The public library: a whole new world

Have you heard? Libraries are cool again!

When was the last time you set foot in your library?  Or checked out their website? Or their app? 

If you think the library is an out-of-date concept – think again! 

For starters: free Wi-Fi and gobs of downloadable digital content.

Yes, of course, libraries do still have all the old-school stuff like physical books (much to the book-lover’s delight) narrated books on CD, and films on DVD.  However, these days, their content has expanded and morphed to remain accessible, useful, and convenient to new generations of curious minds.  

Here are a few examples of what you can find at a public library:

Digital Content: With the help of apps like Hoopla, and OverDrive (among others) libraries now offer an ever-expanding selection of digital content, and you can borrow all of it for free! From movies and books to periodicals and music. You download the app, select the content you want, and get on with it!  This means you don’t even have to make it down to the library to check out a book – and you don’t have to worry about returning it on time because it simply disappears from your device on the date it is due back!

Tutoring: Need help with a certain subject?  Check out their tutoring schedule.  In some cases, you can even fill out a request form and they will contact you if a tutor is available.

Meeting spaces: Libraries have rooms available for you to use – for meetings, for study groups, for tutoring, etc.  Some rooms are even equipped with projectors, laptop connections, etc.  The smaller rooms are typically first-come, first-served, while the larger meetings rooms require reservations.

Free Courses: Check out their calendar of events.  Here in Jacksonville you can find everything from beginner guitar lessons to digital photography, ESL, Yoga, and basic coding!  (Each branch offers different things, so make sure you are looking at the right location!)

Copy/Print/Scan: Public computers are available to library card holders and guest passes (“guests” being those who do not have a library card) are available for a nominal fee.  Printers and copiers are accessible to library card-holders for a small fee to cover supplies (check pricing at your branch).  Some locations even offer mobile printing and 3D printing! Yes, that kind of 3-printing where you can actually create a three dimensional object!  

Fine Arts: Some locations occasionally offer free concerts, presentations, galleries, exhibitions, craft fairs, and debates.  The Jacksonville Main library features a Lunch @ the Lounge concert on a monthly basis, where you can bring your lunch, grab a table, and enjoy live guitar music.  They also feature a monthly Music @ Main Sunday Intermezzo.

Work space: Of course, libraries also have lots of space to sit and read or study. Coffee shops may be a popular place to go do some homework, but libraries are much more spacious and less chaotic. Plus, you don’t have to make a purchase in order to hang out at a table for three hours. So, if blowing your budget on coffee and pastries is an issue for you, the library is an ideal alternative!

Variety and personality: Some public library buildings are massive works of art with beautiful design and architecture; others are tiny and quaint.  The Jacksonville Main Library is a good example of a large and beautiful building.  It even has murals and a roof-top patio complete with potted trees and a fountain!  Others locations have cozy indoor spaces, craft rooms, and tiny theaters.  The branch closest to our TBC campus (West Branch) offers a quiet space with comfy seating, charging stations, and a fireplace!  The Willowbranch location is housed in a gorgeous building next to a public park and across the street from a community garden – a beautiful setting to sit and read!

When all is said and done, the public library is pretty much the perfect place to start if you are interested in what you can do, learn, enjoy, and use for FREE in your area!  Practically the only prerequisite for accessing it all is having a (free) library card.

Keep in mind that every library in every city will have different things available.  Much of it depends on the size of the city, but even small-town libraries can have some great perks!  Sign up for their newsletter – it will give you a run-down of community happenings and any new things coming to your library. Bottom line: it is ALWAYS a good idea to try the library first – you never know what you will find!

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6 ways to help your brain this winter break

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Winter break is upon us!  You are probably holding your breath for that glorious moment when you turn in our last exam!  Finally, you can sleep in without missing your first class or paying for it in a low grade!

First up on your to-do list: catch up on sleep and binge-watch your favorite TV shows.

Sounds like the PERFECT winter break routine.

Continue reading

Establishing credit: two baby steps and a warning

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Let’s say you feel ready to handle the responsibility of credit and all that entails.  How do you get started? 

Before we even get into that, let’s take a moment to revisit the main take-away from our last post [Credit: what is it and why should you care?]  Let’s say it all together now: No credit is better than bad credit! 

Yes, we are starting with the warning mentioned in the title.  That is because it is so important!

Moving on.

Demonstrating that you are responsible with your finances is key to qualifying for a loan or credit card… but how can you prove that you are financially responsible with credit when you don’t yet qualify for the very things that help you build that credit?

Baby Step #1: Open a bank account in your name, if you don’t already have one.  Try your best to deposit on a consistent basis. Even if it is only a few dollars a month.  It all ads up, and a history of deposits looks good even if they are small.

Baby Step #2 Apply for a secured credit card.  You use it like a regular credit card, but the spending limit must be backed by a deposit.  (Your spending limit is typically dictated by the amount of your deposit.)  You can use the card to pay bills or make purchases, and you will be responsible for paying off your balance just as you would with a regular credit card.  Another option is to become an authorized on someone else’s credit card.  This means that the other person will need to be able to trust you! (A typical scenario is for a parent to add their child as an authorized user on their card.)  They will be held responsible personally for any bad decisions made with the card, so you will be expected to be on your best behavior!  On the flip side, your name can benefit from the correct usage of that card.

Looking for more baby steps/ways to get started on building your credit?  There are several other valid options, each of which have their own set of pros and cons.  Nerdwallet.com may be helpful to you as you navigate the world of finances and learn what will work best for you.   This page on their website offers several more options for building credit from scratch: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/how-to-build-credit/  

Ultimately, your level of responsibility will determine how well they work for you.

