Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Improve College Graduate Rates

Attending college is one of the biggest risk-reward scenarios in the United States. The monetary and time expenditure of university is immense, and all too often proves to be far too much of a difficulty to complete, for several variables. These can range from education content to affordability. Penn State University’s full student body graduation rate has been varying between a declines to remaining stagnant at around 86%, a trend that began in 2012. For those who do graduate, they are not quite out of the thick of it, with a student loan crisis still booming. A staggering 13% of students will default on their loans, as of 2014.

Researchers have scrambled to find methods of combating drop-outs and improving the college experience. One such way to improve overall graduation rates is increasing college credit courses offered in high schools. Many high schools across the nation take part in programs that permit classes to act as early college courses, covering major program recommendations and providing credits prior to ever attending the university. Studies have revealed that students taking Advanced Placement courses in high schools performed better on exams when informed that the exam would provide college credit.

This would address two key points: in entering college, a common complaint among students is being required to repeat what are considered to be remedial courses full of previously-acquired knowledge; and the cost of attending a school would decrease. If less classes must be registered for and completed, a student can write off perhaps five courses from the final bill, saving a good deal of money when the loans kick in after graduation. More time can be spent with courses in the student’s chosen major as well, as introductory courses can likely be skipped. Thus, interest level in the total program stands a chance to increase, and a student may actually enjoy college enough to see it to completion.

Proper Etiquette in Business Meetings

In a business meeting, there are men and women working together for a common goal. Whether the business meeting be internal or with a client or partner, it is always important to have the proper etiquette during the meeting. I have listed a few areas to ensure your next business meeting goes smoothly.



Arriving “on time” to a meeting does not mean being at an 11 am meeting at 10:59, it means showing up 15-20 minutes early to ensure you are prepared and are not disheveled at the beginning of the meeting. Remember the time old truth: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” Arriving early to a meeting, prepared, shows your business associate that you are respecting their time and do not wish to waste a minute of it.



To continue the message of respecting a person’s time during a meeting, send out an agenda prior to a meeting. This will ensure everyone is aware what the topics or punch points are for this meeting; also, it shows how long the meeting will be.


Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening are both equally important in a business meeting. If you are running the meeting, you are most likely to speak the most of everyone in the room. However, you are going to have a monologue for 30-90 minutes, so be sure to listen to your client or business associates who are also in the meeting with you.


Running the Meeting

Because you are the one in charge of the meeting, you are responsible for keeping the meeting going and making sure that the important points of the meeting are touched on and that you are not getting off topic or staying on one point that might not be completely important right now.


Electronic Devices

Always have your phone on vibrate, at least, if not on silent. That will allow you to know if there was a call, text message, or email that you are waiting for but will not interrupt the flow of the meeting with a loud notification sound. However, we are in the 21st century, many take notes on their laptop or tablet, or they are used to show a presentation or a design. But allow this to be your main reason for bringing a laptop or tablet, not to browse the internet or just check your email.


Guest List

Be sure that everyone in the meeting is aware of who will be in your meeting to ensure that no one is surprised by an unannounced guest. It can cause some confusion or frustration at the beginning of a meeting and change the tone or vibe of the room.


The list above should not be anything surprising to read. However, it is some of the things that businessmen and businesswomen forget every week. But with the list above complete, you are sure to have a successful meeting and impress your boss!

Mental Healthcare in Prisons

Over the last three decades, mental institutions as a whole have received a largely negative connotation in the court of public approval. Institutionalizing a loved one with a mental disability has become taboo as alternative care options are sought out, as more and more recognize mental health issues as something that cannot simply be shut away. This has not ended the shut-away process, however. While the country scrambles to find an alternative solution and Congress and the Senate debate the appropriate manners in which to aid the mentally ill, the de facto way of “handling” those with disabilities has instead become prison. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that more than half of all prison inmates have some sort of mental illness, in contrast to just 11% of the overall population.

Often, those in prison with mental illnesses find themselves in solitary confinement. Solitary for the mentally ill is intended as a protective measure from themselves. Depression and other mood disorders are feared as leading to self-harm, and solitary is far from adequate care. The real issue with healthcare for the mentally ill is that many enter prison undiagnosed, and symptoms do not reveal themselves until a victim is already incarcerated.  The immediate jump to solitary is little more than a severe form of punishment than care from the hand of a failing system.

Top 5 Golf Books for your Christmas List


Not to speak for anyone else, but the greatest Christmas gifts of all time will always and forever be a golf book.  That is a very narrow and wholly specific category, but it may as well be fact.  Now, personally, I read them.  As you may or may not be able to tell, I am a huge golf aficionado.  Total surprise, I know.  There is a certain precision and tact to golf that is simply thrilling.  Watching is one thing, but reading?  That is another beast entirely.  Even if you cannot muster the ability to flip through the pages, golf books make excellent coffee-table decorations, especially those about the courses themselves.  Here are my Top 5 golf books for this holiday season:


  1. Golf Courses of the U.S. Open – Even the most casual of golf fans can enjoy this one with limited knowledge of the game. This book, by David Barrett, compiles thorough information through maps, descriptions, and gorgeous photography of the 50 courses in the tournament. The cover alone makes for a very attractive display piece or conversation starter.


