What’s the difference between grants and scholarships?

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Are grants and scholarships two different ways to say the same thing?  Or are they actually different?

This is a question that may be rolling around in your mind as you look ahead to your college search.  The world of financial aid can sometimes sound confusing and intimidating.  The truth is that minimal research on your part can answer most of your questions.  Financial aid advisers are there to help with the rest!  So, when you do get that far in your college search, be sure to take advantage of the advice that they have to offer! Continue reading

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(How to) Rise and Shine!

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Getting out of bed in the morning tends to be a challenge for many people.  Yes, there are “morning people” in this world – those rare human beings who naturally enjoy beginning their day before the sun peeks over the horizon.  But it seems that the majority of individuals don’t fall into that category.  What about you?  Are you trying to figure out how to get a grip in the mornings?

Welcome, my friend.  You are not alone!

Here’s the bad news: it takes work to unlearn bad habits and learn new ones.  But here’s the good news: it is completely doable!  Below are four helpful ideas to keep in mind as you train (yes, train) yourself to get up earlier in the mornings.

1. Peer Pressure

Plan to meet up with someone in the morning.  Once in a while, peer pressure can be a good thing!  In this case, it could be your saving grace.  Team up with a friend who does get up on time and make plans to meet for coffee, go for a run, or anything else that peaks your interest.  The key is to make it something pleasant (to you).  If you’re meeting up to do something you detest, you’re setting yourself up to fail!  So, if running is misery to you, don’t plan to run.  Instead, tempt yourself with the prospect of a really awesome breakfast, or a trip to your favorite coffee place before class, or a workout that you actually enjoy.  How about yoga? Kickboxing?  See what your local gym has to offer – something might catch your attention.

2. Patience

If you’re serious about changing your habits to wake up earlier in the mornings, you have to be methodical and patient. Change is rarely easy and going from an 8:30am wake-up to a 5:30am wake-up will likely be a challenge!  Take baby steps!  Start with getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual the first week.  The next week, move it back 15 minutes more.  Within two weeks you’ll be waking up a full hour earlier without feeling drastic effects.

3. Persistence

Being patient with yourself is one thing – not holding yourself accountable is another. Don’t allow yourself to slide back into old habits! Challenge yourself to beat the clock and reward yourself when you do.  Track on a calendar – check the days that you get up on time and plan to celebrate when you reach an entire month of check marks.  Give yourself pep talks the night before.  The point is to do whatever it takes to get yourself in the mindset to want to overcome this challenge!

4. Prep

This is your chance to see what life is like as a control freak!  The night before, think through the next morning in detail.  Are you going to work out? Go to class?  Go to work?  Let’s assume you’re doing all three in that order.  Your prep should look something like this:

  • Set out workout clothes (including shoes and socks – no need to wake up your roommate digging around looking for a missing shoe)
  • Decide on your outfit for class. Don’t just assume it’s ready – actually take it out of the closet for two seconds to look at it.  Make sure it’s clean and presentable.  Finding out the next morning that your shirt has a mustard stain on the front will totally defeat the purpose of choosing your clothes the night before.
  • If your job requires a uniform, make sure that’s ready to go too.
  • Pack your book bag and definitely make sure any due assignments are included.
  • Set your alarm and place it somewhere that forces you to get out of bed to turn it off in the morning.
  • See ideas #1 – #3

Here’s to getting started on the right track!  Set a goal and amaze yourself!

Three ways to maximize your study sessions.

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At this point in your life you are very familiar with classwork, exams, and, of course, studying.  If you’re in college, no doubt you are studying.  At least a little!  The question is, are you studying effectively?  Continue reading

Creating Opportunities for Real-World Experience

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Over the past several years, Trinity Baptist College has developed a strong relationship with nearby Crystal Springs Elementary (CSE).  Through the Federal Work Study Program and in collaboration with CSE, Trinity Baptist College was able to create a student employee position which simultaneously addresses tutoring needs in CSE and provides additional financial aid for a college student in the FWS program.

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Tiffani Edwards

Through this program, current TBC senior, Tiffani Edwards, tutored reading and math at CSE during the 2017-2018 school year.  Tiffani is an Elementary Education major and her dream is to work in the public school sector.  Talking about her experience at CSE, Tiffani smiled and said,

“I’ve had experience helping kids with homework before. But I feel like this really gave me a different perspective.  This is a bigger deal – the kids are being tested on this material.  Some of them are behind in certain areas and I had to figure out ways to fill in the gaps.”

Typically, she would tutor 4-6 students at a time.

“It wasn’t really the whole classroom concept of being a teacher yet, but it’s one step closer to that.”

