The Psychology of Lying

Even the most honest person has probably lied at least once in her or his lifetime. Sometimes lying feels justified and harmless—we call them “little white lies.” Sometimes lying feels necessary in order to keep the peace between a spouse, friend, or family member.

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But as evident in any headline-making scandal, lies may be damaging and have been known to ruin marriages, friendships, and careers. Let’s examine the psychology behind lying: who lies, what we lie about, and why we lie.

Who Lies?

It’s not necessarily clear from research the prevalence of lying. Some studies show that we all lie, and we lie nearly every day. Others conclude that the majority of people are essentially honest—they don’t lie at all, or they don’t lie all that much.

Studying lying isn’t necessarily easy. Many such studies involve having people keep a diary of when they lie over a certain period of time. But there’s no way to tell whether people are being honest in their self-reporting—and people who lie might lie about whether they do and how often they do it.

However, some general trends have emerged about who lies.

What Do We Lie About?

People lie about all kinds of things, depending on who they are lying to. A common lie that both women and men use is “I’m fine.” But there are some differences between the lies men and women make.

Men have admitted to lying about their whereabouts (“I’m stuck in traffic” / “I’m on the way”), a partner’s appearance (“No, your butt doesn’t look big in that”), and gifts they’ve received (“It’s just what I’ve always wanted!”).

Women also lie about gifts they receive, but also about feeling ill (“I have a headache”) and about finances (“It wasn’t that expensive”). It seems that when a man or woman thinks that the truth will make their partner angry, they lie about what they find to be harmless.


Why We Lie

Psychologist Robert Feldman has spent many years studying lying. His research showed that when people felt their self-esteem was threatening, they began to lie at higher levels.

Feldman also found that women often have different motives for lying than men, observing:

“Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better.”

—Psychologist Robert Feldman

People lie in relationships for a number of reasons.

  • Fear of disappointing or angering their partner
  • To avoid conflict
  • To cover up bad behavior
  • They don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings
  • For the thrill of it

Keep a lie journal for a week. Write down every lie you tell, who you told it to, and then, delve into the psychology of why you felt compelled to tell it. After that, if you’re hungry for more psychology knowledge, you can search for a psychology program that fits in with your life!


Santa Claus Is Coming to Town…

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to kick off the festivities than by delving into the mystery behind the man with the magical belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly? So buckle up, because we’re about to dive deep into the holly-jolly world of Santa Claus—the guy who somehow manages to visit every house in the world in one night.

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10 Fun Facts About Santa Claus

  1. He’s based on a Greek bishop named St. Nicholas, who lived in what is now Turkey in the third century A.D.
  2. He delivers gifts to children at a rate of about 22 million children per hour.
  3. You can “track” his Christmas Eve journey using Google’s Santa Tracker or NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command).
  4. He was awarded a pilot’s license by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce in 1927.
  5. There is a Santa University in Colorado where people study how to be Santa.
  6. A U.S. town is named after him: Santa Claus, Indiana.
  7. The average age that children in the U.S. stop believing in him is about 8–81/2.
  8. In a popular song in Australia, his sleigh is pulled by six big kangaroos—”boomers” (you can listen to the song here).
  9. He gets the most letters from France.
  10. In some countries children leave Santa Claus alcohol such as sherry and beer.

The History of Santa Claus

The figure of Santa Claus has a rich and diverse history that has evolved over centuries, blending various cultural influences. The modern portrayal of Santa Claus is often traced back to the legendary figure of Saint Nicholas, a Christian bishop who lived in the 4th century in Myra, which is present-day Turkey. Saint Nicholas was known for his piety, acts of kindness, generosity, and gift-giving.

So how did a bishop in Turkey morph into a jolly old man with a penchant for red velvet suits and a long, white bear? It is widely believed that the Dutch settlers brought the tradition of Saint Nicholas, or “Sinterklaas” in Dutch, to America, where his name was translated to Santa Claus. However, there were numerous changes from Santa’s arrival in the New World in the 1600s to Santa as we know him today.

Author Washington Irving was a major force in popularizing Santa Claus in America. In 1809, he wrote a book, The History of New York, where he reinvented Saint Nicholas from a tall, somber saint to a short, stout, merry, pipe-smoking Dutchman, dressed in traditional colonial attire.

The transformation of Santa Claus gained momentum in the 19th century in the United States. Clement Thomas Moore’s poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”), published in 1823, further elaborated on the character of Santa Claus—his poem describes Santa driving a sleigh pulled by reindeer, landing on rooftops and carrying his sack down the chimney.

The popularization of this imagery was further enhanced by advertising. For example, in Coca-Cola Company’s advertising campaigns in the 1930s, the company’s artist, Haddon Sundblom, created illustrations of Santa Claus enjoying Coca-Cola, helping to shape the modern and universally recognized image of Santa.


Nice Guy or Disciplinarian?

If Santa started out as a humble, self-sacrificng, bishop, how did he wind up being the keeper of the naughty list, doling out punishments to children who aren’t up to snuff?

While we can’t be sure, there are a number of cultural influences that may be responsible.


In the shadowy corners of Alpine folklore, there lurks a character who embodies the darker, more mischievous side of Christmas cheer. Meet Krampus, jolly old St. Nick’s evil sidekick.

The tale of Krampus dates back centuries, rooted in the Alpine regions of Europe, particularly in countries like Austria, Germany, and Hungary. He is often depicted as a horned, anthropomorphic creature with hooves, a long, pointed tongue, and sharp fangs. He is typically covered in fur and carries chains, bells, and a bundle of birch branches or a whip, which are used to swat naughty children. These days, Krampus has gone from being a feared creature to a cultural icon. In Alpine villages, folks dress up as Krampus for parades that are a delightful mix of spookiness and holiday cheer.

La Befana

La Befana is a legendary figure in Italian folklore, often referred to as the Italian Christmas Witch. The character of La Befana is associated with the celebration of Epiphany, which takes place on January 6th. Unlike the traditional image of Santa Claus, La Befana is depicted as an old woman with a hunchback, dressed in tattered clothing, and flying on a broomstick.

The folklore surrounding La Befana varies across different regions of Italy, but the most common story goes like this:

On their way to visit the baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men stopped to invite La Befana to join them. But she turned them down, claiming she had too much housework! Later, she had a change of heart and decided to find the baby Jesus, but it was too late. Now, every year, she goes house to house, leaving gifts for good kiddos and a bit of coal or dark candy for the troublemakers.