  1. Great Getaways – This one comes directly from the pages of Golf Magazine itself, of which naturally I am a fan. Detailed here are “The best of the best three- and four-day golf trips” from author Tara Gravel.  Getaways is not necessarily as pretty as some of the other options.  The photos are nice, of course, but this book is hefty with knowledge and passages about the courses instead.


  1. Golf’s Best New Destinations – Here we have a best-of-both-words situation. Brian McCallen packs a wealth of information alongside breathtaking photography of the golf world’s more modern locales.  The real joy is the attention to detail paid to activities off the course.  New Destinations at times reads more as a travel book than a golf book, and that is a compliment.


  1. Planet Golf – Darius Oliver takes us out of the United States and along with him on his globe-trotting ventures. This book may be the definitive coffee-table book presented.  Planet Golf will have great appeal to the golf nut who also appreciates architecture and integral analysis of the courses and landscapes themselves.  The photography is simply awe-inspiring.


  1. Where Golf is Great – The one is “a biggie.” Literally, this book weighs in at 11 pounds.  James Finnegan presents extensive knowledge alongside the usually wonderful photography, and in the same vein as New Destinations can be more a travel guide.  Special attention is paid to the surrounding cities and attractions, with a focus on Scotland and Ireland, and Finnegan’s devotion to the game is felt with every word.

Five Reasons You Want to be Golfing Right Now

Some might say that golf is a boring sport, you hit a ball, walk or drive to it, hit it again and again until it lands in a small hole; then you start over again. However, golf is one of the best, most diverse sports played today. Here is what I enjoy most about the game.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

If you are a golfer, you know that you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sun. Golf doesn’t require you to run around a field or catch any sort of ball. You are talking with co-workers, bosses or friends and hitting a golf ball around a little. The best of both worlds.

Light Exercise and Stress Reliever

Golf can be a light exercise routine for someone who is not very interested in going to the gym. If a golfer chooses not avoid the cart for their 9 or 18 holes, they are walking quite a bit to get from one hole to the next. With each stroke, you are putting your body into a position and holding it there before releasing; very similar to a yoga pose. The twisting and turning of your torso allows you to stretch your body out. When your club makes contact with the ball, you can actually feel the stress leaving your body and if you hit that special hole-in-one, you feel a small sense of exhilaration.

A New Challenge Every Time

Golf is just like any other sport, the more you practice, the better you get. You never play the same game twice; you are constantly challenging your skill every time you step foot on the course. You can always keep track of your games and can challenge yourself to improve with each stroke. There is also, of course, the challenges you can give to your friends or colleagues to see who can have the best game this time.

Social Hour

With a full workload, a spouse, children, obligations, and responsibilities, there is not always enough time for friends. Golf allows you to get a social hour with your buddies. With a sport that is so easy to enjoy with a little practice, it is possible to catch up with anyone.

Giving Back

There are not many sports that allow you to give back while you are playing with your friends or colleagues. Golf has a lot of charity tournaments that anyone can participate in to give back to your community or favorite charity. There are also caddy scholarship programs to help younger generations have a shot at going to college. It is also a great way for a caddy to make money, gain contacts while working toward their goals.

Golf is such a diverse sport that can be enjoyed by anyone as long as the weather is right. Have I interested you in stopping by your local golf range yet?

Nurses Week

We may not really think about them during our daily lives unless we see them in their work uniform on our daily commute, but nurses are incredibly important and often underappreciated.  They are the people who tend to us almost 24/7 when we are in the hospital and visiting the doctor’s office.  They clock insane hours and have some ridiculous shifts which can make life very difficult.  Imagine working three days in a row for 16 hour shifts each day.  You only have enough time between shifts to really go home and sleep.   Don’t forget nurses have to put up with us when we are not in our best condition and sometimes deal with very ornery patients.

Fortunately, after many attempts which first began in 1953, President Nixon issued a proclamation about “National Nurse Week” in February of 1974.  In 1978 the New Jersey Governor, Brendon Byrne, declared May 6th as “Nurses Day”.  Afterwards, more people, such as Edward Scanlan of Red Bank, N.J., began to take up the cause of giving recognition to nurses.   In 1981 Manuel Lujan, the Congressman of New Mexico, supported a resolution to make May 6th the official “National Recognition Day for Nurses”.  Finally, after the ANA Board of directors formally acknowledged May 6th as National Nurses Day, a join resolution of the U.S. Congress designated May 6th as the official day and President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25th recognizing it as so.  In 1990, the ANA Board of Directors decided to expand the recognition to a week, making it go from May 6-12 and called it National Nurses Week.

As we can see, the challenge of gaining recognition for nurses for just one day took several decades of work.  Emre Umar is very glad to see nurses finally gained recognition for their hard work and skills for a whole week.  If you know anyone who is a nurse, be sure to remember May 6-12 as their national recognition week and thank them for their vital and hard work.  Nurses often receive far less thanks and credit then they deserve.  Nurses have to go through extra schooling and learn a lot in order to enter the field.

If you’re a nurse, then know many people are very thankful for your dedication and care.  Without you working around the clock to help doctors and take care of patients, conditions would be far more difficult.