The assistant principal at CSE was very pleased with Tiffani’s work and has requested more TBC students to fill tutoring positions.  Sashuas Rodriguez, an Elementary Special Education major at TBC, has accepted the tutoring position for the current (2018-2019) school year.

TBC Financial Aid Director Mark Elkins explains how this work study arrangement is of benefit to everyone involved.

The U.S. Department of Education indicates that a portion of TBC’s annual funding allocation in the Federal Work Study program must be dedicated to a wage match for a student(s) employed in a public service capacity involving reading and math tutoring.  So, this is really a win-win-win-win effort. CSE students receive one-on-one help with reading and math, CSE Administration have a dedicated reading and math tutor at no cost, a TBC student gains valuable hands-on experience as well as additional financial aid, and TBC is able to give back to the community.

We are privileged to be in the position to invest in our local Jacksonville community by providing quality tutors who can help young people grow academically.  In return, participating TBC students receive valuable real-world experience in their chosen area of study.  This kind of practical involvement paves the way for our education majors to graduate with qualifying resume credentials as well as a passion for education.

Dealing With Goodbye

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People get weird when it’s time to say goodbye.  Especially when it is a long-term goodbye.  Yes, even adults.

Maybe you can identify yourself in one of the following examples:

  • You get hyper and say ridiculous things that are completely immature or flat out make no sense. But you continue to jabber on and on and on, following no particular train of thought, anxious to plow through becauseyoucan’thandlethestressandwantitobeoveralready.
  • You get super sensitive and cry about every look, feeling, or slight inconvenience.  Why did she look at me like that?  *sniff*  He really said that?  *tear trickles down cheek*   Why won’t this suitcase just zip up already?  *full-on river of tears floods face*
  • You go waaaaaay off the charts in the opposite direction and distance yourself emotionally. Your stoic expression rivals George Washington’s likeness on the one dollar bill.

What is it about saying goodbye that throws people into a tailspin?  It’s like we morph into overgrown toddlers hiding behind our parents on the first day of preschool.  Here’s the good news: getting weird about goodbyes is actually pretty normal.

The simple answer?  Goodbyes are hard.  You cope by pulling out whatever internal armor you have at your disposal.  And while that might get you through the moment, it may cause you to miss out on the positives to be found in the circumstances or, worse, cause the goodbye to end on a negative note.

As you approach THE goodbye that is dropping off your child at college, you may be wondering how you will handle the scenario.  In your mind’s eye this young adult is still eight years old and needs help combing his/her hair.  (There are so many moving parts, memories, mixed feelings, and uncertainties about this transition that it is easy to dwell on the negatives and become overwhelmed.)  Instead, try to focus on the positives!

If you need some help coming up with those positives, maybe these will help get you started:

  • The simple fact that they have reached this milestone means they are growing, learning, and taking strides toward adulthood.
  • They are here largely because of YOU and your support, guidance, and advice.
  • Hopefully, this season of their life will help them continue to mature and impact the world around them in amazing ways.
  • They are confident enough to take this step and venture out on their own.
  • ______________________ (Your turn! Fill in the blank!)

Here’s to a successful shift from high school to college… make it memorable! (In a positive way!)

Keyboard shortcuts every college student should know

We humans are funny.  No matter how easy something is, we are always looking for a shortcut.  This could stem from a genuine desire to be as effective as possible… but then again, it could come from laziness.  You may have heard the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  But swapping the word “necessity” for “laziness” sounds more accurate. Continue reading

Your College ID: A Diamond in the Rough

diamond-807979_1920There are a whole slew of firsts that come along with the first week of college.

There’s move-in day, orientation day, saying goodbye to family, locating the laundry room, living in a building full of other humans who are all roughly the same age as you (whoah!), keeping track of your own schedule (for better or for worse!)… aaaaaand posing for your first-ever college student ID picture.  Exciting stuff, huh? Continue reading

Off To College: One Thing You Can’t Afford To Leave Behind

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Have you looked at the calendar today?  Did you notice that there are only 5 more squares in July?

Five days before August hits in all it’s hot, busy, back-to-school fury.

For some, the conclusion of summer means cramming in a few more beach days, one more camping trip, or one more theme park adventure.  For others, it means cranking through just a couple more weeks of longer-than-usual work days to save up for the fall semester.

Emotions range from excitement to dread and everything in between… possibly ricocheting between the two extremes like an out-of-control bouncy-ball!

If you are beginning your freshman year at college, you are getting ready to launch out on your own.  This is true for both commuter students and campus residents.  While the change is more drastic when a student actually “moves out” for college, commuters also experiences a detachment from what (up until now) has been their typical family schedule.  This is a necessary, even healthy, part of the process of growing up and morphing into adulthood!