Père Noël and Le Père Fouettard

As with the Krampus tradition, in France Santa Claus has an evil counterpart, Le Père Fouettard.

Père Noël, the French counterpart to the universally recognized Santa Claus, emerges as the epitome of gift-giving elegance, traveling the world to bestow gifts on children who have been good. Conversely, Le Père Fouettard, translating to “Father Whipper” in English, deals with the naughty children. Originally depicted as a sinister butcher with a penchant for kidnapping children, Le Père Fouettard underwent a transformation when Père Noël intervened, repurposing his character as a disciplinarian rather than a malevolent figure. In this reimagined role, Le Père Fouettard administers symbolic whippings or dispenses lumps of coal to children found lacking in virtuous conduct.

Odin, the Norse God

It might seem odd—even blasphemous!—to associate a god with Santa Claus. But there are a number of similarities between Odin and St. Nicholas.

One notable parallel lies in the imagery associated with Odin during the Norse celebration of Yule. Odin, often referred to as the All-Father, was believed to have embarked on a mythical journey during the winter solstice, riding his eight-legged horse. This imagery of a wise, bearded figure on a magical journey shares similarities with the modern image of Santa Claus flying on his reindeer-led sleigh.

Additionally, Odin was associated with the act of gift-giving during the Yule season. The Norse tradition involved Odin delivering gifts to those who had been virtuous and punishments to those who had behaved poorly. The adoption of certain aspects of Odin’s mythology into the evolving folklore of Christmas likely occurred as a result of cultural exchanges and the assimilation of various traditions over time.

Other Santas Around the Globe

As the holiday season swings into gear, Santa’s getting ready for the ultimate worldwide sleigh ride. But guess what? Santa isn’t just a one-size-fits-all kinda guy. He’s got a passport, a bag full of cultural flair, and a whole bunch of alter egos, depending on where you are in the world.

We’ve already discussed traditions in which Santas has an evil twist. Here are some other unusual versions of the Yuletide’s Man of the Hour.


Tomte isn’t your typical Santa Claus—he’s more like the cozy guardian of Christmas cheer. Picture a gnome-like figure with a long white beard, often dressed in traditional Swedish attire, and you’ve got the essence of Tomte. This mischievous but benevolent character is deeply rooted in Swedish folklore, and his presence is felt in homes across the country during the holiday season.

Joulupukki or Yule goat

Meet Joulupukki, the Finnish embodiment of Santa Claus. Unlike his globally recognized red-suited counterpart, Joulupukki sports a robe, often adorned in shades of blue or green. The name itself translates to “Yule Goat,” hinting at the magical partnership that defines the Finnish Christmas spirit.

In times past, Joulupukki wasn’t just a gift-giver; he had a mischievous edge. Children had to earn their presents by singing songs or reciting poems—a festive twist that adds an extra layer of charm to the Finnish holiday tradition. Enter the Yule Goat, a magical creature with roots in ancient pagan celebrations. In Nordic folklore, the Yule Goat was believed to roam from house to house, ensuring the holiday spirit was alive and well. Its origins trace back to times when people would dress as goat-like figures during winter festivities, bridging the gap between old and new traditions.

Tió de Nadal

As one of the most bizarre “Santas” on our holiday lineup, Tió de Nadal emerges as a wooden log sporting a cheerful smiley face that, believe it or not, engages in the unique act of “present defecation.”

Hailing from the Catalonian region of Spain, this endearing log finds its place beneath the Christmas tree, where children lovingly “feed” it a diet of nuts and dried fruit in the days leading up to Christmas. All the while, they ensure Tió de Nadal stays cozy under a snug blanket, treating it like an honorary member of the festive household.

When Christmas Eve arrives, children playfully wield sticks, giving poor Tió a friendly beating, all while chanting a spirited song that doesn’t shy away from mentioning bodily functions. The morning after, the little ones are in for a joyful surprise—Tió de Nadal has left behind a pile of gifts and sweets.


Congratulations, you are now most likely an very knowledgeable on Santa Claus! You’re sure to be a big hit at the next Christmas office party, as you regale your coworkers with all that you’ve learned about the big guy. You also probably have a greater cultural awareness about the hero of the Christmas season. And that’s a gift even Santa would approve of.

The True Story of Thanksgiving

In 2023, a projected 55+ million1 people in the United States will take to the road and sky to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Children will don Pilgrim hats in school plays, and large inflated turkeys will bobble and glow on front lawns.

The story of Thanksgiving has morphed into an inspiring story of welcoming indigenous peoples and grateful colonists who come together in friendship and peace. But historians argue that this story is replete with falsehoods that sugarcoat the complexities of the events before, during, and after the feast of 1621.

The Pilgrims

To better understand the dynamics of that feast in 1621, it could be helpful to have a better understanding of the group of 102 men and women who landed in Plymouth in 1620.

In 1534, England was a Roman Catholic Nation. When King Henry VIII came into power, he established a new national church known as the Church of England. While based on Catholicism, he and later his daughter Elizabeth introduced changes to differentiate this new church from the Roman Catholic Church.

Some people felt that the changes were not enough, however. They wanted to practice a more “pure” version of Christianity that was simpler and less structured. These individuals became known as “Puritans.” Another more radical faction, identified as “Separatists,” went a step further, insisting that the Church of England was irreformable. They called for the creation of entirely new and separate church.

Both groups were persecuted since, in the early 1600s, it was illegal to be part of a church other than the Church of England. The Separatists eventually relocated to the Netherlands, where they were able to practice their religion. However, after about 10 years they felt that this solution was unsatisfactory, and they decided that a small group of them would leave the Netherlands to establish a settlement in the “New World” that would tolerate religious freedom.

The Pilgrims, however, were not for religious freedom. They believed their way of worshiping God was the only way, and they were intolerant of any digressions. In fact, while their initial plan was supposedly to settle in the northern part of the Virginia Colony—which was actually the first permanent settlement by the English in North America—some believe that they never planned on settling there at all, wanting instead to be as far from Anglican control as possible.


The Wampanoags

The Wampanoags tribe, one of many nations of Native Americans living in North America when the Pilgrims arrived, have lived in the vicinity of what is now Massachusetts and Rhode Island for over 12,000 years. In the 1600s, there were nearly 70 Wampanoag villages spread across that area.

The Wampanoag were semi-nomadic, moving seasonally among fixed sites. They hunted and fished and cultivated crops such as corn and squash.

