5 Reasons a Private College Isn’t for Everyone

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A recent study showed that nearly half of recent college grads are currently in jobs that don’t actually require a college degree. While their degrees may have certainly helped them attain those jobs, the degrees aren’t a necessity. Some students find the idea of a traditional, private school daunting, especially when faced with the cost of the school. If you aren’t sure you want to commit to four years of further education and a significant amount of debt, there are plenty of options out there besides traditional, private colleges. You may eventually decide to go to a traditional or private college or it may be your choice from the beginning, which is fine, but it’s also important to be aware of the other options available.

Community colleges

One of the most popular options for students that aren’t interested in a traditional, four-year college is to pursue an education at a community college. These colleges are traditionally much less expensive than private schools and you often have the option of getting a two-year associate degree. If you’re unsure what you’d like to do, you can start taking general education classes at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. Some community colleges also give you the option of getting a bachelor’s degree and you’ll be able to do so at a much lower cost.

Technical schools

An often overlooked higher education option is a technical or vocational school. Some of these schools even offer programs to students currently in high school so they can graduate with a certification and capabilities to get a quality, well-paying job immediately after high school. If your high school offers classes at a tech school, go ahead and get a certification in something that interests you. If you decide to pursue a more traditional college degree later on, you’ll be able to work and save money beforehand.

Family businesses

Plenty of students know someone in their family or a family friend who owns their own business. For those who have connections to family businesses, this option is completely valid for a future career. Often, these students have been working in the family business for many years and understand the ins and outs of the company. If it’s a small company, it can likely be taken over by someone with a high school degree because they’ll learn more about working at the company on the job.

Entrepreneurship

While entrepreneurship is fairly hit or miss unless you have an explosive business idea like Facebook, it is still an option for some. There are students who become entrepreneurs in high school and are able to follow their dreams and run their own businesses without a formal college education. Some education could be necessary, but if you get lucky as an entrepreneur, you may never need to attend a private college or even get a formal college degree. Taking just a few individual classes could be enough for what you’re doing.

Take time off

If you just haven’t decided what to do after you graduate high school, there is always the option of simply taking time off. You could work part-time and save for college or just simply take time to decide what you want to do while working a bit. If you’re taking time off, you could also spend it volunteering and giving your time toward a great cause. Then, whether you decide to find a full-time job or attend school, you’ll have quality experience and knowledge from when you took time-off.

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5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Continue This Year’s Fitness Goals

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When you resolve yourself to work toward fitness goals, it can be difficult to find the motivation to keep working toward them, especially as you get caught up in your old routine after the holidays. Fitness may move to the back of your mind as you focus on the new year and other aspects of your life. However, it’s important to continue making fitness a priority and take care of your health. Here are some tips for staying motivated and continuously work toward your fitness goals.

Find a workout partner

One of the most effective ways to stay motivated for fitness is to work out with someone else. If you have someone relying on you to go to the gym, you’ll be more likely to go and you might even develop friendly competition. When you’re picking a workout partner, make sure you choose a friend who will actually motivate you to workout. Do not pick someone that’ll influence you to skip your exercise and go out for drinks or dinner instead.

Vary your exercise

One of the issues that ends successful fitness routines is becoming mired in repetitive activity that you get tired of doing. Varying your workout routine helps you from becoming bored with what you’re doing and also makes it easier to break through plateaus. Try different exercise routines or fitness classes and you’ll definitely find it’s easier to reach your goals.

Focus on the end goal

In order to continuously motivate yourself, remember why you created a fitness goal in the first place. Did you want to improve your overall health? Is there a weight you’d like to reach? Are you training for a marathon? No matter why you’re focusing on fitness, remember how great you’ll feel once you reach your goal.

Get into a routine

Establishing a solid exercise routine is the best way to stick to working toward your fitness goals. After you get used to heading to the gym or a regular fitness class, it’ll turn into part of your daily or weekly routine. A regular routine makes fitness a part of your life and it seems less like work. Create your routine by working out at the same time every day; do it before or after work or over lunch.

Set smaller goals

It can be difficult to reach your end goal because most fitness goals require a lot of hard work and take a significant amount of time; there’s a lot of opportunity to become discouraged if you aren’t seeing progress quickly enough. Set smaller goals on the way to your larger goal in order to continually motivate yourself. When you reach a small goal, reward yourself in some way then start working toward the next milestone.

How to Avoid Philanthropic Burnout

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No matter what industry you work in, there’s a very real chance you’ll run the risk of burnout at some point in your career. You could be an entrepreneur, a busy parent, an educator, or work for a nonprofit and you’ll still risk burning out at some point. This blog focuses on how to avoid philanthropic burnout while striving toward a specific cause, but most of this advice can be applied no matter what you do.

