Sunday, June 30, 2013

Easing into Nassau

So if you just graduated from high school, you're probably looking forward to days at the beach, parties, concerts, ball games, nights out with friends--all the joys of July and August.

And why not?  There are few bettter times (for most people) than the summer between high school and college.  Take advantage of these carefree moments; they won't last forever.

But now and then over the next two months, also spend some time finding out about Nassau.  Browse the pages of the "New Student Orientation" link in the lower right corner of the  Or read the FAQs in the "Starting Smart" publication you got when you registered for classes.  Both will provide valuable info about the College and probably answer some questions that you've been meaning to ask.

And if you really want to get a feel for NCC before September arrives, spend a Wednesday morning at our summer workshops.  From July 10 to August 14 (six Wednesdays in all), we'll be covering all sorts of topics you should know about--everything from quick tips on academics and the A-Z of financial aid to NCC's hidden gems (internships, scholarships, help centers, and campus life) and the role of our Career and Job Placement services in helping you find your "dream" career. 

You'll find a complete schedule of workshops (and descriptions) under "Summer Orientation Workshops" on the NCC homepage.  Workshops run from 10 a.m.-12:50 p.m. each Wednesday.  They're free.  No RSVP is necessary.  All you have to do is show up in the College Center, Rm. 251, and have a seat.

Of course, you'll find out even more about NCC at the New Student Orientation program in late August (check back for more details about Orientation).  But that's still a few months away.  Between now and then, take advantage of our online resources and summer workshops to "ease" your way into college.  You'll learn some cool stuff about Nassau--and still have time to have the summer of your life.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weathering Storms

Anyone who's been to a lot of college graduations knows that commencement addresses--speeches and letters--often have a certain sameness: same sentiments, same advice, same good wishes, same farewells, same everything.

But now and then graduation addresses depart from the usual script.  Often that departure is the result of events that have made the moment different from other occasions when schools say goodbye to their graduates.

That was the case at last month's graduation ceremony at Nassau.  As I waited in the Nassau Coliseum for the ceremony to begin, I read Acting President Kenneth Saunders's letter to the Class of 2013.  The letter was printed in the Commencement publication along with the names of the graduates,  scholarship winners, and others who were present at the ceremony.

Dr. Saunders's letter opened with an acknowledgement of the graduates' hard work and persistence and with the observation that graduations are traditionally days of celebration.  But his letter soon took a different turn, noting the difficultites of the past year and the impact of Hurricane Sandy on so many lives.  Here, in part, is what he wrote:

"...'Superstorm Sandy.'  It is only a two word phrase, but it triggers sentences and paragraphs of memories filled with fear, pain, bewilderment and loss.  For many of you, the question was 'how am I going to get to class?''  For others, it was 'how am I going to prepare for a test or do an assignment now that my class notes have, literally, floated away?'  And for some, the question was even more basic: 'how can I even concentrate on school, when so much of what had made things normal in my life is now just gone?'

"The answers to these questions came slowly, sometimes agonizingly slowly.  And, if we are to be honest with ourselves, we might well have been willing to forego the positive lessons learned out of this experience in exchange for never having heard the phrase 'Superstorm Sandy' in the first place.  After all, if the choice is between finding a silver lining in a cloud or not having to deal with that cloud at all, the human reaction is to look for a clear sky.

"But the reality is that the playbook that you will have to deal with tomorrow and the next day...and weeks...and years...will be filled with challenges, which, although maybe not as dramatic as Superstorm Sandy, will be as real.  Yet, you should be full of confidence that you are ready for those challenges.  In your hands are the tools that your education at NCC has given you to comprehend problems and to craft solutions.  In your minds is the steadfastness to hold on tightly to the goals that you have set for yourselves.  In your hearts are the good feelings of all of those whom you have met while at the College that will help you to sustain your spirit in the years to come.  Finally, in your pockets--securely in your pockets--is your degree from NCC.  Carry it with pride as you carry it into your future."  

Though written for NCC's graduating class, Dr. Saunders' sentiments could have just as easily been intended for students who'll be entering NCC this fall or in the years ahead.  Life is, after all, pretty unpredictable, and almost everyone experiences a Superstorm Sandy--or something equally traumatic--along the way.  

Rough as these moments may be, they are also important learning experiences.  They teach us how to be resourceful, how to cope with loss and uncertainty, how to look out for each other, and how to pick up and go forward. 

Your education at NCC will also help you master these challenges.  At its best, it will teach you to think clearly, recognize problems, and find answers.  It will also give you the chance to be part of a community of like-minded people, all at times in the same lifeboat.

If you're starting Nassau this fall, keep Dr. Saunders's words in mind.  Education does many good things, not the least of which is to stretch us as people and to help us recognize our collective humanity.

No more superstorms?  Let's hope.  But just the same, use your education to prepare for upheaval, no matter what form it takes.          

