Greatness Needs Guidance

It’s imperative for every student to see the greatness that lies within. A student can come in to our college and career center and say, “I want to go to school, but I’m not sure for what” or “I want to join the army because I’m not sure what I want to do after high school.” The lack of motivation is easy to see, so bringing out what each student is passionate about is a must.

Once they realize what they want in life, they create plans for themselves that bring much more reward to them. What started as an unsure plan can easily turn into, “I want to get a bachelor’s in engineering, join the army, go back to school to become a certified welder and open up my own welding company.” The possibilities and paths are endless as long as they recognize their capabilities.

No matter what obstacle is being faced or what opportunity has opened up, the road to success is daunting. Once a student has completed a degree course, certification or training and chosen an established career, they have a better understanding of how great they can be. But during a student’s years in middle school and high school, his or her personal view of greatness is blurred. During that crucial time period, we are present to ensure that every student is able to find the greatness within him or herself and navigate the path that will help them figure out how to leverage their inner passions, knowledge and skills to create a great future for themselves.

Is College Worth It?

You begin school from the age of five and continue to at least the age of 17. During those years, you are exposed to careers that require higher education and specialized schooling. When you finally get to your last years in high school, you begin to question whether or not you will be attending a college or university. There’s one question that many students might analyze: is college worth it?

A common reason for one to graduate college is to get a good paying job. Although studies have found that on average college graduates earn $1 million more in their lifetime than high school graduates, not everyone likes to focus on income. If you’re one of those people, here are some additional reasons why college is worth it:

  1. More opportunities: After receiving a degree in specified major, you have now opened more opportunities. Anytime someone enters a new industry, it doesn’t always go as planned. It can lead to leaving that job and trying to find a new path to success. With a college degree, you have something to fall-back on instead of starting from scratch.
  2. Family Assistance: Even though money isn’t the primary focus, it can offer an opportunity to help loved ones. Because you can earn more money with a college degree, you’re able to support family with any financial struggles.
  3. Pave The Path: If you’re a first generation college graduate, you have a chance to be a role model. Whether you have younger siblings, cousins or friends, being a college graduate goes a long way in the eyes of others and inspires them to follow your footsteps.
  4. Cultural exposure: Colleges and Universities bring in students from various backgrounds. Instead of learning about people with different beliefs or practices in an article or book, you get a first hand experience by interacting with these people on a daily basis. This allows you to have a better understanding of the cultures that surround us.
  5. Networking: Not only does a college degree open more doors for you when it comes to applying for a job, but the people you meet can offer new opportunities as well. It can make the job search easier and it can also offer opportunities you weren’t even considering.
  6. Expanding your limits: College is not easy. The work piles up and is extremely time consuming. Juggling school, work and your social life becomes exhausting. While you’re doing that, you learn to manage your time, finances and work in a much more efficient manner.

It is true; a college degree can allow you to earn more money in your lifetime. But if you aren’t worried about making an endless amount of money, there is much more to higher education. Your opportunities increase allowing you to have more options. Your chances of helping your family as well as beginning the road to higher education increase. Your interpersonal skills improve which allows you to interact with people in a much more positive, respectful manner. You will meet people that can help you achieve and exceed your goals. You will learn life lessons that can help you deal with situations in an effective manner. These reasons as well as many more are great examples as to why college is worth it.

Why every student should have an Internship. Author: Marcia Page

You’ve landed a job in your dream profession and you are getting experience to build your resume. Your manager and your colleagues want to share their knowledge with you and give you insights on how to be a big success in your career. On top of these great benefits, you may also get paid for your work. Sounds good, right? This overview may be a little idealized, but seriously, here are a few concrete reasons why an internship is good experience.
1. Gives you real world experience in a profession that interests you. It’s one thing to read about a career in your area of interest, it’s completely different to get hands on experience and to test-drive your career. In an internship you have the opportunity to understand the day-to-day requirements of the job including the types of knowledge and education you need to excel and what activities are key parts of the job.

2. Provides great information about your career interests and a strong foundation for your resume. Not only do you get the experience, you can also capture and quantify your key accomplishments and get a good sense of the jargon used in the industry. Your experience makes for great resume content and can help set you apart from others in your full-time job search.

3. Offers fertile ground for networking. It’s great to have personal contacts and relationships with people that are in the profession you hope to pursue. These people can be great references for you and they can provide invaluable insights about the challenges and rewards of your career area. By the way, it is not uncommon for companies that employ interns to also extend full-time work offers to the interns once the internships are completed.

4. Gives you the opportunity to develop new skills. So much of what you need to do a job well are skills that are learned on the job. Whether you excelled in school or where an average performer, an internship gives you a new opportunity to build on the foundation you already have. Seize the opportunity to learn, you may find your internship more engaging that school.

