Sasha Obama Missed Her Father's Farewell To Study For A Test
Classes |  Source: chicagotribune.com

Sasha Obama Missed Her Father's Farewell To Study For A Test

She's more class-disciplined than some college students.

Last night, 10 days before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, President Barack Obama delivered his farewell address to the nation. And while it was, not surprisingly, a popular social media topic, it may have been for another reason -- his youngest daughter, Sasha, was not present.

The Internet asked away. Did she not feel like it? Was she sick? A family fallout? Some weird, long, drawn out kidnapping scenario?
All of that turned out to be untrue, as White House officials stated that Sasha Obama did not attend her dad's address, which was in Chicago, because of school.
Let me say that again. Sasha Obama, the daughter of the incumbent president and first lady, missed the farewell speech because of SCHOOL.
For those unaware, Sasha attends a noteworthy, highly-selective school in the D.C. area -- Sidwell Friends. The school is in an exam period right now, and there is an exam scheduled for this morning. The examination policies state that students are not excused for travel -- and I guess that goes if you're a member of the first family as well.
Now, there's a couple of different ways one can react to this. On one hand, you can complain and be stunned, confused and befuddled how the U.S. president's daughter was forced to miss a big moment for her dad because of a dumb school policy.
Or, you can look at it like this is something her parents had no problem with, and might have even encouraged. First Lady Michelle Obama has already stated how big of an issue education is for her, because its something she felt that empowered her.
So, since Sasha Obama couldn't get out of her test for her dad's farewell speech to the U.S., what's your next excuse going to be for your next big exam, or a project you don't want to do?
The answer: None. Sasha Obama's dedication and sacrifice to her education, going to this point, has invalidated any excuses any college student (or any student for that matter) has for not attending and caring about classes.
And you know your professors are paying attention to this as well...
It shows just how important education has been as a topic to the Obamas. As stated before, we know they have pushed the importance of education, and they're not wrong. Education is such an empowering, yet necessary tool. It allows us to learn, to understand, to grow as human beings. When you pay all this money for a private high school, or the college or university of your choice, you're investing into your future -- you want to have the best life after school possible, don't you?
There are still some valid excuses to missing classes and tests, but if you've ever chosen to not study out of pure laziness or not caring for a class you're putting money into, I hope Sasha Obama makes you feel bad now.
On a side note, I don't blame the young Obama for wanting to study more. It's a science exam, and I hate science; I was never really good at it. As a journalism grad student, I am so happy I will never have to take another science class again.
Anyways, hopefully Sasha Obama does well on her test, and hopefully the first family has shown you the value and importance of an education. So stop making excuses and hit the books!

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Classes | 

Mic Drop in English Class With These Five Words

Canned tuna is just an allegory for our S&M relationship with Corporate America.

1. An allegory is basically an extended metaphor. It can be in the form of a story, poem, or image and can be interpreted to reveal some sort of hidden meaning, often moral or political. The Allegory of the Cave in Plato's Republic is a classic example.
2. Bildungsroman is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (known as the classic "coming-of-age" tale). The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Catcher in the Rye both fall into this category. This word I pass on as a sort of legacy: I was told by my high school English teacher that it's a word I should know for college, and he was right.
3. Deus ex machina, though technically more than one word, is a way to end a story with the out-of-nowhere appearance of a new character who--poof!--makes it all better. It originates from ancient Greek theater, where gods would appear off-stage to fix things if a play was going on for too long. It's essentially a literary cop-out.
4. Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a term for part of something refers to the whole, or vice-versa. Examples: shirts versus skins; all hands on deck; he kicked your ass. It may not be the easiest word to casually pepper into conversations, but if you can pull it off, you'll sound Matt-Damon-in-Good-Will-Hunting kind of smart.
5. Structuralism is the theory that elements of human culture have to be interpreted based on their relationship to a larger, all-inclusive system. This is for when you're trying to sound deep when everyone's already brought up all the points you planned to. It's your moment to really embrace your reductive side and ask whether anything anyone said means anything at all since it's all relative anyway and there's nothing new under the sun and the protagonist's love for canned tuna is just an allegory for our S&M relationship with Corporate America, which is just an allegory for the even more complicated relationship we have with life and death. Cool, right!?

Word to your flocker.

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Classes |  Source: @sakrzyzek

Why You Should Love Your Gen-Ed's

They're annoying...but they're worth it.