Philanthropic burnout is a very real threat to those of us working with philanthropies. There are various reasons it’s so common. When devoting a significant amount of time to an important cause, you’re putting a lot of energy into fixing the issue. You also likely encounter unfortunate situations that take a tax on you emotionally. Another issue is that many nonprofits do not receive the funding they truly need, so they’re frequently struggling to make ends meet, find volunteers, fundraise more money, and apply for grants, all while focusing on their cause. Here are tips to help avoid this burnout and truly do the most you can for your organization.

Learn to prioritize

The first step you should take to avoiding burnout is learning to prioritize. When you’re working or volunteering at a nonprofit, especially if you’re in charge of various aspects of it, you’re wearing a lot of hats. You’re switching between taking care of desk work, keeping the website running, motivating workers and volunteers, keeping up with industry news, and making sure there are enough funds to keep everything going smoothly. If you’re the face of the organization, it can become overwhelming. Learning to prioritize what you need to get done can help eliminate some of the stress; while some tasks are important, they aren’t urgent and can wait until tomorrow, next week, or even next month.

Ask for help

Many people find it difficult to ask others for help on important tasks; we believe we’re the only ones who can get the job done properly. However, most people are more than happy to help out, especially in a philanthropic organization that’s working on an important cause. Ask others who work for the nonprofit or volunteer to help with certain tasks. After your prioritize what needs to get done, you’ll be able to identify what tasks can be passed off to someone else.

Connect with others

When you’re working for a philanthropy, you’re going to be around other people who care about the same issues as you. You’re all working to improve something and make the world a better place. No matter how busy it seems you are, take time to connect with other volunteers or employees of the charity. Establishing friendships with others at the philanthropy can help you avoid burnout because you have people you trust and can help with stress relief instead of simply burying yourself in work.

Take time off

A mistake many people make is not taking enough time off, especially when they begin to get stressed out. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, go ahead and take a few days or even a week off. It may seem like nothing will keep running while you’re gone, but it’s more important to preemptively take a break than be forced to after you burnout. If you don’t want to take an entire day off, simply make a little time every day to do something you enjoy and that relaxes you, such as a walk, exercise, reading a book, or spending time with someone close to you.

6 Ways People are Trying to End Poaching

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In the last several years, the issue of wildlife poaching has dramatically increased. Instability and war in certain areas has led to poachers having easier access to endangered animals and also created groups, such as militias, looking to profit from the lucrative trade. Certain animals can bring in tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars for poachers; the industry itself is worth over $200 billion a year. Unfortunately, in addition to the practice of being cruel, many of the targeted animals are severely endangered and poaching is only pushing them closer to extinction. Thankfully, there are many people out there working hard to prevent poaching from continuing; here are some examples of ways to end poaching, many of which you can help with through donations, volunteer work, or simply raising awareness.

Tracking DNA

A very new and sophisticated method conservationists are using to decrease poaching is tracking animal DNA. When authorities confiscate poached goods, they can use DNA tracking to learn exactly where the animal was poached, which then allows them to focus on that population and create more security to protect the group.

Modifying horns or tusks

Another common method that’s being used on animals poached for their ivory is modifying their horns or tusks. When possible, conservationists humanely saw off the tusks of animals like rhinos or elephants. However, this method is not as effective as people would like and the animals are often still killed for the small amount of ivory left behind or because the poachers are angry about the efforts to stop them.

Raising awareness

Since a lot of the poaching trade stems from beliefs that certain animals parts can benefit humans when consumed, it’s helpful to raise awareness in the people purchasing the poached animals and even those doing the poaching. Teaching people the impact poaching has on environments and how there aren’t really benefits to poached materials can help end some of the poaching trade.

Mapping and monitoring technology

One of the most effective methods to combat poaching has been the sophisticated technology used to map the territories of commonly poached animals, track them, and watch out for any poachers traveling through the area. Since there are not enough people to secure such large areas, cameras and motion detectors are useful for catching poachers, along with thermal imaging. Poachers often operate at night and thermal imaging makes it easier to find and stop them before they poach any endangered animals.

Legalize the trade

There are quite a few people who are supporters of this theory, though others are vehemently against it. The idea is that legalized trading in poached animals would lead to lower prices and less demand and it would lose the appeal to poachers because they’d make less money. While many poached goods could be humanely and legally provided, people are afraid that it would only encourage poachers to continue their activities and it would be difficult to gain control of the market.

