July 07, 2009

Packing a Lunch

Several of the people where I volunteer go pick up something for lunch.  They will either get in their cars and drive to a restaurant or walk to one close to our office.  I joined them a couple of times, but after a while, I realized that it would be so much less expensive to pack my own lunch.  Sure I have to go to the grocery store more often, but a less than $5 lunch beats their $10 lunch any day.  Sure many places advertise lunch specials for under $15, some even advertise for less than $10, but that is not including tip (if applicable) and many times does not include a drink.  Also, the food I make for lunch is much healthier than what I could get while eating out.  So I am doing myself two favors by packing my own lunch—looking out for my health and my pocketbook. 

July 06, 2009

VCR or DVR

My dad is a pretty slow adaptor when it comes to technology, but when I sat down with my family to see if they would donate some things from our house to my cause of setting up a new place to live, dad quickly volunteered the family TV.  I gladly accepted, playing into his plan.  He wanted a new flat screen TV, and he even got a DVR.  It was so cool to be able to record shows I like and what whenever I want, but I am afraid I have gotten used to it.  When classes start, I know I will, as in undergrad, have only a little time to watch TV, so I might want to record my favorite shows.  It costs a bit more to get these features, so for now I am going with the free VCR I already have.  Maybe I will get a DVR in the future, but for now old technology will be fine.

Donations in Memory

Recently someone affiliated with my college passed away.  He worked with students throughout his career as an administrator, and even into his retirement he continued to mentor and inspire students, which is when I met him.  When the students were notified of his death, the family asked that instead of sending flowers, we make donations in his honor to the school.  I have heard of families doing this before, and I really like the idea.  Flowers will wilt after a few days and while they are pretty to look at, even a small donation in honor of a great man will do good for a long time.  I plan on sending in a donation tomorrow, and along with the donations of many others whose lives he impacted, I am sure we can continue to make a difference, honoring his memory and his service to our school.

July 03, 2009

Volunteering

As I think I mentioned before, I am spending part of my summer volunteering at an organization I support.  I thought it would be a great way to have hours as flexible as I want them, yet maintain some structure in my summer schedule, and do a good deed while I am at it.  The one thing I did not consider is that I am volunteering more than just my time.  It takes about 20 minutes for me to drive to the office, depending on traffic, but coming to and from uses up gas I have to pay for.  I don’t know why, but I did not even think about this aspect of my volunteering job.  I wish there were some way to have my gas paid for, but then it would not be volunteering I guess.  At least I can see I am helping and feel appreciated for the work I do.  Knowing I am doing something to help makes it worth it.

July 01, 2009

New Computer

I am currently researching what type of computer I should get for law school.  On the law school’s Web site, it lists the things I should look for when buying one, and even tells me that I need to get a laptop.  Though desktops are less expensive, I can understand why they require us to have laptops.  I am sure it is so we can do research in the library without overcrowding the computer labs during exam prep time, or maybe we will need them in class.  When I sat in on a couple of law classes, everyone took notes on the computer, so maybe I should try it too.  This just adds even more to the initial expenses of law school.  I want a good computer, but it seems the better it is, the price goes up by leaps and bounds.  I am sure I will find a happy medium, but it just takes a lot of searching.

June 29, 2009

Internet Access

Thus far in my life Internet access has been free for me.  We did not have it until I was in high school, and for those four years, my parents paid for it.  In college I lived on campus for all four years, so access was provided by my college.  As I am getting ready to start law school, I will have to pay for my own Internet access if I want to have it in my house.  I have explored the options of just using it while I am on campus and going to libraries and coffee shops when I want to access it when the buildings are closed, but I decided against that because I could not sit in my pajamas and do research if I wanted to.  The next decision came when I had to decide who my Internet Service Provider would be.  I decided to go with the local cable company because I would never use a land line phone, so it was silly to get one just to be able to access the Internet.  I signed up for the most basic cable out there (I think I have about 12 channels) and get Internet on top of that.  One hidden cost I did not think about right away was wireless Internet.  I wanted wireless access all over my new place so I had to buy a router, adding to the cost of my Internet access.  Despite the cost, I think I will enjoy having the ability to lounge around in casual wear and still get some work done.