Each Wampanoag tribe had its own leader, and they, in turn, answered to the Wampanoag “Massasoit,” or “paramount leader.” When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, that leader was Ousamiquin.

While the Wampanoags were the first tribe that the Pilgrims encountered when they landed in Plymouth, the reverse is not true —the Wampanoag’s interactions with Europeans did not start with the Pilgrims. For years, English and French fishermen and explorers had clashed with the Wampanoags, capturing them and other Native Americans for slave trade. These explorers also brought with them disease. Between 1616 and 1619, a period known as the “Great Dying,” an outbreak of disease ravaged the villages of the Wampanoag, wiping out up to 90% of the population.

In fact, Squanto, a member of the Wampanoag who spoke English and was known for helping the pilgrims survive in their new environment, had learned English because he had spent years in captivity in Spain and England.

The Meeting of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag

The Pilgrims and Wampanoag did not encounter each other right away. It wasn’t until March 1621 that English-speaking Samoset and Squanto entered Plymouth carrying a message from Ousamiquin, who wanted to negotiate a peace treaty with the Pilgrims. In the subsequent treaty , the Pilgrims and Wampanoags agreed not to harm one another and to protect each other from outside attacks.

According to some historians, this treaty was initiated by Ousamiquin not so much as a gesture of friendship but as a way for him to fend off attacks by the Narragansett, a neighboring tribe who had been trying to subjugate the Wampanoag people. Despite periodic episodes of tension, both parties honored the treaty until after the death of Ousamiquin in 1661. (The subsequent fallout between the Wampanoags and New England colonies that led to the devastating King Philip’s War is a story for another article.)

The treaty might have saved the Plymouth colony from destruction. The first winter the Pilgrims experienced was brutal—about half of them died from the harsh conditions that they were unused to. In the spirit of cooperation fostered by the treaty, the Wampanoags taught the Pilgrims how to grow crops such as corn and beans and generally how to survive in their new environment. By October 1621, they had built a number of crude houses and common buildings and had propagated a bountiful harvest.

Which takes us to the events of what is known as the first Thanksgiving. Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the story of Thanksgiving is that the Pilgrims intended their celebration to include the Wampanoags. In fact, there is no record of the Pilgrims having invited the Wampanoags to their feast. Many accounts of the festival maintain that the reason the Wampanoags were even there at all was that they heard the sound of guns being fired in celebration and came to investigate. The ensuing three days could likely have been characterized more by tension and suspicion than friendship and goodwill.

Another myth is that these festivities constitute the “first” Thanksgiving in the New World. In reality, Native Americans in North America had been giving thanks for bountiful harvests for years. And there are recorded accounts of thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S. that occurred long before the Pilgrims arrived. In fact, some consider the first thanksgiving to be the 1556 celebration between Spanish settlers and about 200 Indians in St. Augustine, Florida .)

Story of Thanksgiving

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The Evolution of Thanksgiving

In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday as a way to foster unity between the north and south. But Lincoln’s proclamation did not mention anything about the Pilgrims or the celebration that took place in 1621. So how did the Thanksgiving we celebrate today become equated with the story of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags in 1621?

It may well likely have been due to the influence of author Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale was the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” but her achievements go far beyond the penning of that rhyme. She was the writer and editor of an influential women’s magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book, and is also attributed as having been the driving force behind Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation. For years she had used her writings to urge politicians to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. A letter she wrote to President Lincoln about the matter is often considered to be instrumental in Lincoln’s decision.

Hale herself made the connection between the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving in an editorial she wrote in 1865: “To the Eastern colonies we must look for the beginning of this custom. The Pilgrim Fathers incorporated a yearly thanksgiving day among the moral influences they sent over the New World.” And in 1872 she wrote a hymn in tribute to Thanksgiving, referencing the “faithful Pilgrim Fathers” and “Their first Thanksgiving Day.”

The connection was repeated by newspapers and other magazines, began appearing in school textbooks, and took hold. We’ll never know for sure why Sarah Hale made this connection, or whether she was indeed the one responsible for popularizing it. By some accounts, it was a group of pilgrim descendants who planted the seeds in 1769 because they felt that their cultural authority was eroding and that New England was becoming less relevant with other colonies. Whatever the origins, equating Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Wampanoags perpetuates a story fraught with inaccuracies and insensitive to the realities of the plight of Native Americans in this country.

National Day of Mourning

In 1970, Frank James, then leader of the Wampanoag, was invited to speak at a Thanksgiving state dinner marking the anniversary of the Mayflower. But James would not be silenced about the treatment of his people, and he wrote a scathing account of how the Pilgrims stole food, desecrated graves, and spread disease among his people.

The organizers found the speech to be inappropriate and was “uninvited” to the dinner.

Instead, he led supporters to Cole’s Hill, next to the statue of Ousamiquin, and read his speech. This became the first official National Day of Mourning, which has been celebrated in that location every day since.


So where does all this unraveling of history leave us? Should we stop celebrating Thanksgiving altogether? Not necessarily. But it is important to understand what really happened, both before and after 1621, to be cognizant of the misconceptions that have been perpetuated, and to be sensitive to the lasting effect the myths of Thanksgiving have had on the Wampanoag and Native Americans as a whole.


1Projections by AAA:,the%20Thanksgiving%20holiday%20travel%20period*.

More than a Mom: The Reality of Today’s Working Mother

Working Mom Stats

You don’t need to be a mother to know that moms are capable of some pretty fantastic and seemingly unbelievable feats. Over the last century, a mother’s role of being designated to the home has evolved to incorporate working women into the world. “Working moms” have also become such a common idea in households across America that it’s almost assumed that if you’re a mother, you’re working as well. Everyone probably knows at least one working mother, but do you know just how many mothers juggle working and raising children simultaneously? According to the Department of Labor, in 2022 there were 21.7 million working mothers in the United States with children under the age of 18.1 That’s like if the entire population of Florida consisted of working moms!2 The increase of working mothers in America made a gradual but significant increase from 1975 and peaked around 2005.3 And while in 1960, only 11% of women were the sole breadwinners of the household, that number rose to 40% in 2012.3 The Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor reports that the median weekly earnings for mom in 2022 was $908—which, based in a 52-week year, comes to an annual salary of $47,216. Fathers, on the other hand, earned $1,316 per week, or $68,432 per year.

“The United States ranks last in government-supported time off for new parents,5 with no weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks of protected leave.”