Engage communities

A great way conservationists have achieved success in protecting poached animals is encouraging local communities to protect them. Teaching local communities the importance of conservation and then helping them turn their local wildlife into a tourism industry, such as offering safari tours, helps incentivize the local people to protect the wildlife as it becomes their source of income through tourism.

How to Get Students Interested in Literature Who Don’t Like to Read

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For any teacher, you want to instill a love of your subject in your students. This aim can certainly be a challenge, especially if they have no interest in the subject to begin with. For literature teachers, you likely have to work with plenty of students who say they don’t like to read and are not interested in books at all. However, once you can convince your students to pick up a book that they’ll be able to relate to, it will be much easier to get them interested in reading. Here are tips on how to pique your students’ interests when it comes to literature, even if they haven’t spent much time reading in the past.

Make the classics relatable

A big obstacle in studying and learning to love literature for many students is that they do not find most literature assigned in class relatable. It’s important to show your students that they can relate to and understand classic literature; consider showing modern adaptations or interpretations or highlight ways plots and ideas from classic literature relates to modern events. Once they read literature, many students find they can make emotional connections to many of the characters.

Include modern literature

Classic literature is valuable and provides plenty of learning opportunities to students, but modern literature is also a great way to spark a love of literature in students. For many, modern literature is easier to relate to and more comprehensible than classic literature. Include pieces of modern literature on your reading list and you’ll be able to reach some students you couldn’t have with simply classic literature.

Offer extra credit

A good motivator to encourage students to read more is offering extra credit. Instruct them to do a write-up or read a book on their own that isn’t on the class reading list. Knowing that connecting with literature in a different way than what’s required in class is a good start to introduce students to literature and help them become interested in reading.

Use other media

Sometimes, the idea of reading just isn’t appealing to some students. However, you can teach them about classic literature by using other kinds of media. There are plenty of movies that are decent adaptations of books. You can also find in-depth discussions of literature online or create interesting powerpoints that teach students the basics of a story. If you can intrigue a student with surface details or a movie, they’ll be more likely to read the actual literature.

Create group projects

Many students enjoy working with others. Creating group projects around literature is a good way to get students interested in reading. Being able to discuss literature with other students helps them connect with the story and understand it better as they discuss it with their peers.

Show them the benefits

There are plenty of benefits to reading, whether it’s classic or modern literature. Reading helps people become more well-rounded and can assist in academic, personal, and professional capacities. There are lots of themes and details in classic literature that often crop up as references in modern literature or media. Once students understand the benefit of reading literature, they’ll become more interested in gaining what they can from it.

The Importance of Diversifying Your Workout

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Everyone who works out regularly realizes that sometimes your workout routine becomes stale. No matter how much you love heading to the gym or following your personal fitness regime, it can be challenging to do the same routine every time you workout, especially once you realize you aren’t getting the same results or the ones you’d hoped to see.

You might notice you plateau and find it difficult to achieve your fitness goals. Instead of becoming discouraged, it’s important to recognize that it’s time to diversify your workout. CrossFit, in particular, recognizes the benefits of incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine and is one of the few workout programs that openly acknowledges the benefits of varied exercise. There are endless reasons it’s important to vary your workout routine; here are a few of the top ones.

Break a plateau

All too often, fitness enthusiasts find themselves plateauing. Whether it’s at a specific weight even though they just want to drop a few more pounds or it’s a PR you want to beat, but can’t seem to get the results you used to, plateauing frequently occurs for those who regularly workout. Changing up your exercise routine allows you to break through any plateaus preventing you from reaching your fitness goals.

Stimulate different muscles

If you do the same routine over and over, you never work different muscle groups. You run the risk of over-developing specific muscles and not paying enough attention to others. Diversifying your workout routine helps build all your muscle groups instead of a select few. You’ll avoid bulking up one area of your body too much and you’ll be evenly toned throughout your entire physique.

Avoid boredom

No matter how much you value fitness, doing the same exercises over and over again becomes tedious. Even changing the order in which you do certain routines can help prevent feeling bored with your workout regiment. Add something new into your routine on a regular basis and don’t feel bad switching a stale exercise for something more exciting.

Prevent injury

An incredibly important part of diversifying your workout routine is that it helps prevent injury. If you work the same muscles too much and avoid building up the rest of your body, you run the risk of injuring yourself. It’s vital to provide your body with time to heal after a particularly intense workout; if you ran ten miles one day, focus on your upper body the next. Give your leg muscles time to rest and repair themselves. As your muscles repair, you’ll become stronger and it’s more effective than constantly straining the same muscles.

