If You’re Into Economics

Shown to me by my high school history teacher, Econ Talk has fast become my favorite podcast and has taught me more than any high school Economics 101 or political class would have, had they been offered at my school. It’s great for students and adults alike that want to learn more about economics and/or politics.

The podcast is set up almost like 60 minutes, with Russ Roberts (the host) having a conversation ranging anywhere from India’s economic past to the American Constitution to GDP’s effect on national happiness, with a professional who usually has just recently written a piece of literature in the subject area. They take you on a journey into the subject, highlighting key components to the problem, and above all making a complex economic idea into something understandable to people not as learned in economics.

One of my favorites I would definitely check out is “Kling on the Three Languages of Politics”. It outlines the thinking behind Liberalism, Conservatism and Libertarianism in a light that really opens your eyes. It makes you understand the thinking behind the other guys process.

You can listen without a cost at http://www.econtalk.org or if you have an iPod or iPhone download it with the podcast app.


The Great College Search

Its 10:30 pm on a Friday night and I’ve found myself traversing the inter-webs for colleges again and need to write about it. What I’ve found from my latest outing in college searching is that my fears of the huge impact the SAT scores have on college acceptance, is definitely affirmed. This has just been brought to my attention now because it is the key component CAPPEX uses for its college acceptance chance meter. CAPPEX is a great (and widely respected) site for any student as it lets you dump in all of your academic information and it shoots out your relevant scholarships and chances for college acceptance in any college of your choosing.

Now as a rising Junior I haven’t taken the SAT’s yet so this puts tremendous pressure on myself and students that have come to the same conclusion. This single test that has a score that can fluctuate on the amount of sleep you could accomplish the night before, determines which college you have the opportunity to attend, intern affecting the outcome of your life. So if there are any College Admission staffers out there, please hold true to the holistic style of admission colleges promise they have.


Best Summer Program For Students

To send a son or daughter away for any amount of time can be difficult for parents, and likewise for the kids if they are prone to homesickness, but if its possible it is 100% worth it. I spent six weeks after school was out at Trio Upward Bound Math Science in the University of Maine, and I feel better not only as a student scholar but as a human being.

A normal day would start out with us waking up anywhere from 5 (for the crazies that went jogging or swimming in the morning) to 7, showering then eating breakfast. From here we would leave our building on campus around 8, and either attend our 3 classes which we had a hand in signing up for, OR work on our group project. The group project’s focus changed annually and is always for the betterment of society, this past year it was sustainability and with this my group designed a dam that would generate electricity while allowing the passage of fish. After the first half of the day we would have lunch at Hilltop, the fantastic universities buffet cafeteria. Once we had gotten our fill we would go on to attend a community meeting at 12:40 and talk about the remainder of the day, give pats to each other for nice doings (sappy yet necessary), and talk about other miscellaneous things.

With the first part of the day down it starts to get really interesting. Right after lunch we go to our individual project mentor and work on our six-week long project/paper/baby, the indy project was the staple to life at Upward Bound Math Science and garnered the greatest feeling of accomplishment after the program. For my project I chose an economics mentor who helped me write a 14 page beast on Maine’s Economy, showed me the ropes of economics programs and theories, and helped calm my sometimes pugnacious nature. The mentors are more than just textbooks, they are really invested in your success and give you loads of advice for college. For the rest of they day, after indy projects you had an amalgam of dinner, free time and…. Workshops! Workshops were loved by all and hated by none, they included going to the universities Rec center, among other staff hosted activities, but the Rec center was really the heavy hitter. I don’t know if you’ve been the UMO’s Rec center but its fun, and not just your everyday I’ll go for a jog and lift some weights fun, its volleyball in a whirlpool, hitting up the upstairs suspended-in-air track, challenging strangers to tennis death matches fun. There were simply too many things to do at the Rec center.

Back to academia, after all is said and done and the projects are completed, we showcase our indy projects at the STEM Symposium. Here we give one on one presentations to judges, who the do as their name suggests and give us scores based on the poster’s appearance and presentation skills. Afterwards there is an awards ceremony for best poster, best presentation and best overall (highly coveted by us students).

With the program nearing an end the benefits of attending truly became apparent. First we were able to socialize with high-caliber students for six weeks, forcing growth in collegiate social skills. Then we got to create a bona-fide scientific paper and poster with our individual project which you just know colleges are going to love. Coupled with the indy project was the group project, it gave similar benefits to the indy but demanded group cohesion, growing our group working skills exponentially. Finally we all just became better people. Somewhere along the way it happened, be it from the college atmosphere, living with 35 other teenagers or the community service we did at the local farm, it definitely happened.

And for the cost of all of this… We were granted $500!

Maine’s Changing Job Market and Economic Predictors

My individual project talked about in this post. It used a couple economic programs like Excel and Eviews to look at Maine’s composition by employment sector and economic indicators I.E how lobster prices, home values, energy prices, potato production, tourism employment affect Maine’s economy.

Forget Girl Problems, Colleges are the Real Deal Here

To compete in today’s economy a college degree is becoming ever more important. This being said, myself along with millions of other students have to be aware of this looming stage in our lives that gets one step closer at every senior graduation. In this post I want to delve into my college experiences I have had up to this point in my life.

The first major collegiate encounter I’ve had was visiting the Maine State College Fair at Bowdoin College. The excitement of being on such a prestigious campus fueled the inner college hunting passion within us students. My first stop at the fair (a symposium type setup with representatives from each major colleges in Maine) was of course Bowdoin. I approached the stand and was greeted with a warm professional smile, this wasn’t her first rodeo. We talk about tough competitors like Bates and Colby, we talk about the great economics program at Bowdoin which is an interest of mine, we even talk about Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix and famous alumni. Shes got me hooked. I then take a half-hearted mull over to the Bates stand, I quickly start to talk about the great Bates economics program, the cozy Bates community and even about the representatives kids! This process repeats itself a few times each with a new college/love. The problem is that all of these colleges were attractive but as a student you get one shot to pick the college you will attend (if you can even get in) and that’s it. Theres practically no switching because you changed your major and another college fits your needs or because you fall in love with another campus. As far as I’m concerned this isn’t just picking a school, its marriage.

Picking the school you want to attend for the next 4+ years of your life aside, is the financing catastrophe-waiting to happen involved with the venture. After All colleges are business nowadays, and their booming. Lack of resources keeps thousand top students out of the colleges of their dreams and increases income inequality in our society. To combat this our government has implemented measures like Pell grants and other need based aid but this does not cover all or even the majority of the expenses and leaves countless students in huge debt at the worst possible time, post graduation. This leads to a major fear for us students. Now it might not be so bad if you had debt but loved your job, you could pay it off eventually right? Well let me paint this picture, you graduate college with $30,000 debt around the Maine average, but hate your job. Every day you go to work for the sole purpose of paying off this debt and you know you can’t go back to school with this much debt already and will be stuck with the occupation for the rest of your life.

Help out a student near you.