deposits, compose plans that enable workers to safely extract those deposits, and oversee the operation to ensure it's going smoothly. Aspiring mining and geological engineers typically major in an engineering discipline or geology, either of which, along with the faster than average growth that's expected in the coming years, should sufficiently prepare them to land a job. Once they accumulate years of experience, it'll pay off — the top 25 percent of earners in the occupation make just fewer than $100,000 per year.
  4. Environmental Engineer — $80,750: It's certainly noble to dedicate your career to caring for the environment. Environment engineers do just that, focusing on the water and air pollution, waste disposal and recycling. Their work consists of finding the areas most affected by pollution, testing the severity of the problem and creating solutions aimed at restoring those areas to normalcy. Additionally, they draft regulations and consult companies that want to comply with environmental regulations. In order to enter the profession, a major in environmental engineering is preferred and a graduate degree is useful for advancing in the field. In the next several years, finding jobs in the profession shouldn't be too difficult because much faster than average growth is expected. The best trained environmental engineers — the top 10 percent of earners — receive an average yearly salary of $115,750. Not a bad prize for a job that ranked fifth out of 100 on CNNMoney.com's list of the Best Jobs in America 2010.
  5. First-Line Supervisor/Manager of Police and Detective — $78,580: Police work requires selflessness, sacrifice and a commitment to the greater good. First-line supervisors exhibit those characteristics as they enjoy exciting careers in which they oversee the activities of police force members in an effort to control crime in departments' respective communities. First-line supervisors assign responsibilities to their subordinates and assist them in carrying out their duties as needed. They oversee criminal investigations, ensuring each one is carried out efficiently and according to department standards. These days, those who wish to become members of law enforcement often choose to complete a degree in criminal justice. If they want to achieve supervisory positions, they accumulate experience as police officers, working their way up. The reward for occupations such as first-line supervisor, which are experiencing average growth, is high pay. The top 10 percent of earners receive average yearly salaries of $116,340.
  6. Hydrologist — $76,760: Hydrologists study water and the processes at which it cycles above the earth, on the earth and below the earth. They examine water's physical properties to determine its quality and whether or not it has been exposed to undesirable chemicals. Hydrologists use instruments to record data indicating if certain areas are receiving appropriate amounts water. Because there is no hydrology-specific degree, aspiring hydrologists pursue a major in environmental science, geoscience or engineering disciplines. As is the case with most science-related fields, employment of hydrologists is expected to grow faster than average in the coming years, and employees will continue to earn generous salaries. The top 10 percent of earners make an average salary of $110,110 annually.
  7. Ship Engineer — $69,420 : Ship engineers are responsible for keeping ships on the move by operating, maintaining and repairing the engines and accompanying components, such as boilers, machinery, and refrigeration, sanitary and electrical equipment. Typically, each ship has a chief engineer followed by a first, second and third assistant engineer, each of whom watches over the engines and machinery. In addition to gaining on-boat experience, aspiring ship engineers often choose to pursue an education from a merchant marine academy. In the near future, graduates seeking water transportation jobs shouldn't experience too much trouble, as faster than average growth is expected in the industry. The limited amount of qualified personnel means better pay — the top 10 percent of earners average $109,310 per year.
  8. Electrical and Electronics Repairer (Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay) — $61,700: Our days spent indoors are nothing without electrical and electronics repairers, who specialize in repairing and maintaining generating stations, substations, and in-service relays. Also known as field technicians, these trained workers commute to different locations to perform their duties each day. Patience, problem solving ability and quick thinking are required for success in the occupation, which can be procured after attaining an associate degree from a community college or technical school. Subsequently, certification can be pursued from one of the many programs offered by various schools throughout the country. Although electrical and electronics repairers in the past typically received their training on the job, it's now more necessary to be equipped with the appropriate skills before entering the occupation, as average growth and keen competition are expected in the coming years.
  9. Surveyor — $57,420: Before land boundaries are established, construction is undertaken or maps are made, surveyors are called upon to exact precise measurements of the area. Using special equipment, they find data pertaining to the different characteristics of land, including its elevation, dimension, shape and contour. Aspiring surveyors can major in surveying, but if they don't attend a college that offers such a program, they can instead complete a degree in geography or engineering. Licensure can be attained by completing the requirements provided by the state in which the aspiring surveyor lives. Entering the occupation shouldn't be too difficult, as faster than average employment growth is expected in the near future.
  10. Fish and Game Warden — $54,950: With perhaps the ideal outdoor job for true outdoorsmen, fish and game wardens are responsible for ensuring violators of fish and game laws are stopped and apprehended, and investigating property and crop damage by wildlife. In short, they help preserve the natural resources we enjoy for sport and life. Those looking to begin a career as a fish and game warden pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in conservation, wildlife management, natural resources or biology. Experience in law enforcement may be requirement as well, so many aspiring fish and game wardens first accumulate experience as police officers. Employment growth for the occupation, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies under "Police and Detectives," is expected to grow as fast as average in the near future. For the most part, fish and game wardens earn less than the aforementioned professions, but the career provides just as much satisfaction.