Working Mothers with New Babies

The length and stipulations of maternity leave in the United States is a hotly debated topic today. The United States ranks last in government-supported time off for new parents,5 with no weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks of protected leave.6 In comparison, Estonia leads the world in leave for new parents, with 108 weeks of paid leave and 180 weeks of protected leave.3

“Sons of working mothers spent more time helping with family and household chores than sons who had stay-at-home mothers. Another interesting finding is that men who grew up with working moms were more likely to seek and encourage a spouse who works as well.”

More Than a Mom : Working Mother

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While there are some mothers who return to work because they wish to, this lack of government-supported family leave causes many mothers to return to work with a new baby at home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau,7 the majority of mothers who had a baby were back at work that year. In addition, women who are more educated were more likely to return to work. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher (based on median earnings for full-time wage and salary workers not broken down by gender) typically earn more per week than those with just a high school diploma,8 it seems as though working mothers new and old may want to consider enhancing their college education.

“The Department of Labor states that the occupation in which the highest number of  moms employed is registered nurses.9” 

You’ll generally find working mothers in nearly every industry you can think of, but there are definitely some occupations that tend to show a higher concentration of working mothers. The Department of Labor9 states that the top ten occupations employing working moms in 2021 were:

  1. Registered nurses  
  2. Elementary and middle school teachers         
  3. Other managers
  4. Secretaries and administrative assistants, excluding legal, medical, and executive
  5. Customer service representatives
  6. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  7. Nursing assistants
  8. Maids and housekeeping cleaners
  9. Teaching assistants
  10. Cashiers

In half of these occupations, moms are overrepresents—that is, there are more moms employed than non-moms.

“Some jobs are particularly suited for remote work. Examples include customer service representative and graphic designer.”

Working Mothers Don’t Necessarily Have to Leave the House

The shift towards remote work, particularly working from home, has become a prominent aspect of the modern workforce. This trend has been accelerated by improvements in technology, changes in work culture, and, notably, global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many organizations to adapt quickly. Mothers who work at home face a unique challenge: balancing professional responsibilities with the constant presence of their children. However, managing to get work done while kids are around is a skill that many mothers have honed through a combination of creativity, patience, and effective time management.

Some jobs are particularly suited for remote work. Here are some examples.

1 Website Developer

Web developers design, create, and maintain websites.


2023 median annual salary

2 Marketing Specialist

These professionals investigate the conditions in local, regional, national, or online markets to assess the potential sales of a product or service or to strategize a marketing or advertising campaign. Learn how to become a Market Research Analyst here!


2023 median annual salary

3 Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work with both images and text to develop the production design for applications such as logos, advertisements, brochures, books, and magazines.


2023 median annual salary

4 Data Entry Specialist

These specialists are responsible for inputting and managing data in computer systems or databases using specialized software or other tools.


2023 median annual salary

5 Customer Service Representative

CS representatives work with customers to answer questions, resolve problems, handle complaints, and process orders.


2023 median annual salary

The Future Trend of Working and Stay-at-Home Moms

There will probably never be an answer to debate on whether being a stay-at-home mother or a working mom is better for children, but perhaps there doesn’t need to be one. Some women choose to participate in the workforce and some work out of necessity. An interesting finding by the Pew Research Center is that after 10 years of an increase in working mothers, there seems to be a switch over to an increase in stay-at-home mothers.3 The researchers note that this may be due to the fact that would-be stay-at-home moms entered the workforce during the economic uncertainty that preceded and followed the Great Recession of 2007.

No matter how much the numbers of working mothers rise and fall, there will typically be millions of working women who need to, but also want to, develop their careers while also raising children. The traditional nuclear family—stay-at-home mother, bread-winning father, and two children—has generally become a relic of the past, and the idea of a “traditional” family seems to be becoming more and more indefinable as the twenty-first century marches on.

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Germs: Killers and Contaminators

WARNING: What you are about to read may make you seriously germophobic!

The world contains more harmful germs than you might realize. And the places germs do and don’t hide out may really surprise you. Of course, icky microorganisms are not entirely avoidable, and you shouldn’t let fear of germs take over your life. But if you have small children, you are planning to enter a medical profession, or you just want to be savvier about staying clean and avoiding illness, you’re in the right place!

A Brief History of Germs

“Louis Pasteur, the father of pasteurization, was also an important figure in the early study of germs. He proved that microorganisms present in the air could also grow on food, causing it to spoil.”

Naturally, germs have been around forever. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that people finally began to accept and understand the germ theory of disease. According to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, before then most people didn’t realize that germs could make them sick, or that hand washing could prevent illness and save lives. In fact, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweiss discovered that medical students often delivered babies after dissecting corpses, failing to wash their hands in between! When Semmelweiss insisted that students start washing their hands, the death rate of new mothers dropped significantly.

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Louis Pasteur, the father of pasteurization, was also an important figure in the early study of germs. He proved that microorganisms present in the air could also grow on food, causing it to spoil. Inspired by Pasteur, a Scottish surgeon names Joseph Lister began using carbolic acid to clean his patients’ wounds. And once penicillin was discovered by accident in 1928, the war on germs was in full swing!

“But how long do germs survive? Certain viruses could live on your hands for as long as an hour, giving you plenty of time to spread your cold to everyone in the office or classroom! Certain kinds of bacteria and protozoa, like staph and Giardia, may be able to live for months outside a human body.”

How Are Germs Spread?

There are several common means by which germs are spread. One obvious way is from nose, mouth, or eyes to hand to others—like when you have a cold and you shake someone’s hand after you’ve been blowing your nose all day. You could also transmit germs from your hands to food that you are preparing. And in the case of food borne bacteria like salmonella, it’s all too easy to transmit germs from food to hands to food; an example is handling raw chicken and then making a salad without properly washing your hands first. Caring for kids and animals could lead to the spread of germs, too.

But how long do germs survive? Certain viruses could live on your hands for as long as an hour, giving you plenty of time to spread your cold to everyone in the office or classroom! Certain kinds of bacteria and protozoa, like staph and Giardia, may be able to live for months outside a human body. And fungi like Candida, or yeast, may hang out for months on anything from your towels to your favorite lipstick. Talk about gross!

The germs you encounter in innocent places could do some serious damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2020–21 flu season saw as many as 5,000 people die from influenza in the U.S.”5

What Public Places Are the Germiest?

