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Dressed for success, or for a nap?

September 5, 2010

Last week, classes began here at the university and schools nationwide should all be opening their doors this coming week (if they haven’t already). My mother also works at a university, and this weekend we were sharing our thoughts on the college student dress code we’ve noticed over the last few years.

I am floored at the number of students who deem it acceptable to attend class in their pajamas. From flannel pants to bootie shorts, torn T-shirts to spaghetti strap tanks, these young adults appear to be rolling out of their beds and into their classrooms.

This attire has always concerned me. I never went to class in pjs, and rarely left my dorm if I wasn’t showered. Sadly, I was in the minority. Everyday I saw people drag themselves to their desks (regardless of the class time or day) in various states of sleep and stank. Now working at the college, I am often disgusted by what I see (and smell) from some students.

Perhaps the students feel that by paying (or having their parents/guardians pay) for an education, they are entitled to dress however they please. Maybe they think that what they wear is irrelevant to the academic process.

These are not the only possible scenarios, but I would really love to know what makes students think that they should walk into class in their jammies.

I’ve always thought how a person dresses can be viewed as an extension of who they are as a person. By exhibiting a touch of your personality, your clothing can indicate to potential employers how seriously you take yourself and your work ethic while also giving a small insight into your character. Of course, this doesn’t tell everything about someone. I would be disheartened to hear someone founded their opinion of me only on how I dress. However, I am realistic enough to know how vain we all are and to accept that we all judge one another to some extent based on what we see.

At an academic institution, you never know who is visiting. You may pass the CEO of the company you hope to intern with as you cross the quad. The person beside you at the library could be the human resources representative for your dream job. A guest lecturer in your class might be looking for people to sign on for their new start-up. Your big break could be waiting for you at any moment.

Just as people should be aware that the material they post online might be viewed by potential employers (so no drunken party photos or obscene gestures, please), they must also realize that they are walking billboards for their future.

I’m not saying college students should always dress in suits, ties and skirts. Trust me, I don’t dress like a business professional either at work or on days off. But maybe people should consider their level of embarrassment if they were introduced to a very important person while wearing their favorite duck pajama pants.

If not out of respect for your education or your educators, take some time to wear decent clothes out of respect for yourself. Don’t misrepresent yourself and possibly miss out on a great opportunity simply because you were too tired to find your pants.

And take a shower, too. That one’s for the benefit of us all.

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Angry and disgusted

July 20, 2010

Every so often, I read a story about someone that really makes me question humanity as a whole. Yesterday, one such story angered me so much that I need to share it.

While poking around AOL News, I found a story on a special-education teacher in Pennsylvania who claimed to have brain cancer. She missed plenty of work, saying she had to undergo chemotherapy treatments. Folks around her were extremely supportive and generous towards what they thought was an ill coworker. When more than a decade of this passed and the teacher had yet to exhibit symptoms, an investigation uncovered a trail of lies.

Friends, family, and loyal readers know of my deep connection to this disease. I find it difficult to fully express my disdain for this woman as she used such a horrific illness as a cover for her deceit. I would love to visit her jail cell and explain to her the deeper severity of what she’s done. Did her family watch her suffer through surgeries, treatments and their side effects? Did she have to endure the pain, anguish and frustration that real cancer patients deal with daily?

What kind of person wakes up one morning and decides to feign a devastating sickness for their own personal gain? She played on people’s sympathies and emotions, receiving acts of kindness and generosity that should have benefitted someone who actually needed them. What’s perhaps more disturbing is that she was a special-education teacher, in charge of children with varying situations that require patience, understanding and compassion. My heart goes out to the children in her classes, as they were under the care of a mentally sick individual with no regard for others.

Jail time would not be enough for this woman. She should have to work without pay in cancer treatment centers, witnessing the struggles and the extreme courage of the people who are really fighting this disease. Maybe then she could begin to understand what a terrible person she is for making those claims.