Boost brainpower

Exercise has been shown to greatly increase brain health and function. Your brain benefits from any kind of exercise because it helps it stay flexible and prevents natural decay that often occurs with aging. A new exercise adds another aspect that benefits your brain; learning something new helps keep your brain healthy as well. Teaching yourself a new fitness routine gives your brain needed benefits from physical exercise as well as the mental exercise of learning new methods of working out.

How to Be Smart with Your Donations

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Every year it is estimated that roughly over $300 billion dollars are donated to various charities by citizens looking to make a difference within the United States. We are driven by a need to help others and it doesn’t take much to be convinced that a charity or cause needs our help. There are thousands of organizations to choose from when donating, but unfortunately, not all of them are legitimate. In today’s society, scams are harder than ever to see through, making it necessary to thoroughly research institutions before giving them money that could be better used elsewhere.

Legitimacy of a charity

Discovering a charity is nothing more than a convincingly disguised sham can sour contributors from making donations in the future. Sadly, the good-will of concerned citizens can lead to a fat payday for con artists and then ruin it for other, legitimate philanthropies.

Organizations should always be researched before making a donation. One thing to look for is their tax-exemption status. False charities will never be registered, so it’s a definite red flag if you can’t find a charity listed. Another way to discover if a philanthropy is real is to check it through the Give.org website. This is a reliable site run by the Better Business Bureau.

Administrative expenses

The Better Business Bureau states that a charity organization should be spending, at the very least, 65 percent of its donated profits on activities related to its cause. If you’d prefer a higher amount of money that goes to supporting the cause instead of administrative overhead, investigate other charities. If you can’t find information on how a charity’s money is allocated, consider finding another, more transparent, organization. There are many philanthropies in existence that put a higher percentage of donated funds towards their mission and are open about how their money is used.

Donating efficiently

What many people don’t realize is that donating to multiple organizations is a far less efficient use of their money than donating to just a select few. Most contributors do not realize that charities have handling and processing costs. This could potentially lead to only a small portion of donated funds making it to the organization’s cause.

Contributions should always be made in person. Never give money or personal information to a phone solicitor. Con artists assume names that are very similar to an existing organization in order to trick potential donors or tell sad stories designed to evoke sympathy.

Alternate forms of donation

Donations do not always have to be made in the form of money. Giving food and material goods can be just as good as writing a check. Volunteering personal time to an organization (like a soup kitchen) is a guaranteed way to make a difference as well. Do not think simply because you lack money means you can’t make a difference and support a cause; there are lots of benefits to simply being involved.

7 Great Netflix Documentaries on Conservation

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Netflix is known for its great documentaries; no matter what topic you’re looking for, you can be sure to find at least one documentary on Netflix about it. Conservation is an important topic that more people should take time to educate themselves about. Luckily, there are plenty of documentaries on Netflix focused on the topic of conservation. If you have some free time and want to educate yourself on conservation, check out a few of these documentaries.

Chasing Ice

In this documentary, you get a look at the world’s glaciers over the timespan of a year. It helps provide a close-up view of issues around ice caps melting and how the ecosystems are responding to this major change. We’ve all heard about polar ice caps disappearing and what it means for the environment, but this documentary gives you a clear look at what this issue is and what it looks like.

Chasing Coral

Like the melting ice caps, many scientists and environmentalists are now also focusing on the rapid decrease of coral reefs. Thanks to overfishing and tourism, we’re quickly losing much of the beautiful coral reefs that allow thriving underwater ecosystems to flourish. Once these reefs die, there isn’t much we can do about it, so it’s important to raise awareness as quickly as possible.

Minimalism

A great documentary that offers a fresh look at this recent lifestyle craze, the two main presenters in this documentary provide an inside look at extreme versions of a minimalist lifestyle, but without pressure for you to live by their definition of it. They present the benefits of minimalism and talk about how it’s helped them, but also acknowledge that some people cannot practice it to the degree they do. They’re more concerned about helping people understand and consider a more minimalist approach to living than making others live the way they do.

Virunga

If you’re interested in what happens when war and conservation meet, this documentary is sure to pique your interest. Virunga follows a group of forest rangers in Africa who risk their lives to protect endangered gorillas at risk from war and deforestation. It gives you an inside look at an issue many people do not know much about.

Cowspiracy

A popular documentary on Netflix, Cowspiracy takes a look at the state of factory farming and how we could source our food, particularly meat, in a more responsible manner. This documentary can be a bit intense and it may make you not want to eat mass-produced meat after watching. Viewing this documentary helps you think more carefully about where your food comes from and how you can be a responsible consumer.