June 24, 2009

Out of Town

When I went out of town last week, I of course brought my credit card.  While visiting friends and family, we planned to do a bit of shopping because I was looking for something to wear for a meeting I have coming up.  After going from shop to shop, I picked up a few souvenirs along the way with no problem.  The trouble arose when I went to buy the outfit I selected.  I got a pair of summer pants and a blouse, but when the store clerk rang it up and I swiped my credit card, a message appeared on the screen telling me to call my credit card company.  I knew I had not reached my limit so I called to see what was wrong.  After going through a few security blocks, I spoke with a woman who wanted to confirm my identity.  She asked me some random questions about my spending habits that supposedly only I would know the answer to.  When I answered them sufficiently she freed up my account.  I suppose that since I was spending money in a town I had never been to before, it looked suspicious, so she wanted to put a hold on my account so she could make sure it was really me.  While it was a hassle and a bit of an embarrassment, I am glad my credit card company does it so I can feel a little safer just in case my number is stolen. 

June 22, 2009

Movies at the Library

I read recently that because of the economy, many people are shredding their cards.  While it is predictable to think they are shredding credit cards, I did not know that many people are also shredding movie rental cards, for example, to deter them from that unnecessary spending.  After reading the article, it got me thinking about something I had not done in years—go to the library to check out a movie.  While I must confess, I also read that the local library is a great solution for those still wanting to rent movies, it got me thinking again about what a resource it is in a tough economy.  Not only do they have entertaining books and books on CD and tape for long car rides but they even have movies for a lazy Friday night at home with friends or family.  So I headed to my local library, got them to take the child hold off my account (apparently since I got the account when I was little, they put a limit on what I could check out like R movies) and got three movies, all at no charge because it is the library.  While those were the only ones I saw there, there are other libraries in the community I could visit and maybe find there are lots of movies out there without having to pay to rent them.

June 19, 2009

Summer Hours

Even though I am taking summer courses, I am entitled to the same education that other students receive during regular school months. I am definitely paying the same rates for tuition, fees, and books. My mine grievance is with the library hours.Like many other students, I study better in the structured environment of a library. The library on campus has reduced hours of operations during the summer. Honestly, it might be due to the economy and budget cuts towards universities. Either way, the library lights are not on as long as I would like them to be at night. I have written a letter to the Student Government Council (SGA) about this terrible grievance. In theory, they are the voice of the student population and should be able to influence school policy. I hope the SGA is not on summer hours as well. If my needs cannot be met, I will be forced to adapt. I have faith in finding new locations of academic endeavor but will surely miss my nightly escape to my second home, the library.

June 17, 2009

High School Camp

As hard as it is to remember back four years ago, I still can. I was in high school and eager to graduate. Living in a bubble and not realizing it. Enjoying sports and studying “hard” courses. Very few responsibilities. I related heavily to the fish that was swimming in water and didn’t know any different. I did not know much about the world and only a small amount about the exterior community. Then I had the opportunity to participate in summer camps for government, leadership, sports, and academics.

Most of these camps were on college campuses, and man I felt like the big kid on campus. I immensely enjoyed each camp for their offerings of knowledge. I particularly enjoyed meeting new people and hearing their story. All the stories of upbringing were vastly different from each other and I absorbed every ounce of each. Now, I walk across campus and see the small, young, underdeveloped, and enthusiastic high school students attending various summer programs.  I am glad they can experience similar growth on my campus. They are also feeding money into my school too. Plus, the university is gaining great publicity for prospective students. At times, I feel the university is catering more to this prospective student than me, the current student. This leads into my next post.

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