Letter to the editor: ETSU online fees

To the editor,

A news story about online course fees in the Feb. 9 issue of the East Tennessean suggested that the additional fees for online courses were a necessary evil. While I understand that there must be funding of online software, I think that the online fee should be spread into regular course fees. Online fees should cover only what is additionally needed for the specific class.

The story argues that additional fees for online classes are needed to fund Desire2Learn, Respondus Lockdown Browser and WebEx. I think the additional fee would be justified if online courses were the only classes using these programs.

Of course most classes use D2L, but I have taken many classes in regular settings that require me to use Respondus Lockdown Browser and WebEx. In contrast, I have taken three online courses, and none of them required me to use either software.

If these programs are being used in online and regular ETSU courses, then why are the online additional fees not being applied to all classes? The article states that D2L is funded by the technology access fee. ETSU states on its Information Technology Services website this fee is paid each semester by all students. Why can this fee not be expanded to cover the online fees and be divided among all students per class?

Likewise, students are paying fees for their department, yet they have to buy access to additional sites that should be included in department material fees. One student pointed out to me the media and communications department partners with Adobe, yet he still had to pay for Adobe software access on his own for an online course. The student needed this software to complete assignments, yet the department fees nor the Adobe partnership covered the cost.

ETSU obviously has to pay for programs that its students use, but current online fees should be redistributed to all students because the programs are used by students in regular and online classes. The technology access fee should expand to cover these charges. Additional online fees should cover online and class-specific software that students need like Adobe products, not online programs that all students use.

I am thankful that the additional charges were addressed in the East Tennessean, but there are still unanswered questions from students.

Raina Wiseman

 

(I wrote this for my opinion writing class with the intention of having it published. The school newspaper published a similar article before I could send them this one, so I never had it sent.)

Homebody

Let’s go ahead and state my personal bias: I am a home body and can’t believe other people aren’t.

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At the start of the semester, I saw someone’s tweet about how anyone who goes home on the first weekend of school has “a problem.” I particularly enjoyed this because it was from a freshman who had only been at school one week. Yeah, of course you think college is all sunshine and rainbows; you haven’t actually gone to college yet.

I go home every week not because I hate being at school, but because I really like being with my family and puppy. I want to sit on my couch and sip coffee while writing papers on the weekend. I like eating meals cooked by my mom. And judge me if you must, but I like washing clothes in my house where I don’t have to worry about someone stealing them.

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Both my closest friend and my roommate go home each weekend, so I would be alone if I stayed. I’m definitely not the type of girl who parties (which is all Snapchat tells me happens on weekends.) Besides, I prefer to be asleep before most people go out at night.

The drive for school is only an hour, so why would I not go home? Campus is fine during the week, but I prefer to spend the weekend away. I can binge watch shows and movies under my own roof the same as in my dorm room.

Some people are not about the college life. I am one of those people.

So, to the people who think you have to leave home completely to have a “college experience,” that’s fine. But it’s also fine for me to have that experience five days a week and cuddle with my puppy the other two. I don’t think that means I “have a problem.”

5 Things I Didn’t Believe About College

IMG_2527I was told a lot of things before I came to college, but I didn’t realize how true many of them actually were before I got here.

  1. “You stay sick all the time.” I heard about this in a YouTube video, and remember thinking how it couldn’t be true because I hardly ever got sick at home. So far, I’ve had walking pneumonia twice and a horrible stomach virus. Colleges are just a breeding ground for germs.
  2. “It’s not like the movies. It won’t always be fun.” I actually had a conversation about this with my roommate the other day. We came to the consensus that unless you’re just in school to party, college is mostly not that fun with occasional fun moments.
  3. “Seasonal depression is real.” Winter hit me hard this year, and it felt like school would never end. Now that the weather has started perking up and everything is turning green, I feel so much more hopeful about school.
  4. “Freshman 15 will get you.” I haven’t gotten the freshman 15, but I have realized how careful you have to be when you decide your own meals all the time. Also, snacking is dangerous.
  5. “You have a lot of free time, but it won’t really be free.” The average student carries about 15 credit hours which doesn’t sound like that much. Once you factor in studying, reading, writing papers, and working on projects, you’re looking at at least double the amount of hours you have on paper.