If people had to take a guess, they’d might say public toilets are hotspots for dangerous germs. The surprising answer is that most toilets are not as dirty as you might think. With about 1,000 units of bacteria per square inch,1 the average toilet seat is about 10 times cleaner than your mobile phone!2 A typical bathroom floor, on the other hand, could home to as many as 2 million bacteria per square inch.3 Some other surprising culprits include restaurant menus, bathroom soap dispensers, steering wheels, and airplane armrests. And don’t forget the bottoms of your shoes, which may each carry as many as 421,000 units of bacteria, including E. coli, meningitis, and Klebsiella pneumonia.4

Schools are also breeding grounds for bacteria, with the worst offenders being water fountains, cafeteria trays, and faucet handles. As reported by Today’s Parent, kids who enter daycare may be exposed to all kinds of harmful germs, like cold viruses, stomach bugs, and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Shared toys, food, and being in close contact with other kids are usually to blame. And consider that a single bathroom for an entire classroom of kids may mean infrequent hand washing; in fact, over half of school kids claimed they did not have time to scrub up before meals.

The germs you encounter in innocent places could do some serious damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2020–21 flu season saw as many as 5,000 people die from influenza in the U.S.5 A Methicillin-resistant strain of staph, which is found in many public places including taxis, may cause as many as 80,000 invasive infections each year (CDC).6 And 1.2 million people get sick from salmonella annually (CDC)7; that’s as if the entire population of Dallas, Texas contracted this dangerous foodborne illness!

And Then There’s COVID-19…

The advent of COVID-19 in 2019 put a whole new spin on germs. Over 1 million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States—it’s serious business.

COVID-19 spreads via droplets and very small particles that an infected person breathes out. Others might breathe in these droplets and particles, or they might land on their eyes, nose, or mouth. In some circumstances, these droplets may contaminate surfaces they touch.

The CDC provides a number of recommendations about preventative actions that could be taken, such as improving ventilation, getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID, and staying at home if you test positive for COVID. 

You may think you already practice frequent hand washing. But actually, most people don’t wash their hands correctly. For starters, you need to scrub your hands long enough to actually kill germs, which means at least 20 seconds. You can sing yourself the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice in your head to make sure you’ve spent enough time under the faucet!”

How to Protect Against Germs

An obvious solution to staying healthy may be washing your hands regularly. The CDC recommends washing your hands before, during, and after handling food (including pet food), eating, caring for the sick, coming into contact with human or animal waste, touching garbage, tending to a wound, using the toilet, and coughing or sneezing. That list is not exhaustive, but it’s safe to say there are many times throughout the day when it’s important to scrub up! You may think you already practice frequent hand washing. But actually, most people don’t wash their hands correctly. For starters, you need to scrub your hands long enough to actually kill germs, which means at least 20 seconds. You can sing yourself the “Happy Birthday” song twice in your head to make sure you’ve spent enough time under the faucet! Another little-known hand washing fact is that how you dry your hands makes all the difference. As reported by Infection Control Today, wet hands are about 1,000 times likelier to spread bacteria than dry hands,8 and rubbing your hands together while drying may actually cause bacteria to multiply. The CDC suggests that using paper towels may be a better option, because they physically wipe bacteria off your hands.

”Germs live in your body, on plants and animals, and even in the air you breathe. In short, it’s impossible to eliminate germs from your life, and you might go crazy if you tried! In most cases, your immune system protects you from infection, allowing you to go about your day without worrying too much.”

If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be an okay stand-in. Other common sense tips include avoiding people who are sick, regularly disinfecting surfaces, and keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. A more unusual tip: consider a fist-bump instead of a handshake, since it spreads about 1/10 the amount of germs of a handshake.

Should You Worry?

Germs live in your body, on plants and animals, and even in the air you breathe. In short, it’s impossible to eliminate germs from your life, and you might go crazy if you tried! In most cases, your immune system protects you from infection, allowing you to go about your day without worrying too much. Of course, almost everyone has experienced a nasty cold or bug they wished they could have avoided, and some infections are even life-threatening. Understanding the dangers and how to avoid them is important to staying safe, healthy, and (mostly) in control of the nasty germs you encounter!

Dive Right In!

Now that you probably have a better understanding of germs—what they are, and how to combat them—you might feel better about pursuing a healthcare career. There are numerous opportunities in healthcare, from nurses to doctors, surgical technicians to home health aides. Educational requirements vary for different healthcare occupations, but some positions only require a certificate, which could take anywhere from several weeks to a year.

By following the recommendations in this article, and any requirements in your place of employment, you could stay germ-free in your healthcare career!


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What Students Are Saying About Online Education

Online education or online learning has gotten its share of bad press, particularly before it became a necessity due to COVID-19. There was skepticism and mistrust about the quality of online courses. People wondered, Are online colleges legit? Is it possible to find a good online school? Online learning was sometimes seen as a less rigorous, less interactive, and less credible alternative to traditional classroom settings.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced an unprecedented shift to online learning for many educational institutions, and the numbers of online students increased significantly. Before COVID, in 2019, 37% of undergraduate and graduate students were enrolled in online college courses.1 In 2020, during the peak of COVID, the percentage jumped to 74%.2 Although the percentage decreased to 60% in 2021,2 it is still significant compared to pre-COVID numbers.

Does this increase in online students indicate a change in perception of the quality and desirability of online education? Aslanian Market Research, part of EducationDynamics (EdDY), has been conducting surveys of online students for a number of years in order to examine trends in the scope and perceptions of online education. Their results provide a window into what online college students are saying about this form of study.

Benefits of Online Education

Apparently, students have a lot of good things to say about online education!

Online study is worth the cost

Agree or strongly agree: 87%

Cost is typically a major consideration for students embarking on postsecondary education. They worry not only about the affordability of college, but also whether their expenditure will be worth it in the end.

In 2022, a whopping 87% of online students reported that their online education was worth the cost. This number has grown significantly over the years: In 2017, only 71% of online students agreed or strongly agreed that online education was worth the cost. In 2021, this number jumped to 74%, and in 2022, it reached 87%. This trend could indicate a positive shift in student perceptions of online learning.

Online study allows me to complete my studies faster

Agree: 86%

Online learning offers a unique advantage for students looking to expedite their studies and finish their programs faster. With the flexibility and accessibility that online platforms provide, students could have the freedom to create their own schedules and learn at their own pace, allowing them to optimize their time and focus on their coursework efficiently. Because online college classes can typically be taken at any time, students don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts and might thus be able to fit in more courses in a shorter timeframe.

Additionally, online learning eliminates the need for commuting to a physical campus, saving time and energy.