Have you heard about this woman? Are you aware of other people who have made similar claims? How do you feel after reading something like this?

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More than one Number 1??

June 30, 2010

In a NYTimes article the other day, the reporter covered a recent trend in education nationwide. Some high schools have decided that selecting one student as valedictorian is unfair to the other A-plus students. Instead, they support multiple or group valedictorians to spread around the honor.

Before I get into this discussion, I must confess a personal bias. In 2002, I had the extreme honor of being my high school‘s valedictorian. There was definitely drama associated with this accomplishment, but when the smoke cleared I was one of three student speakers at our graduation – valedictorian, salutatorian and pro deo et schola (a student chosen as much for their academic excellence as for their overall character).

My school was small, as was my graduating class (approximately 85 students), but that did not lessen the pride I felt as I spoke to my classmates, our families and all members of our high school community. Throughout my academic career, I worked very hard for my grades. I studied for hours and spent long nights writing papers to get me to that point. The acknowledgement of my years of hard work is something I will carry with me wherever I go. It continued to push me in my schoolwork during college, and is still a driving force in my graduate work and in all aspects of my life.

The trend towards multiple valedictorians is near to my heart, and I see value to both sides of this argument.

By honoring just one of the many hard-working, deserving students, the others might feel a sense of disappointment at a lack of acknowledgement. They may feel slighted and angry, possibly even distraught. Scholarly success should be praised regardless of class rank. Why should fractions of a grade point place one person on a pedestal while countless more are left out of the spotlight?

On the other hand, we are a competitive society. We teach our children to pursue athletics and to be the best at their sport. There’s only one winning team in a baseball game, only one winner in a track event. There are debate clubs, chess clubs, scholarship competitions and other academic challenges in which there are clearly defined winners. Students are taught to seek excellence in every aspect of their lives. Why shouldn’t we publicly honor someone who meets that academic challenge throughout their high school career?

It’s a tough debate, one in which I hope you will participate. Do you think it’s unfair to single out one valedictorian rather than celebrating all of the above average students? Or should the highest overall G.P.A. win out?

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Guest spot on another blog

June 30, 2010

This week, I was asked by my good friend Jamie to contribute to his technology blog. The request came after I had a strong reaction to one of Google’s latest innovations – Google Voice.

Please check out my post, “Let your ‘Voice’ be heard,” and let me know what you think!

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Creating Your Own T-shirt Bag

June 25, 2010

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This entry was originally posted on my graduate school blog, but I thought you might like to read it as well. Enjoy!

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I love creating things with my hands. There is something so fulfilling about conceiving an idea, putting your fingers to work and coming out with a creation uniquely yours. Recently, I got an idea for a project that reclaims a T-shirt to make an awesome bag.

While at a fantastic outdoor flea market last weekend, my husband found a super cool Beatles shirt for $5. It was too small for me to wear, but I was inspired to take its already fun and funky design and use it to create an equally fantastic bag.

 

Step 1 - Find a shirt to make into a bag.

Step 1 - Find a shirt to make into a bag.

 

Cut the sleeves and collar off the shirt, leaving what would become the main body of the bag.

 

Step 2 - Cut sleeves and collar off shirt.

Step 2 - Cut sleeves and collar off shirt.

 

If you’re using a long sleeve shirt like this one, separate the short sleeve cuffs from the longer, fake undershirt sleeves. These pieces will be important later on.

 

Step 3 - Separate Short cuffs from long sleeves.

Step 3 - Separate Short cuffs from long sleeves.

 

I purchased fabric that complimented the shirt to use for the bag’s lining. Try to get cotton that can be washed & dried – this will make your whole bag machine washable!

 

Step 4 - Find a fun lining fabric that goes with the shirt design.

Step 4 - Find a fun lining fabric that goes with the shirt design.

 

Using the body of the shirt created earlier, cut the same shapes in this new fabric. Align the lining with the shirt body, which should now be flipped inside out.

 

Step 5 - Cut lining to approximately the same size as the bag body.