I’m Thankful, But…

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During high school, I had the opportunity to earn 38 college credit hours through a dual-enrollment program with a local college. This allowed me to enter my first year at university as a sophomore. This is great because I can (Lord willin’) graduate a year early with a degree. And I’m thankful for all of this. I’m thankful that I was able to get a year behind me while in high school. I’m thankful for how those dual-enrollment classes prepared me. I’m really thankful I have music appreciation behind me (ha!). But this has its disadvantage.

My last two years of high school I knew I would major in chemistry and go into pharmacy. In fact, I was dead set on this and really irritated when people told me I might change my mind. Fast-forward to this past fall during my first semester at university. I called my mom crying almost every night. Literally. I was very bored and completely stressed at the same time in every science class. I loathed the pre-requisites and knew I would be miserable if I took any more. I needed creativity. I decided to change my major within the first half of the semester. I had changed my mind like I was told I might. I was done.

The problem here lies in the fact that I had no clue what I was going to like once I entered college (for real). For me, the structure of science courses didn’t work, and I also wasn’t interested in anything I was learning. My English and debate classes, however, were my favorites. I realized I’m really interested in social issues and creative outlets— not whatever the Krebs Cycle is (I somehow made an A in biology, though).

Dual-enrollment made me feel like I had to know what I was going to major in as soon as I came to college. It meant that I had one less year to figure out what I was into, then I had to start classes in my major. I knew that after this year I needed to have a plan. It would all be fine if everyone knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grow up (and stuck with it,) but a lot of people end up changing their minds.

I’m really thankful to have a year of college behind me, but it also pressured me into making some big decisions about my future earlier than I was ready for. I still suggest taking dual-enrollment classes as a high school student, but I think more students need to know it may cause them to feel hurried through college.

College: Simplified.

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I’ve learned a couple of things from being at college so far (none of which have anything to do with biology because the PTSD already took care of that.) Here is my list of what I would consider 15 of the more important items for college that also make life so much easier.

  1. Water pitcher with a filter.  My Brita water pitcher is like a first-born child to me. Dorm water tastes weird, so this helps and also saves a lot of money that would otherwise go to buying water.
  2. Coffee pot. I have a Keurig which is perfect for me because I only drink one cup of coffee a day. It’s also really easy to add water and a K-cup, hit a button, and brew.
  3. Sturdy umbrella. I touched on this in another post on here, but umbrellas break easily. Go ahead and get a decent one.
  4. Rain boots. It’s going to rain on campus (sorry), and no one likes cold, wet feet.
  5. Tennis shoes. I’m not much of a tennis shoe girl, but I have ended up wearing mine so much more than I expected. They’re so good for long days of classes on opposite sides of campus.
  6. Surge protector (with extra long cord). In my dorm, you can’t have extension cords, but you can have surge protectors with extra long cords. This is a good way to get your phone charger nearer to you on a lofted bed.
  7. Hand sanitizer. I keep a little hand sanitizer attached to my wallet or backpack at all times. Need I say more?
  8. Clorox wipes. AKA the greatest cleaning supplies item ever. These things can clean almost anything in a hurry especially during flu season.
  9. Extra set of sheets. These are handy when you really don’t feel like washing your sheets but you also really need to wash them too. A different color or pattern can also break up the dorm room monotony.
  10. Planner. This will help you be able to visualize upcoming assignments and quizzes/exams. (Note- I am NOT usually a planner promoter, but I am slowly being converted into a believer.)
  11. Water bottle. And I mean a non-throw-away one. I have a gifted Camelbak that I carry around all the time. This also saves money on water like the Brita (which I use to fill my water bottle.)
  12. Bed shoes. I also wasn’t a bed shoe kind of girl before college, but dorm floors are cold and kind of nasty.
  13. Rolling hamper. I did NOT want one of these before I started school because I thought it was dorky. I still think it makes me look like a dweeb, but I’m a dweeb that isn’t breaking my back to haul all my junk in.
  14. Student ID holder. I use my ID for EVERYTHING on campus, so I always need it. I have a wallet that I keep in my backpack with a clear window for IDs as well as an adhesive card sticker on the back of my phone that I got for free from Kroger. This way, I always have my ID.
  15. Extra phone charger. I hate keeping up with a phone charger, so I keep one in my room and one in my backpack at all times. The one in my backpack rarely gets used, but it’s good for emergencies.