My personal productivity is improved by studying online

Agree: 85%

The flexibility of online study gives students the freedom to choose when and where they study, which could allow for better alignment with their peak productivity hours. Moreover, online courses often provide resources such as recorded lectures, notes, and study materials, which could be revisited at any time for review and reinforcement, helping students achieve their educational goals more efficiently.

Online study might also result in fewer distractions—provided students create dedicated study spaces at home that are free from clutter and noise, and away from distractions such as social media or television—which means they could concentrate better and potentially achieve higher levels of productivity. And being able to take breaks as needed rather than at specified times could help reduce burnout and improve focus.

Online study made me more motivated to complete my studies

Agree: 84%

Motivation is an important component of achievement—without the drive to reach a particular goal, it could be very difficult to accomplish it. Online learning requires students to create their own schedule and stay on top of their studies—thus, students take ownership of their learning journey, which could make them more vested in seeing it through.

In addition, the majority of online students cited career-related factors, such as earning more money or getting a promotion, as their primary objective for pursuing an online degree. Students who have a specific objective focused on their career could be more motivated to complete their studies than those who haven’t identified any targeted goals for attending college.

I was able to easily navigate the technology and learning management system for my classes

Agree: 84%

With online education, being able to successfully interact with technology is particularly important, since it is the primary avenue for instruction. Apparently, the majority of online students have been able to rise to the challenge!

My teachers were prepared to teach online

Agree: 83%

The transition to online instruction posed significant challenges for many teachers in various aspects. Firstly, adapting to the technological tools and platforms required a steep learning curve for many educators. They had to quickly familiarize themselves with new software, video conferencing platforms, and online learning management systems, often with limited training and support.

Additionally, the shift from in-person to online instruction changed the dynamics of classroom management and student engagement. Teachers had to find innovative ways to recreate interactive learning experiences, foster meaningful discussions, and maintain student participation remotely.

Despite these difficulties, teachers have demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability, utilizing technology and pedagogical strategies to ensure effective online instruction and support their students’ learning journeys. And it seems that online students are happy with the results!

I had a connection to my teachers during my online study

Agree: 78%

I had a connection to my classmates during my online study

Agree: 72%

An early concern about online education was that it would be less interactive than traditional in-class education and make students feel isolated from their teachers and classmates. However, based on the EdDY study, this appears not to be the case for the majority of students.

Online colleges have had to transform the traditional classroom setting in order to provide opportunities for students to connect with their teachers and classmates. By leveraging technology, online programs offer students a range of virtual platforms to engage with instructors and peers, build relationships, and foster a sense of community. Through live virtual lectures or video conferencing, students could interact with their instructors in real time, ask questions, and receive personalized feedback. Additionally, virtual office hours and online chat rooms could allow students to engage more intimately with their instructors, creating a conducive environment for sharing insights, gaining clarification, and receiving academic support.

Students can also check available online graduate programs if looking for an opportunity to pursue graduate school online.

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

What Students Are Saying About Online Education

Want to use this Benefits of Online Education infographic on your site? Just use the code below!

Suggestions For Improvement

How could online education be improved? Students from the survey had several thoughts about that.

Online programs should include an introductory course about “how to study online” or workshops to prepare students for online study

Agree: 85%

While the majority of students agreed that they were able to easily navigate the technology in their online program, there is more to online education than the technology. Students who have never taken courses online might wonder, What is online college like? How do online colleges work? An orientation course could go a long way in helping students know what to expect and feel more comfortable as they begin their online education journey.

Online programs should include “cohorts” of students who have the same career goals in order to build relationships

Agree: 82%

The EdDY survey reports that the majority of students felt a connection with their peers, but it doesn’t reveal the extent or nature of these connections—in particular, whether students were able to build networking relationships within their field of study. Networking is considered by many to be an important component of finding a job and enhancing one’s career, and thus it should be a priority for online programs to find ways to help students create these types of connections.

Online courses should include virtual field trips and/or simulations

Agree: 76%

Ah, the school field trip! Many of us may have fond memories of the field trips taken throughout our years of primary and secondary education—and apparently online students are looking to recreate those experiences as well.

Vote By Mail Common Issues

Vote By Mail Common Issues

As Americans are preparing to vote by mail in large numbers in the 2020 Presidential Elections, we wanted to make you all aware of the many vote by mail common issues. This year is different than any other election. The COVID-19 pandemic as a whole are changing the way people want to vote. Some states are working to make it possible for more people to vote using mail ballots. No matter who you plan to vote for, it is important to know how to ensure your vote counts.

Many Republicans and Democrats want a fair election. Many have pushed to ensure registered voters have access to polling places and mail voting. The U.S. Postal Service is working to ensure ballot applications and absentee ballots allow for early voting in a fair manner. 

Yet, many of the vote by mail common issues come from simple mistakes that voters make. Human error is a big factor in why your vote may not make the count. This may be even more common if you have never voted before and are unsure of the process. That is why it is so important for you to take the time to follow the rules as closely as possible. Become familiar with the process. Read through your state’s requirements. These are simple things to do to help protect your vote.

First, not all states are allowing mail in voting as a result of the pandemic. Many have rules about who are eligible vote. Make sure you are a registered voter before you request a ballot, for example. The key to remember is it is possible in most states to vote from home. Yet, you need to know the rules and timelines for doing so.

Vote by Mail Mistakes That Cost

Many election officials want each and every vote to count. This applies to the general election. It also applies to any local election.& Many locations have very specific voting rules. This includes for in person voting. These rules may work to reduce voter fraud.

To make sure your vote counts for the November Election, follow the guidelines of the state’s Secretary of State when it comes to mail elections or in person elections. Most importantly, try to avoid these common mistakes.

Improperly Filled Out Ballots

Fill out the ballot accurately, completely, and properly. Many voters receive a package of information that outlines the process and procedures. Each state is a bit different. Follow the requirements and information set by your state. 

Mistakes in filling out ballots may be numerous. Not completing the ballot is one of them. Another is getting the ballot dirty or allow it to be damaged. Fill it out on a flat, clean, dry surface. Remove all risk of spills when possible. Read through all of the instructions as a next step. 

Ballot technology needs to be able to pick up on the selections you choose. These machines – which may work a bit like those old tests called Scantrons you took in grade school – need to pick up on the color and position of your marks. That is why you may have instructions telling you what color or type of ink to use. Using red ink or marker may be a key problem with these. 

Make sure you keep those marks within the box. Avoid making any marks outside of these boxes or areas. Stray marks on other areas may cause confusion. 