Freshmen must face several nightmares in their first semester of college. Homesickness. Bad roommates. Dining hall food.....and gen-ed classes. *dun dun dunnnnn*
Rewind to three years ago, when I was a naive little freshman in this position. I was placed in all the quintessential gen-eds: Bio plus lab, Stats, American Lit, and....speech.
I'm an English education major, so American Lit was the bomb. Bio and Stats were tolerable, because the subject matter was rudimentary and not geared towards science and math majors. But speech? As in....speaking? As in speaking....in front of people?
Being an education major, I knew that I would someday have to overcome my fear of public speaking. I mean....I was going to be a teacher. Who would have to teach. In front of students. Publicly. See my dilemma?
I walked into the class absolutely terrified. I silently pondered dropping the class then and there, assuring myself that I would just have to find a different career path. I never thought that I would find my gen-ed's enriching in the slightest, but in the end, I was pleasantly, amazingly, surprised. I'll use speech as an example, but here's why you should give your gen-ed's a chance:
Speech taught me to step out of my comfort zone.
Mild social anxiety can make things like public speaking very difficult. Luckily, my inner nerd would NOT let me fail a class, much less a gen-ed. So I stepped up to the podium on our first speaking day and, with hands clearly shaking, delivered my very first speech. What do you know, I survived.
Fears like these are irrational at times, but proving to yourself that you can overcome them is so empowering. You bet I was one of the first to volunteer for the next speech day.
Public speaking is actually a very marketable skill, for anyone. Teachers like me obviously need public speaking skills, and good ones at that. Whether you're giving a presentation on Robert Frost to your English class, interviewing for a job, or training employees as a manager, you're going to need to learn how to communicate effectively. Lots of gen-ed's, like Ethics or World Civ, tend to teach these kinds of basic skills that are universal and useful.
Delivering speeches is a huge confidence booster. Public speaking can be scary for a lot of people, which is understandable. You're laying your work out for your entire class to hear and to judge.
You're raw and vulnerable, which isn't a warm fuzzy feeling for most of us. Speaking from experience, you do feel like a total badass after you're done though. Finding unexpected success in something is pretty dang cool. Like....yeah, I just did that. Come at me.
You might be surprised, like I was, and find out that it's something you either really like, or are really good at. Late in my second semester of freshman year, my speech professor pulled me aside and told me that she wanted me to deliver one of my speeches at the University-wide speech competition tryouts. I accepted, figuring that it would at least be a good experience.

To my astonishment, I was one of five (out of more than 100) chosen to speak in the final round, and I ended up placing second overall and walking out with $400. Over the course of that semester, I went from being utterly terrified of public speaking to feeling like I owned the stage.
So, yes, you'll probably have one of those classes that will make you say, "I'm gonna be an English teacher, whyyyy do I have to know the function of a cell wall???"

You'll probably also surprise yourself and find something that you're actually quite interested in. Maybe you have amazing untapped Biology potential that's just waiting to be discovered. That's the beauty beneath the annoyance that is the gen-ed class.

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Classes | 

Oh Shit, I Missed a Deadline

How to avoid begging for your academic future in a pink onesie.

The first semester of freshman year, I slept through my Intro to Psych midterm, which constituted roughly 25 percent of my grade. I woke up minutes after the exam was scheduled to be over in a complete panic, threw my coat and boots over my pajamas, and made a beeline for the professor's office, prepared to clean his office with a Q-tip to avoid flunking out of school.

Maybe it was the sight of out-of-breath, anxious undergrad in a pink onesie, hair sticking up and eyes glued together that led him to take pity on me. Maybe he just wasn't trying to make someone's life suck that day. Either way, I was able to retake the exam on the spot with no grade deduction.

While it worked out for me that day, your best bet is to avoid missing a deadline or important test date altogether. Here are some tips to avoid finding yourself begging for your academic future in a pink onesie.

Don't put yourself in the position to miss deadlines and/or oversleep. I had completely overexerted myself studying into the wee hours of morning and was in such a deep sleep by the time my alarm went off that I straight up didn't hear it. Don't make your life unnecessarily difficult by exceeding your physical limits, scheduling too many things in too many places, or staying up way too late. Establish the kind of schedule that minimizes having to rush, and lowers your chances of forgetting something.

Establish your reputation. If you want a professor to cut you some slack when you do mess up, establish yourself as someone who goes to class regularly and works hard. A professor is much more likely to be lenient and forgive a fuck up if you've already demonstrated that you put the work in, care about learning the material, and are normally on top of it. On the flip side, if you're always late, don't expect an extension.