What is a good target age for establishing credit?

The decision to use credit or not and when to begin establishing that credit is a subjective one.  Every person has different goals and varying degrees of responsibility.

That being said, you will need to be 18 years of age or order to apply for most credit cards, but can open a bank account when you are much younger (sometimes as young as age 13).

Warning: Building good credit is fairly easily done, and can be accomplished in just a few months.  Bad credit can haunt you for hears.  It is not a bad idea to work toward building good credit while still in high school.   However, your self-control plays a significant role in the success of this plan.  Some students are better off waiting.  Be honest with yourself and seek advice.  Make sure that the temptation to spend is something you can handle.

 

 

 

Credit: what is it and why should you care?

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Educating yourself on the basics of what credit is and how it affects you is key to making wise economic decisions.

Continue reading

TBC soccer coach earns U.S. Soccer Federation B License

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Congratulations to our women’s soccer coach, Asithorn “Noom” Romyanond, on his recent outstanding achievement of the U.S. Soccer Federation B License!  This is no small accomplishment – for perspective, there is approximately one B-licensed coach for every 3000 US Soccer players.  This significant milestone is a result of Coach Noom’s dedication and hard work, a trait he carries with him in his personal life as well as on the athletic field.

This success brings with it well-deserved recognition and it is an honor to have Coach Noom as the women’s soccer coach at Trinity Baptist College.  His extensive training heightens his natural talent and love for the game and serves to further demonstrate his brilliant capability as a coach.  The TBC women’s soccer team benefits directly from his expertise as they receive high-level training under his coaching.

Coach Noom graduated from Ohio University Master of Sciences in Recreation and Sport Sciences with a Concentration in Soccer Coaching. He now holds a United States Soccer Federation “B” license and NSCAA Goal Keeper Level 2 Diploma.

Noom grew up playing street soccer and for his school teams in Bangkok, Thailand. Those experiences continue to inspire him to love the beautiful game for life. In 2001, he came to the USA and settled in Jacksonville. He and his wife Lindsey have five children.  For more about Coach Noom, visit http://www.tbc.edu/womenssoccer

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About U.S. Soccer Federation: The United States Soccer Federation, commonly referred to as U.S. Soccer, is a 501 nonprofit organization and the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States. Learn more about soccer licenses here: http://cd03.ussoccer.com/

You don’t know what you don’t know (Or: Why taking “that class” is a good idea)

56206868_9ea35e3694_zIt seems inevitable.  At some point in your college career you will find yourself taking a course that seems disconnected to your major.  You may begin to question the decision-makers who determined that this should be a required course in your program of study.  When mid-terms roll around, your patience can start to wear thin. Continue reading

Decoding Financial Aid

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As you begin the process of applying to college, you will notice that college and university financial offices tend to have a vocabulary all their own.  Don’t panic!  It is completely normal and to be expected, so don’t be intimidated and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarification if at any point you feel confused. 

Acronyms in particular tend to be intimidating.  Seeing a string of capital letters popping out at you from the page can make you wonder if you’re actually reading English!  Don’t let it shake you!  Very often, once you know what words the letters represent, the meaning becomes clear without any further explanation.  Think of them as the text abbreviations of the financial aid world.  Most young people recognize acronyms like LOL, TBT, TBH, etc., because these are used often in everyday messaging.  If you take the time to familiarize yourself with a few basic financial acronyms, the mystery of it all will disappear and you’ll feel much more confident when it comes time to discuss your options with your school’s financial advisor.

Three very common acronyms that are used when discussing the financial side of college life are FAFSA, COA, and EFC.  You may have already come across these since they are frequently mentioned during the admission process.

 

FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This is a form that enables you to determine how much financial aid you can receive from the federal government*.  The form can be completed entirely online from the comfort of your own home by visiting fafsa.ed.gov or you can check out their app: myStudentAid. You will need to have some documents handy in order to complete this form – go ahead and view the list here so you know what to expect.

(By the way, any NEW student at TBC who completes and submits their FAFSA by November 1, 2018 is eligible for a $500 scholarship!  If this applies to you – don’t miss out!)

 

COA = Cost of Attendance

Your cost of attendance includes direct education expenses (tuition, fees, etc.) at your college of choice plus estimates for indirect expenses associated with your college education.  Financial aid offices develop COAs by student classification: campus resident students, commuter students, etc.  All students in a certain classification will have the same COA.

Typically, your COA will include:

  • Tuition
  • Miscellaneous fees (registration fee, graduation fee, etc.)
  • Meal plans/food
  • Housing costs
  • Textbooks
  • School supplies (computer, printer, materials for projects, etc)
  • Transportation

 

EFC = Expected Family Contribution

The EFC is a measure of how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute toward the student’s COA for a given academic year. Each school’s financial aid office uses your EFC to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school.  Your Federal Student Aid eligibility should be the same at all schools.

If you would like to dig a little deeper into how your EFC is calculated, you can learn more here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/next-steps/how-calculated

We hope this helps as you move forward in your college search and application adventure.  We wish you all the best!  Please do not hesitate to contact us at Trinity Baptist College if you have any questions we can help answer.  You can email us at financialaid@tbc.edu or call us at 904-596-2451.

 

*and under which category your eligibility falls: need-based or non-need-based.

What does a budget do? {Or: How to eat churros instead of gas money.}

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Budgeting.  What emotion do you associate with that word?  Boredom?  Fear?  Stress?

It should make you feel secure.  In control.  Confident, even.

There is a misconception floating around that budgets are restrictive.  That they zap all the joy out of life and limit your dreams.  That they make you give up your churro addiction. Continue reading

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

(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!