Naturally, becoming immersed in college will mean you become a bit less involved in life outside of college – especially as a campus resident.  Here at Trinity Baptist College, we encourage you to take full advantage of the spiritual culture of our campus by attending chapels and Bible studies and develop strong relationships by participating in activities and athletic events.  College can be so much more than an academic education if you allow it to be.  It can be the place where you meet life-long friends and make important connections that impact your life long after graduation.

There is a delicate balance, however, between full involvement in your college life and maintaining honest communication with family and mentors back home.  You may not grasp the importance of this now, but believe it – you need to keep in touch!  And not just because your family loves you and wants to hear from you! (Although that is a very valid reason, and one you need to remember!)

There is another — deeper — reason.  You will need advice. No matter how old you get or now experienced or mature – you will always need someone to speak into your life and offer a different perspective.

Proverbs 11:14 – Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Proverbs 19:20 – Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Embracing your independence without dismissing the family members, friends, and mentors who have had a positive influence in your life before college is a tricky but important lesson to learn.  They are familiar with your background.  They have witnessed your strengths and weaknesses first hand and know you better than anyone on campus.  They can see how your struggles, triumphs, fears, and dreams make you unique.  They also can see your potential more clearly than most and genuinely desire your success.

Eventually, your new professors, friends, and mentors will come to know you as well.  They will hopefully speak into your life with wisdom and help you mature as a person.  But view these new influences as an addition to your support system instead of a replacement for what you already have in your parents and spiritual mentors.

Getting to college is a milestone to be proud of, certainly.  But don’t forget the valuable advice and support that got you to this point! You can’t afford to leave behind the wisdom and perspective that has been instrumental to your success so far!

Above all, don’t distance yourself from the ultimate source of wisdom for your life – God and His Word.  Even if all others fail you or steer you wrong, His wisdom transcends all.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The down side of having a plan

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There’s a down side?  Really?

If you are a planner, you are probably staring daggers at your screen right now.  “What kind of incompetent person would suggest that planning is less than the epitome of being responsible?”

Continue reading

What to pack for college dorm life?

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Starting to plan for dorm life?  You probably have questions. How in the world do you pack an entire life into one section of dorm room?  How do you decide what comes with you and what stays behind?  Should you bring your own microwave?  Ironing board?  Blender?  Trash can? What about a TV?

First of all, do not worry about packing your entire life into one section of dorm room!  If you live with your parents now, you are likely used to having an entire home at your disposal.  The thought of paring down to a few square feet may leave you panicked!  The truth is you don’t need any more room than that!  College life is busy and the more you have to keep track of, the less you can concentrate on what really matters – experiencing life!

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to wait on large items and appliances like microwaves and TVs.  If a roommate already has one, there might not be room (or need) for a second one!  This is also true for smaller items that can easily be shared, such as irons and trash cans.  Instead, think about items that are more essential to your personal day-to-day life.

Here are some essentials to consider as you make your shopping and packing list!

Laundry hamper – Everyone has to do laundry!  Might as well make it easy on yourself and get a hamper that allows you to carry things to the laundry room and back without dropping things all over the hall!  There are lots of options out there.  Some are almost completely collapsible and weigh close to nothing (basically a mesh pop-up container).  Others have more structure but still fold to save space.  Or you could go with a laundry basket that slides under your bed.  (Don’t forget the laundry detergent!)

Book bag – It might be worth investing in a quality one that you really like.  The cheaper ones tend to fall apart quickly and if you have to walk long distances every day it might take a toll on your back as well.  Keep in mind that you’ll likely be carrying several large books, possibly your laptop, and (especially if you’re a commuter) a water bottle… maybe lunch!  Look for something with a little structure to protect your computer.

Command hooks – Get them in a variety of sizes and shapes.  They are useful for so many things, don’t damage walls, and hold amazingly well!

Bed linens and towels – You can probably get by with a single set of bed linens.  You may want 2-3 sets of towels depending on how often you want to do laundry.  I don’t forget hand towels and wash cloths!

Flip-flops or shower shoes, a shower caddy, and a robe.  Depending on your dorm room set-up you’ll be sharing a shower with several people.  These items are always recommended!

Headphones/earbuds – Whether it is listening to music, plugging in to watch a video for class, or just trying to block out distractions while you study, they are a great investment!

Comfortable shoes – Walking will happen.  Might as well be comfortable!

We hope these suggestions will help you as you begin your college packing!  Do your best to pack lightly.  It is nearly inevitable that you will collect things as time goes by.  Remember that everything you bring with you will eventually have to move out again!