Photo Dump 2/10

Here’s a little look at what my life consists of through pictures. PS- it’s a lot more weird selfies I send to my mom than I’m willing to admit.

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This was to commemorate my first snow day of college. And I totally binge-watched Netflix like college students are supposed to do. Priorities. Am I right?!

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I call this one “selfie-to-Mom-to-express-my-unhappiness-toward-walking-across-campus-during-a-torrential-downpour-while-trying-to-be-inconspicious-about-taking-a-selfie-so-it’s-blurry/unflattering.” Also, I ended up breaking this umbrella with a water bottle…

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A picture of the bell tower on campus. I only took this shot for a project in multimedia design. I have no emotional connection to this tower whatsoever, but it played a bell version of an Elvis song one time!

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Sunset from my dorm room. [Heart eyes emoji.]

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I leave you with this… DOUGHNUT FRENCH TOAST! If you’ve never had it, today is the day. Go.

This post is my way of saying I’m too busy at the moment to actually write a thoughtful post, but I still want to keep this blog going. Thanks for reading!

Seriously, go try this kind of french toast, guys!

10 Things I Learned My First Semester of College

Now that my first semester of college is over, here is a (very brief) list of things I learned. I hope this helps those who are quickly approaching their first semester and humors those who know these learned lessons all too well.

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1. Breaks between classes don’t work for everyone.
I was told as a high school senior that it was a good idea to schedule breaks between classes to work on assignments/homework, and I took this advice to heart. I scheduled random hour long breaks between classes, and I usually did nothing productive during these times. It may work for some people but not me. You live and you learn.
2. Never schedule a 7 am class (even if you are a morning person).
Yes, these do exist. While I loved this class perhaps the most out of all my classes, it was not a great idea. There is this thing called daylight savings and it makes the early walk to class super dark and super creepy. Especially as a rather non-intimidating girl, that walk was often a speed walk with multiple glances behind me.
3. Keep your umbrella in your backpack at all times.
You never know when you’ll forget to check the weather app on a sunny morning/rainy afternoon day. Even if you did remember your rain boots and coat, your friend from class who just happens to have a cold may not, and you can let them borrow it (“we’re all in this together!”)
And on that same note…
4. Go ahead and buy good rain gear.
Listen now and listen closely— do. not. buy. a. cheap. umbrella. I made this mistake because I wanted to save a couple of dollars, and it broke the first mildly windy day I used it. While you’re at it, get a pair of good rain boots and a coat.
5. Visit your professor outside of class at least once.
I called one of my professors my “bestie” because we bonded over a mutual admiration of Keurig coffee makers one day when I stopped by her office to ask a question about a homework assignment. After that, I felt more comfortable asking questions in class because I felt like my professor knew I really wanted to learn.
6. Treat yourself.
Everyone I know who started their first semester (no matter what school) had some sort of treat they get during their school week. For me, that was Tuesday/Thursday “bagel day” with my roommate. If I was feeling generous, I would go for Starbucks (bless you, PSL) before heading to my on-campus job. It’s the little things that perk up your day.
7. Keep a steady sleeping schedule.
This will depend on your own schedule for school and work, but you need to make sure you’re getting plenty of rest. I can’t say “GO TO BED AT 10 SHARP EVERY NIGHT” because that isn’t realistic. Just make sure you do what works for you.
8. Call home when you’re stressed, but only from your dorm room or car.
You’re most likely going to get stressed in college (and if you don’t, share your secret with me please), but calling home is one of the best things I found to help me relieve some of it. My only warning is to just do this in private, not on the bench in front of the library for the whole world to see. Not that I speak from experience or anything… ha.
9. Text your best friend a few times a week.
Even if it’s just to say hey or to catch up on their life, send a text every now and then to let them know you still love them. You’re going to make all kinds of new friends in college, but don’t forget about the ones from home.
10. Don’t choose your school because you “want to get away from home.”
I do not speak from experience on this one. In fact, I chose my school in part because of its proximity to home. Too many people move several hours from home and find themselves coming back every weekend. Keep this in mind, especially those of you with cars that are hard on gas because you don’t want to spend a fortune coming home all the time. Or maybe you just need to come home and play with your puppy most weekends like me.