5. Helps you hone your time management skills. Just as there have been deadlines associated with your school work, there will be deadlines, rules and guidelines for doing your work. It is also not uncommon for you to need to multi-task to get all your work completed. Plus, it will be important to get to work on time and use your breaktimes and lunchtimes wisely. The internship gives you a chance to hone your skills for prioritizing your work and meeting deadlines.

6. Your accomplishments at work and feedback from your colleagues can help build your confidence. Your internship will give you a chance to showcase your interpersonal, professional and social skills. You may also discover that you have some hidden skills that you were unaware of that are greatly appreciated by your co-workers…enjoy the personal discovery and the positive feedback.

7. An internship helps you determine if this is the right career path for you. Your internship will give you new insights and experiences. Hopefully, you learn that the career path you have dreamed about is right for you. But, even if you learn that the career is not as fulfilling as you dreamed or simply not right for you, be glad for the experience. Either way, you will be wiser and have even more information to use in selecting a rewarding career.

Diversity…Kids Need it Too! Author: Marcia Page

Have you ever looked around the room at a group of your friends and noticed that you all have a lot in common? I am not referring to how you look, though you and your friends may resemble, in this instance I am talking about the similarities in the way you see the world, the values you share, your backgrounds and shared experiences. According to research, this is not by coincidence; we are hard-wired to desire like-minded companions. In fact, the research goes on to say that “similarity is very useful, and people are attracted to it most of the time”. If we think about it, this is not really a surprise. We tend to be more comfortable, more trusting, and have more in common with those just like us.

The problem with this sort of thinking and conformity is that every time we limit our exposure, we lose the opportunity to stretch and grow. Whether you have the chance to meet someone from another ethnic group, someone far richer or poorer than you are, do it. The upside potential is huge. Embrace the idea; talking with others exposes us to differing points of view and cultural nuances.

Question the hypothesis about the value of diversity if you will, but having a broader sense of the world around, seeing the same problems from several points of view, understanding how other cultures and different economic strata process information and make decisions, is enriching. On the surface, my comments here may strike you as social commentary or an updated line from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. In part, you would be correct. Adding a little diversity to your life would probably improve your social life or at least infuse a little excitement (smiles). However, the real reason for advocating for diversity is directly related to helping our students prepare for success in a global economy.

In truth, diversity is all around; it is the norm. Those in the workforce now know that diversity is everywhere and those able to collaborate across racial, cultural and socioeconomic boundaries will be poised to lead America to our next, best years.

Big Dollars Count, Small Dollars Matter!

Ever wonder why talented students with great financial aid packages don’t finish college? Income inequality is likely a factor. Frequently costs, not just the cost of tuition, but the finances required for books, materials, transportation to and from school and housing are a big factor.

According to Morgan State University’s administrator over student retention efforts, Tiffany Mfume, many students who stopped their college degree program were very close to meeting their financial obligations. In fact, in Mfume’s research, 10 percent of students that put their academic careers on hold until they were able to pay owed less than $1,000. Though income and earnings have stalled for many, the cost of education has continued to escalate. If a $1,000 debt could end a college career for one in ten at Morgan State University, imagine what a financial obligation of much larger sums would do to many others.

A few progressive schools have created programs specifically to address this issue. They identify highly qualified low and middle-income students, using fundraising contributions and other sources of financial aid the goal is to close the financial gap and assure that students begin their college educations and end with a degree in hand. In fact, at Morgan State, a $5 million campaign was launched and the college’s president put his own money were his heart was and pledged $100,000 toward the effort. Bravo to all the visionary schools and administrators who have taken action to remedy this issue at least short term, but let us not forget, wholesale reform is needed to remedy the income inequality issue as it relates to education.

Poised for action and always ready to jump in with a helping hand, Education is Freedom (EIF) is not waiting around for the entire US economic system rewrite to repair the income inequality dilemma. Instead we are taking action to do what we can, while we can and we want you to join us for the inaugural fundraiser aimed at providing 100 scholarships to Dallas’ best and brightest students from 10 Dallas ISD schools. The program entitled, An Evening with the Stars, 2016 Inaugural Scholarship Event will directly support EIF graduating seniors with a personalized scholarship that will cover college costs that are not traditionally covered by financial aid. Join EIF and Highland Capital, the title sponsor, Saturday, May 21st, 5-7pm at the Dallas Zoo to participate. Not able to attend? There are many ways to assist, click here for more information on how you can contribute; no gift is too small to help.

In closing, no one is more aware of the monumental task before the country in finding a remedy to income inequality and its impact on the educational achievement gap than we are. We applaud Morgan State University and other progressive schools that have developed programs to address this pressing issue. But, we also know that to support our vision for the children of Dallas ISD and to live our mission to create well-educated, career ready young adults, we must act now.  The need is great, the time is now, can we count on your support ?