Blackfish

Blackfish can be viewed as the documentary that made Netflix documentaries popular. When it was released a few years ago, nearly everyone heard about it and many people watched it. Most of us have never seen a killer whale and know little about them; this documentary helps raise awareness of keeping large animals, like orcas, in captivity and what the consequences of that decision could be.

Planet Earth

A true classic, Planet Earth provides beautifully captured footage of ecosystems all around the world. While it’s more focused on educating you about the beauty of the planet instead of a clear conservation message, simply seeing the wonders of the world will make you want to work to preserve it.

Raising Conservation Awareness

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As people and businesses go about their daily activities, environmental conservation is often the last thing on their minds. People buy products with excess packaging, use water carelessly, and damage the habitats of wild animals by improperly disposing of trash. Reminding people and business owners that conservation is a vital activity can be challenging, but the benefits can spread to every living thing in the environment.

In today’s landscape, there are so many political and social causes that conservation awareness can be lost in the shuffle. People are jaded and feel like they can’t spare any more energy to care about the world. It’s important to promote environmental awareness in positive ways, rather than using scare tactics, which may only make some people care less about the environment. For example, local businesses can be encouraged to reduce waste and recycle by using a social media campaign.

Use social media

Social media can be a perfect way to raise awareness without lecturing. Internet users love to utilize hashtags. Encourage visitors to parks and forests to take photos and tag them with conservation-related phrases. In social media campaigns, people can also be challenged to do one more environmentally friendly thing a day and to post about it. For example, users may post about turning off the lights in a room when leaving, or about picking up trash around their homes. A small action each day is better than none.

Teach children

The most important way to raise awareness is by teaching our own children to take care of the environment. Children naturally look up to parents and authority figures and model their values after them. Parents should be aware of their own actions and make sure they are environmentally sound. For example, lecturing children about wasting water falls on deaf ears when the child sees a parent letting the water run while brushing their teeth.

Children can effect powerful change on their own. A child who learns about environmental conservation at school is likely to go home and share the information with his or her family. Led by the children, the whole family may use resources more wisely. When children in youth groups, for example, encourage a business to behave in a more environmentally friendly fashion, the business is more likely to pay attention as opposed to an adult activist’s message being brushed off or ignored. Children can encourage businesses to use packaging that is less wasteful or to use recycled materials.

Let’s Talk About Mountain Lions

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Mountain lions also go by various other names, such as cougar, puma, or catamount. You can find them throughout North and South America and they are the second-heaviest cat in the world. While mountain lions are very large, they are also closely related to domestic cats. However, do not let this family connection fool you; mountain lions can be deadly. While mountain lions are not as common in the United States as they once were, you may still run into one while out in the woods, so it’s important to know some basic facts about them and also how you can protect this vulnerable species.

Hunting traits

In the Americas, mountain lions are one of the top predators, placed next to the gray wolf and different types of bears. Due to their size and skills, cougars have few natural predators, often only competing with the other apex predators in the Americas. Currently, the biggest threat to mountain lions are humans, due to poaching and habitat fragmentation.

Cougars are mainly solitary predators who spend most of their time alone, ruling over wide territories. These big cats are very reclusive and rarely approach people. Mountain lion attacks are rare and often occur because humans have begun encroaching on their territories or interfered with a hunt. Mountain lions typically hunt deer, though they will also hunt smaller animals if necessary and the opportunity arises. They’re nocturnal and do most of their hunting during dusk or dawn, which is made possible by their fantastic hearing and sight. This big cat is mostly muscle, particularly their powerful back legs, which allow them to jump around 40 feet when pouncing.

Threatened status

While mountains lions are not considered seriously threatened, their population is steadily decreasing. In some areas of the Americas, they run the risk of having their populations completely wiped out by farmers or other humans who do not want the cats around their homes. It’s understandable that people are upset if they feel threatened or have their animals hunted by cougars, but it’s also important to remember that we’re in their territory and to take steps to avoid conflict. In some states, hunting cougars is legal, but must also be carefully regulated. Recently, it’s been shown that these animals are moving further east in the United States as they search for new territory. It’s important to respect their space, but also take steps to keep yourself safe in order to peacefully coexist with them.

What you can do
One of the best steps you can take to protect mountain lions is educating yourself. Know where their habitats are and what signs to look out for that would indicate a mountain lion is nearby. Avoiding these animals as much as you can keeps them (and you) safe. You can also donate to and volunteer at wildlife refuges that protect cougars. If you encounter a cougar in the wild, back away as slowly as possible, make yourself look large, and make a lot of noise to intimidate them.