Ask. A lot of people forget that it's possible to negotiate and they simply accept their fate and move on. When asking for professor or teaching assistant for an extension, change of date, or exception, be polite and considerate. Recognize that this may be an inconvenience to them, explain the specific circumstances, and be persistent. Professors are people who have shitty days and sleep through things and get caught in traffic, just like you do. They know how stressful college can be--they've been through it.

Be honest. If you're dealing with something bigger than traffic (like depression or an illness in the family), just tell them. Shit happens, and it's OK to ask for help when you need it.

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Classes |  Source: people.com

Michelle Obama's Influence As FLOTUS

It was a legendary two terms.

"For all the young people in this room and those who are watching, know that this country belongs to you, to all of you. From every background and walk of life."

Last Friday, Michelle Obama delivered her final powerful, emotional speech as First Lady. Michelle presented her last remarks during the Reach Higher School Counselor of the Year event, and event filled with men and women who have impacted the lives of students in the best way possible, through education and guidance.

During her husband's eight years serving as our leader of the free world, Michelle has routinely addressed crowds with her moving speeches that left impressions on the world, and for generations to come. She has made it her mission as FLOTUS to fight for the rights, well being, and future of our nation's children.

Her final speech reminds us how confident, influential, and humble our First Lady has been these past eight years, and she used one of her final opportunities as FLOTUS to praise and memorialize the people who have helped shape the paths of children across our nation. Her kindness, integrity, and powerful words will be greatly missed. Here are some memorable words of Michelle Obama that will forever be engraved in our hearts and minds:

"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."

"With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models."

"I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity."

"One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals."

"We learned about gratitude and humility - that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean... and we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect."

Keep doin you, Michelle, don't ever change.

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Classes |  Source: Christos Georghiou

Five Classes You'll Take That Should Impact Your Political Opinions

Perhaps that Alexander Hamilton guy has more influence over you than you might think.

Every time you step into a classroom, your mind is expanding. By going to these classes, you develop opinions, ideas, and values.

Some of the ideas a student develops will be driven by which class, specifically, they are sitting through. Below are some of the classes that impact students' political viewpoints in one direction or another.

Macroeconomics
One of the fundamental issues in politics is the way in which government should control and manage the economy. In a basic macroeconomics class, you should learn about supply and demand, trade, and the basics of fiscal and monetary policy.

Based on your understanding of the subjects, opinions should begin to formulate as to beliefs about how government should tax, what government should spend on to bolster the economy, and how government should respond to both recessions and times of vast economic growth in terms of contractionary and expansionary policy.

Philosophy
Our philosophical underpinnings are what tend to drive our opinions on social policy. Our own religion, ethics, and morality play a major role in how we'll formulate our political opinions and each of these three things can be either challenged or supported by philosophical reasoning.

Government
This is a class that not only a lot of students take in college, but that most students take even in their senior year of high school. One of the most fundamental questions in regards to political ideology that should be brought to light in one of these classes is "what is the role of government?"

In a typical government class, you'll learn about the balance of powers, the role(s) of each branch of government, and how government operations function. In addition, you'll study pieces of historical information integral to the the shaping of these operations. Anything that contributes to your conception of what the role of government is in the lives of it's constituents, particularly in a representative democracy of and by the people, is at the very core of every individual's political views.

Speech
Politicians and orators share something in common: they are both very good at deception. Using words to deceive people and guide people toward one sole viewpoint on an issue is at the heart of politics.

In speech classes, students learn strategies that will teach them how to persuade listeners to agree with any argument being put forward and are taught how to masterfully use Aristotle's three appeals (logos, ethos, pathos). With a basic understanding of how this works, one should be able to sift through the political "mumbo jumbo" and figure out what the politician wants done and how he/she wants to do it.

This class should help you decipher political talk and have informed political opinions based on the merits of the particular stance.

History
In an American history class, students gain valuable insights on politics. In terms of government's role, one should learn about what the government was originally intended for, how it was molded by our founders for self-governance and as American history was navigated, how the government's role has been altered.

You'll also learn the history of the political parties and what each party had typically supported, which should point to how they each function today. It should also give you a keen eye as to what political parties are currently supporting that has been successful or has failed in the past.

Additionally, history classes should show you what we've overcome as a nation and how every day, a political decision can impact the lives of Americans for years to come. So, at the very least, it should show that decisions like the recent election will impact the molding of our country for our children and our children's children.