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Christine Shelly
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin


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The Online Student’s Spring Break Dilemma

A group of college students meet for coffee one March morning to discuss their Spring Break plans.

Student A is a sophomore at the local state college; he plans to pick up some extra hours at his part time job. Student B is in her second year at a nearby community college; she and some friends are driving to the beach for the week. Student C works full time at a small start-up business, serves in the Army Reserves and is in an online bachelor of business administration degree program.

Pop quiz:  Does Student C get a spring break?

Depending on the school, the answer is probably no, there’s no ‘official’ spring break for most online programs.

But here’s the thing: You don’t need to be a traditional student to have a spring break. There are plenty of ways to take a breather without getting behind in classwork.

Online classwork = flexibility. If you can swing it, spend a little time getting ahead in your reading, projects or assignments so you can relax.

If you don’t live near a beach and/or can’t afford the airfare (who can?) Here’s a few ideas for some springtime fun:

1. Put on your sunglasses and be a tourist in your own city
2. Give back
3. Road trip it

Some students use spring break to get ahead caught up on projects and reading. If you’re one of these souls, don’t forget that it’s good study hygiene to take a break now and then. Find ways to unplug for a little while – even if you only take an hour away here or there, recharging time is important.

Here are a couple of ideas for mini-getaways:

• Foodie field trip. This is also known as Dinner (or Lunch) Out. Go to a restaurant, sit down and relax. If you really want to live it up, shower beforehand and put on a clean shirt. You’ll feel like a new person.
• Get some Vitamin S – Sunshine. Okay, so it’s actually Vitamin D that sunlight delivers, but that’s not as catchy. At any rate, taking a brisk walk outside for twenty minutes can do wonders for you and your brain. Put the laptop aside for a little while and get moving in the great outdoors.
• Read for fun. Give your brain a rest and read something else that interests you. Spend a few minutes on something that you want to read, whether that’s a classic novel, a comic book, or a trashy magazine.
If you’re an online student, you still need a breather so you can finish the semester strong. Give yourself a much-needed break and don’t miss out on the fun. Even if you have to create your own.


Read more of my blog articles:

#springbreak2015   #onlinestudents   #readinglist  

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Math Hacks for the Returning Adult Student

According to “Fear of Math” by C. Zaslavsky, about half of all U.S. adults feel ‘math panic.’ We can begin to combat this by opening our eyes to how and why we use math every day. When we do this, we’re improving our math skills. 

For parents of elementary age kids, Math at Hand: A Mathematics Handbook (, is a great resource for tackling long forgotten match concepts and recalling math-related vocabulary. 

Real life math exercise:  Use landmarks to draw a map from your work to your house. Simple, right? You’re using geometry, measurement, algebra and mathematics problem solving skills. 
Another example:  Next time you’re at the store, estimate how much your grocery trip will cost. Boom.  Math.

There are several ways to reacquaint yourself with mathematics – from tools like flashcards to online classes, websites and math games.

Here are a handful of math hacks – simple tricks to help you manage math with confidence. 
1. Story problems have clue words to tell you how to solve them:
a. The word ‘each’ usually means multiply or divide
b. ‘Sum’ or ‘Total’ means add
c. ‘Difference’ means subtract

3. Play math games for 10 minutes each day on one of these sites:  (a big salad of math website links)

For more tips, read the entire article:


GAMES:  (a big salad of math website links)

#onlineeducation   #mathforadults   #backtoschool2015  

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The Gift of Time

There’s a scene in Irving Berlin’s classic film “White Christmas” when Bing Crosby asks Danny Kaye why it’s so important to him that he finds a partner and settles down. Kaye responds, “I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that's forty-five minutes, and I'd at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.”

In today's world, 24 hours doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything we need to do. Whether you’re a parent, a student, an employee or an employer, the demands on your time seem nonstop. 

So what are a few tricks that can get back a precious few minutes of your time?

At home: Simplify. If something has hung in your closet, taken space in a drawer or been boxed in the basement for a year (or more), donate it to someone who will use it. Clearing out some space will not only help ease the stress, it will a) make it easier for you to get to the things you really use and b) help someone else.

At work: Exercise. Make your breaks work harder for you by taking a 10- or 15-minute walk or stretching whenever you can. If your workplace offers an onsite gym, make it a habit to use it each week. You’ll benefit from the mental and physical boost that exercise brings both at work and at home.

In general: Avoid or limit time on social media. Posting this advice on a blog seems a little hypocritical, but it’s no secret that social media and the Internet are two prime suspects in The Case of the Lost Time. If you absolutely must know what’s trending, set yourself a time limit and stick to it.

For more tips, read my full blog post at


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Boost Your Learning Skills…Five Quick Ways

By the end of January, the “New Year/New Me” proclamations have worn paper thin. There are countless Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and Twitter hashtags devoted to these well-intended statements. Based on studies of human nature, we can assume the majority of people who vow to change December 31 will be back to their old selves by Groundhog Day. 

Truth be told, I like the old me. I think most of us are pretty decent human beings; not perfect, but we all want to live the kind of life we can look back on with more pride than regret. We all have ‘stuff’ to work on and plenty to learn. Rather than making broad claims of “brand new me-ness,” how about picking up a tiny new habit or two that makes it easier to continue learning and growing?  

Read the full article: and more from *Christine Shelly: 

If you want to learn it, teach it.
Taking a new class and want to make sure the material sinks in to your brain? Explain it to somebody else. 