Only fill in the right spaces. For example, only fill in one box in a multiple choice question or area. If you fill in two, or leave a stray mark in one box and fill in another, that may cause confusion. That may mean your vote does not count. 

What happens if a ballot does have mistakes like this?

Many states use canvassing boards. These are people who may make decisions by looking at the ballots by hand. This is important for many reasons. When a person uses an in person voting system, called a tabulator, it immediately shoots back a ballot that is not filled in properly. It kicks it back to the voter. The voter then may make decisions or fix it. You know there is an error. This does not happen with mail in voting. There is no way to know the problem until it goes through the system at the voting office. There is no second chance opportunity to fix these mistakes. 

The best rule – take your time to ensure you use the right ink, fill in just the area you should, and protect that ballot from any damage.

Signing the Envelope

Another potential problem with ballots has to do with signing the actual envelope. States go through a process to verify that the ballot is legitimate. They need to be sure the right person is casting the ballot. To do this, they verify information. One part of that is having the voter sign an affidavit.

Every state has rules for the affidavit. It is generally located on the outside of the envelope. This is the envelope that holds the mail ballot. This signature means that the person submitting the ballot is affirming their identity. They are also stating they are eligible to vote in this election. 

It is sometimes common for these signatures to be missing. If they are missing, the ballot may not be cast for you. Remember, this is an additional signature that is noted on the outside of the envelope. It is not just the signature required inside on the application.

Signatures That Do Not Match

In a primary election like this, details matter. Many times, mistakes are made in how voters sign their ballot. When mailing ballots, the signatures on the interior of the ballot and on the ballot’s envelope must match. If they do not, that may be an indication of fraud to the voting officials. Sign the ballot in the same way every time. 

In addition to this, many states have systems in place to double check signatures. This is not just on the ballot received but also going further back. They may check the ballot’s signature to the one on file with the election board or county clerk’s office. Some may check the ballot signature with the one on the absentee ballot application provided. Some may use other government files or systems to determine if they match. This may include the Department of Motor Vehicles or other government agencies. 

The belief is that matching signatures like this helps to verify the authenticity of the ballot. In some situations, states go further. They may make it necessary for a voter to verify his or her signature. This may be done, for example, by requiring one or two witnesses to sign the document. These people should be over the age of 18. In some cases, a notary public or other official witness must sign the absentee ballot. 

Why So Many Rules?

These rules aim to help make submitting votes safer. Yet, this added security may increase the risk of mistakes that may lead to a vote not being counted. Sometimes, they are not rejected. Rather, the election officials may challenge them. This means the officials want more information or verification of the accuracy of the voting. 

It may be more common for younger voters to have problems with this. You may struggle if you sign your name in different ways, for example. If you do not have any experience with signing official documents, that may also make it a bit harder to complete this form with confidence. 

Some states do have a cure process. This allows the voter a chance to correct the problem with their signatures. This may allow their ballot to be counted. However, if there is limited time, that may not be possible.

Voters Fail to Provide Necessary Documentation

Some states require voters to do a bit more work to obtain their absentee ballot and to submit it for it to be counted. Mail balloting is not always a simple process. When it comes to mail, states differ on these requirements. Use the resources below to verify what your state requires to minimize the risk of problems reported by elections officials. 

As noted previously, some states require voters to submit their ballots with witness signatures as well. Some also require identification to be sent in with the ballot. This may include a photo copy of a state-issued identification. It may include submitting information about Social Security numbers – such as the last four digits of the number – with the application. In other cases, a driver’s license or state ID number must be submitted. 

A mistake some people make is not knowing these requirements. If a voter makes a mistake with his or her driver’s license number, for example, that may lead to a challenge or rejection of the ballot. Small mistakes like this may be costly to you when voting. 

Missing Deadlines for Sending the Ballot Back 

States set the rules for when absentee ballots must be returned. Some states have elections officials go through the applications to verify signatures. That takes time. That means voters must return the absentee ballots in enough time to allow that to be done. Also, if there is a challenge to a ballot, there needs to be some time to allow for the ballot to be returned. Then, the voter has to cast another ballot. Or, he or she may need to supply other details. That, too, takes time. 

A key mistake then is not following instructions for returning the document. Many applications for ballots as well as the ballots themselves have instructions on how and when to return ballots. Some states have rules about using universal mail. Delays with the post office may also make it hard for voters to cast a ballot in time if they wait too long. 

Tight deadlines are a critical factor. If you plan to vote, be sure this information is understood. The postmark on your ballot has to be within the specifications set by the state. Doing this before that date may be helpful, too, to help avoid any delays related to the post office.

Voter Mistakes & Statistics You Should Know

To help you get ready to vote, consider a few of the key statistics about voting by mail as well as voting in general. Avoid all of these vote by mail common issues!

Vote by Mail Policies for Your State

If you plan to vote in the presidential election, be sure to check your state’s specific rules. States allow voters to place their vote in various ways. You should still know about voter registration and absentee ballot requests. 

Here is the link to each state’s rules. You may also verify it through the National Conference of State Legislatures:

How Much Do College Professors Make?

How Much Do College Professors Make?

Ever wondered about the earnings of college professors? If you’re considering a career in teaching, you might be curious about their income. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for professors stands at $84,380 per year, as of May 2023. However, several factors influence a professor’s salary, such as their experience, training, and educational background. While salary range is essential, it’s not the only aspect to consider when delving into the world of professorship. Many professors go above and beyond, engaging in scholarly article publications and conducting research. Those who complete graduate school often earn at the national average mentioned above. So, how much do college professors earn?

Types of College Professors

Many people do not know there are numerous types of college professors. They range based on the type of work they do. They also range based on their experience and how long they have worked for the school. Here are some types of college professors. 

Law Professor

Annual Median wage: $127,360

Law professors have a primary focus on teaching law, which encompasses various aspects, such as social justice and political science. Becoming a law professor typically involves earning a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from a reputable law school and passing the bar exam. Some may have graduated from renowned law schools, while others might have a background in legal practice. Many law professors engage in publishing law reviews and contributing to legal journals as part of their academic endeavors. 

Economics Professor

Annual Median wage: $115,300

Economics professors primarily specialize in teaching business courses, with a particular emphasis on economics. In many academic institutions, a Ph.D. is often a requirement for individuals to become economics professors. These professors typically possess extensive experience in the field, often having worked as economics educators for a considerable period before assuming professorial positions. Many of them have also contributed to the field through publications in recognized economic journals and publications. 