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Does College Pay Off? No Doubt About It

You know that stuff you've been hearing about college not being worth the investment?  Well, Catherine Rampell, who writes a Economics blog for the New York Times, says don't believe it.

In a recent post in (see link below), Rampell writes that the unemployment rate for college graduates this past April was 3.9 percent, compared to 7.5 percent for everybody else.  She also notes that despite the long and terrible recession that has impacted practically everyone, more college graduates are employed today than when the recession started. 

Some more numbers: College grads have outpaced high school grads (with no further education) in the employment department by roughly eighteen percent (college grads up 9 percent, high school grads down 9 percent), according to Rampell. The gap is even greater, not surprisingly, between college grads and high school dropouts.  Since the recession, high school dropouts have seen employment levels fall by more than 14 percent.

"In other words," Rampell writes, "college-educated workers have gobbled up all of the net job gains.  In fact, there are more employed college graduates than there are employed high school graduates and high school dropouts put together."   

Of course, there are lots of other very good reasons to attend college--and GRADUATE--besides increased job prospects.  Research suggests that college grads enjoy better health and live longer than those whose education ended with high school.  People with college degrees also report having more satisfying relationships and a happier outlook on life.

And who can quarrel with knwledge, after all?  Learning enriches everyone's life.

But for students eager to make a good start in the job market, the more immediate payoff may be better job prospects and a bigger paycheck.  A degree puts you in the game. 

So ignore the naysayers--those who'd talk trash about college.  There's no sounder investment than in the quality of your mind, your health, and your worklife.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Goodbye, Hello

June is a month of goodbyes for high school seniors.  Goodbye to friends and classmates; goodbye to teachers, counselors, and coaches; goodbye to a world that, for better or worse, seems to have been with you forever.

It's also goodbye to the limitations of high school: structured days, few academic choices, restrictions on personal freedom, and rules and regulations for just about everything. 

College is different.  College puts you more in charge of your education.  Here, you'll be the one making the majority of decisions.  It will be you who decides what to study, what courses to take, and even when to schedule your classes. 

And just so you know: You'll also be the one responsible for going to class, completing assignments, keeping up, and getting help if you need it.    

Your professors (and others) will support and encourage you in college, but no one will nag.  No one will send notes home if you don't go to class or pass your exams.  That's because you're now the adult.  Your education is YOUR business--no one else's.

Expect other differences too.  Get ready to stretch--socially and intellectually--in the years ahead.  Get ready to be inspired, surprised, and sometimes outraged by ideas you'll read and hear in your classes.  Get ready to meet people unlike any you've known before.  Get ready to ask questions--of yourself and others.
Graduation's almost here!  Say goodbye to high school and hello to college. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Good Deal All Around

Coming to Nassau this fall?  Congratulations!  You may not realize it, but you've made a really smart decision. 

How smart?  Let's see:

1.  Low tuition.  No matter how you slice it, Nassau is a bargain in the dollars and cents department.  Where else can you go to college for roughly $4000 a year?  Where else can you complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree for maybe $8000?  What's more, if you do well in your classes at NCC and pay attention to scholarship announcements (and Nassau awards plenty of scholarship money), you can "earn" back some of that tuition you've paid before you even graduate. 

2.  Convenient Classes.  Like starting your day early?  Enjoy taking classes at 8 a.m. (maybe even earlier)?   Or would you rather go to school later in the morning or maybe in the afternoon or evening? Either way, it's your call at NCC.  Classes here start at practically all hours--as early as 6:30 a.m., as late as 9:25 p.m.  There are even classes on Saturdays and Sundays for people who are busy Monday through Friday. 

3.  Small Classes.  You know those stories you've heard about classes with hundreds of students crammed into huge lecture halls?  You won't find classes anywhere near that large at Nassau.  In fact, your largest class may be no more than 35 students--with enrollments in most classes in the neighborhood of 20 or 25.  NCC may enroll a lot of students overall, but you won't see big numbers in your classes. 

4.  Lots of Academic Choices.  Still trying to figure out your career path?  Nassau offers more than fifty different curriculum options, including some you've probably never thought about.  Many serve as the first two years of a bachelor's degree, while others prepare you to start a career right after graduation. Plenty of opportunities here to find your direction.  

5.  Terrific services.  At some colleges, students are on their own when it comes to getting their questions answered, finding extra help in their classes, checking out careers, or untangling personal concerns.  Not so at NCC.  There's a whole menu of campus services available, some academic, some personal--all free.  All you have to do is ask for help.   

6.  Plenty of "extras."  A ton of student clubs, a popular intramurals program, competitive sports teams, ski trips, concerts, parties, karaoke-fests, films, great campus theatre, lectures by well-known figures (including celebs), an art gallery featuring student work--the list of great out-of-class activities at NCC goes on and on.  And most are free.  Just show up at the right time and place and take it all in.

A good deal all around?  That's Nassau--a college where you can get a solid education, find a career path, get the support you need, and have the time of your life in the process.