Sing out loud.
Nobody likes memorizing a list of facts, but everybody has a favorite song. Next time you’re studying for a test (or just want to make sure you remember to pick up the dry cleaning), put the facts to music and sing it loud.

Write it down.
Like singing, the physical act of handwriting helps your brain connect with what you’re trying to learn. If you’ve become accustomed to typing everything into a tablet or laptop, the idea of using pen and paper may seem strange to you. 

Limit screen time before bed.
We’ve written before about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, and how rest helps brain function. A new study indicates that people who use their smartphone or tablet in bed do not rest as well as those who read printed books to relax at bedtime. 

Try one new thing.
Staying mentally active doesn’t have to mean starting a Ph.D. program (although that would count). Visiting a new friend, reading a section of the newspaper you don’t ordinarily read, or sampling an unfamiliar food can help stimulate your brain. Just doing one new thing can re-engage your brain and keep you mentally fit. 

Who needs a gigantic set of New Year’s Resolutions when you’re committed to lifelong learning and growing?  We’re not talking about complicated changes, just a little adjustment here or there can open up lots of possibilities. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.


#resolutionsfor2015   #newyearnewyou   #lifelonglearning   #learnsomethingnew  

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Intangible Benefits of a College Degree

You've likely read about the correlations between the amount of education an individual attains and his/her lifetime earnings. Maybe that nugget of knowledge is what spurred you on to complete your degree. 

But did you know that college graduates are also more likely to volunteer?  Or that they’re more likely to vote?  Would you believe they’re likely to be healthier?

Taxes, Voting and Volunteering Increases
One measure of a higher quality of life is the extent to which members of a society are engaged in their civic duties.  These are duties like voting, paying taxes, and volunteer service.

A college degree often means a higher salary – and a higher tax rate.  The bright side is that when you pay Uncle Sam, local, state and federal governments provide important and valuable things like better roads, schools, and community services.  A typical college graduate with a full-time job pays almost 80 percent more in federal, state and local taxes than a high school graduate.

Healthier Habits
Another indicator of a higher quality of life is better health. The College Board study found that there is a relationship between educational attainment and better health at every age and income level.  

For example, of the 20% of adults who smoke, 9% are college graduates. 69%of those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree have never smoked.  

Parenting Professionals
The biggest beneficiaries of college degrees may surprise you. The College Board study found that children of college graduates are better prepared for school and participate in more extracurricular activities, which means they will be more likely to attend college themselves.

Children of college graduates are...
—  30% more likely to participate in scouting and art related activities than children of high school graduates
—  More active in sports - 44% participated in sports activities, compared to 18% of children of high school graduates.  

To be fair, there may be other social and economic factors that play a part in this data.  Regardless, there are a number of reasons why education is a positive investment.  From better health to a bigger paycheck, a college degree is a smart investment. 

#collegedegree   #educationbenefits   #highereducation  


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First College Course or First Semester Back After Many Years....

Whether you graduated high school last May or finished TDY last Monday, if you’re starting an online education program this fall, there are some things you can do to make every semester a success.

1. Make a Degree Plan
2. Make a Study Plan
3. Show Up for Orientation and Class
4. Get Connected
5. Stay the Course

Read my entire article


Photo Credit:

#onlinedegrees   #tipsforonlinesuccess   #collegesuccess  

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Three Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for College

Summer is in its full glory. With all the sunshine and snow cones around, it hardly seems possible that college is right around the corner. When college starts, it can be a pretty big upheaval if you’re not ready for it. There’s a new routine to follow, new people to meet and new horizons to be explored.  

This can be super exciting, or terrifying, or a combination of the two.  Whether you’re about to start your first semester or your final year of college, make the transition from summer to fall by doing three things:

1. Read, read, and read some more. Your high school reading list may have been intense, but college level English literature will probably require more reading and more frequent assignments. Keep your brain nimble and prepare yourself for an increased workload by making reading a habit. Your local library may have reading lists that you can peruse for ideas. If you already have your class schedule, you could look for the syllabus or requirements and get a jump start on reading the course material.  

2. Practice managing your time. This is less about managing activities down to the minute and more about learning how to prioritize, create a schedule and stick to it. If you’ve played high school sports or participated in extracurricular activities like Model U.N, – or if you’re returning to college after working or serving in the military – time management may be second nature to you. If not, start small. Set a couple of goals for yourself and manage your time accordingly to achieve them. When you start classes in the fall, you’ll find it a little easier to keep your commitments and stay on top of your course load.

3. Work. If you worked during high school, or have served in the military, a summer job won’t be anything new to you. But if you didn’t, or if you plan to work while you’re in college, summer employment (or internship) can be a great way to get used to managing a work schedule, saving, and budgeting your money. Plus, it can help you explore career possibilities, make connections, or just save some cash for books.  

The college experience is amazing, but there are some aspects that simply take some getting used to. Make it easier on yourself by making some small adjustments now.

What are some ways you’re preparing for college? Let me know in the comments.


#college #collegeprepisimportant #collegebound  

Photo credit: Universal Studios Entertainment

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It’s rare for a career path to be neat and tidy, and even the most organized and well-crafted career plans can quickly get sidetracked. More often, the enjoyable places that we land are a result of a messy combination of hard work, life situations and surprising timing. 

Most of us at one point or another find our career paths in the middle of the mess. Read my latest article...

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Urge President Obama and your legislators in Congress to recommend Harry W. Colmery as a 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient today!
Take Action Today
Take Action Today

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Put students 1st; growth will follow. Lesson 2 in new Velocify #eBook. Get it now
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