Step 5 - Cut lining to approximately the same size as the bag body.

 

Pin the bottoms of all four pieces together to make sure they line up correctly.

 

Step 6 - Pin lining to bag to make sewing easier and more even.

Step 6 - Pin lining to bag to make sewing easier and more even.

 

Sew them all together to form the bottom of the bag.

 

Step 7 - Sew bottom of bag just below where you pinned.

Step 7 - Sew bottom of bag just below where you pinned.

 

Take the small cuffs you separated earlier. These will become pockets inside the bag. Trim the cuffs into pocket sizes. Sew one near the center of each side of the bag lining. I think it’s easier to do this when the lining is still loose rather than after the sides of the bag have been sewn.

 

Step 8 - Use the short sleeves to create inside pockets.

Step 8 - Use the short sleeves to create inside pockets.

 

Sew the sides of the bag. Trim excess fabric from sides if needed.

 

Step 9 - Sew the sides of the bag, trimming off excess fabric once done.

Step 9 - Sew the sides of the bag, trimming off excess fabric once done.

 

Grab the longer sleeves you set aside earlier. These will become the bag’s strap. **NOTE: If using a short sleeve shirt, you can create a strap out of the lining fabric.**

Sew the cuffs of the sleeves together securely.

 

Step 10 - Sew the two long sleeves together at the cuff to form a strap.

Step 10 - Sew the two long sleeves together at the cuff to form a strap.

 

Fold the cut edge of one side of the strap and pin inside the bag body. Repeat for other side.

 

Step 11 - Pin strap to lining fabric about a half inch from the top.

Step 11 - Pin strap to lining fabric about a half inch from the top.

 

Sew the straps into the bag, using a box design for added security.

 

Step 12 - Secure strap by sewing a box shape.

Step 12 - Secure strap by sewing a box shape.

 

Finish sewing the top of the bag. Flip back right side out and admire your handiwork. How does it look?

 

Step 13 - After sewing the remainder of the top, admire your completed bag!

Step 13 - After sewing the remainder of the top, admire your completed bag!

 

Was this tutorial helpful? If you create your own T-shirt bag, please let me know! I’d be happy to post photos of your designs.

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Yea, Chucks!

June 21, 2010

This post is purely for the sake of showing off my awesome new Chucks, courtesy of Jesse. How awesome are these?

My Purple Chucks

My Purple Chucks

My feet are so happy! Much happier than my insanely burnt shoulders, anyway. Note to all the uber pale folks out there – if you’re going to spend a few hours at an awesome outdoor flea market, make sure you wear a shirt with sleeves and/or use lots of sun block. Ouch!

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Prince of Darkness 101

June 16, 2010

Even though I’m not proud of this fact, I will admit it – I didn’t become a fan of Ozzy Osbourne until MTV put his family on the air. I knew who he was, but didn’t start getting into his tunes until I saw the show. I watched The Osbournes every week, and even purchased the show’s soundtrack album (which has some great tunes on it, so check it out before you judge me!).

Here’s a clip that always makes me laugh. Ozzy and Sharon are checking out the stage setup for his upcoming tour, and the he’s not altogether pleased with what he sees. The video quality is terrible and it has German subtitles, but it gets the point across. WARNING: there are multiple “f”-bombs, so adjust your volume accordingly.

Soon after the show debuted, I learned more about the Prince of Darkness. Like many rockers, he was not kind to his body. All kinds of drugs (and mammals) entered his system for decades, and he continued to struggle with medications during and following the TV show’s run. Incredibly, he is still around and rocking the house.

He’s a fascinating man… and apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Scientists are now planning to study Ozzy’s genetic makeup in an effort to understand how the human body is able to withstand intense abuse. I’d love to see the results when they’re finished.

While they’re at it, maybe these scientists should also put in requests to Keith Richards and Scott Weiland. They would be likely also be interesting case studies.

Do you have any other suggestions for whom these scientists should bust out a Petri dish?