Engineering Professors

Annual Median wage: $106,910

Engineering professors typically specialize in specific areas of engineering. For example, some may be civil engineering professors, imparting knowledge about the construction industry and city planning. Their expertise could encompass roads, airports, water supply systems, and other related fields. On the other hand, mechanical engineering professors may teach math and physics courses while also engaging with computer design and programming. Their role involves guiding students in understanding machine construction. Becoming a professor in these disciplines often requires a Ph.D. qualification. 

Health Specialties Professors

Annual Median wage: $105,650

Health specialties professors teach at all levels of health care science and medicine. Most of the time, these professionals hold a medical degree and license. (That may include an MD, MBChB, MBBCh, DO, MBBS, or BMBS). Many could also have some experience working in the field. They often have education credits to their name as well. Most often, schools require these professors to have experience. 

Science Professors

Annual Median wage: $100,690

These professors often specialize in specific fields, such as earth science, atmospheric science, or marine science. With extensive education and research background in their respective areas, they bring a wealth of knowledge to their students. Geoscience professors, for instance, typically hold a PhD, indicating their involvement in the research aspect of their field. Many academic institutions seek professors with published research projects, reflecting their active contributions to the scientific community. Moreover, some of these professors may also possess practical experience within their field, further enriching their teaching approach. Years of educational experience contribute to their expertise, making them valuable mentors for aspiring students. 

Physics Professors

Annual Median wage: $98,020

This is another science type of professor. These teachers will often teach at a higher level of science. They tend to have more advanced training, but also more working knowledge in these fields. This may include a nuclear or quantum science degree. Others may work in astro physics. Hands on experience is helpful. Most important is having a research study or to be published for scientific findings to work as a physics professor. Many may also have a PhD in their selected field. 

Architecture Professors

Annual Median wage: $105,770

Architecture professors may have worked in this field in some form for years. Some may hold a PhD in this area. This type of instruction is heavily science and math based. That is why this type of teacher often holds an advanced education in these areas. Some are published. Others are known for their innovation and successful projects. 

Business Professors

Annual Median wage: $97,130

Business professors are often versatile. They may teach a range of different aspects of business. Some may concentrate in one or more areas. This may include business management or marketing. Finance and accounting professors are also very focused. Many business professors have advanced degrees. This could be a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree or a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). It also may be common for business professors to have working experience in some area. Many of these teachers could be published in academic journals. They often have a significant amount of experience in public events or academic conferences. 

Computer Science Professors

Annual Median wage: $96,430

Computer science professors work with students teaching programming and software engineering. They often have a lot of skills in this area from their own studies. Many may have a PhD. Some could have worked for industry leaders. They may have concentration in areas of information technology. Others may have experience in computer engineering solely. These professors may also be some of the leaders in their field.

Biology Professors

Annual Median wage: $83,920

These professors teach in areas like biology or zoology. They may often be published in research reports or may have conducted research studies. They may focus in specific areas of biology, though some are more general. Often, they hold a PhD. Biology instructors are often involved in research. Research grants and programs may help make this possible. Others might work with post doctoral fellows.

Chemistry Professors

Annual Median wage: $85,810

Chemistry professors may be very focused. Some focus on areas of macromolecules. Others are stereochemistry specialists. Still, others focus on biopolymers. These teachers often have advanced education and often are published. They may engage in research at the school they teach at on a routine basis. They may often be published in scientific journals. Many are involved in an ongoing basis. Some have industry expertise from having worked in the field. Many are education based.

Psychology Professors

Annual Median wage: $82,140

These professors teach psychology. This requires them to have advanced education in this area. Most may have an advanced teaching degree. However, many also have field experience. They may have worked in a clinical setting. Others are focused on the lab elements of psychology and research. Many are published in scientific or medical research studies. In their university positions, psych professors often run studies and participate in publications.

Sociology Professors

Annual Median wage: $82,670

These professors work in both the sciences and in psych. They often provide education to students on a path towards sociology, but also work with students in related fields. Many will be published in papers and working to continue to do this on an ongoing basis. Many are actively engaged in research. Their students often participate in it. Some will engage in field work especially in underdeveloped areas. Many have a working history in these fields.

Philosophy Professors

Annual Median wage: $79,930

These professors may focus on religion while others focus on strictly philosophical studies. They may also work in areas of business ethics and metaphysics. Often, these professors may have a strong history in research. They may become experts in one or more areas and generally focus in these areas. Philosophy professors are always exploring new thoughts and methods of doing things. That is why they have such a varied line up of courses to teach. They do a good deal of their own research and publishing as well.

History Professors

Annual Median wage: $82,140

History professors teach history courses, but also often teach areas related to this. Some will work in the field, such as in museums or even archaeology. Others will work in historical societies or hold memberships in them. They could become experts in history, often in a certain area or type of history, but many are also dedicated to research. Many history teachers are diverse in their knowledge base. They may publish books or articles on areas that are important to them or where they concentrate.

Nursing Professors

Annual Median wage: $80,780

Not all nursing instructors hold the position of professor. Many universities hire nursing professors for both hands on education and lecture related to medicine and nursing practice. They may work with undergrad or grad students. Often, nursing professors must hold a registered nurse (RN) degree. They may need a license as well. Many may continue their education to earn a doctorate degree. Some professors in this field publish in scientific papers. Others work to develop new technology or innovations in the field. Nearly all may have some level of on the job experience.

Math Science Professors

Annual Median wage: $81,020

Math professors focus their education in math and mathematical sciences. They may teach everything from beginning levels of math to in depth, advanced topics. Many will concentrate in one or more areas. This may include areas as far reaching as automorphic forms and game theory. Many math teachers are often working to advanced their field through research. Some are published.

Social Sciences Professors

Annual Median wage: $77,750

These professors often teach courses, but may also engage in research studies on college campuses. In addition to this, many also have significant fieldwork experience. Some may also engage in social science research in underdeveloped areas. They often have a PhD but continuing education is usually a part of their work.

Communications Professors

Annual Median wage: $79,910

Those working as a communications prof may teach a range of courses. This could include areas of public relations. It may include broadcasting or journalism. Many may have some level of media communications skill. In addition to this, most communications profs will have working skills and some experience in the field they focus in. 

Art and Music Professors

Annual Median wage: $80,360

Those working in the area of music, arts, and performance may have a significant amount of experience in the field. They may teach a range of subjects, such as theater or vocals, but many professors will focus in one or more areas. They often work hand in hand with students.

English Professors

Annual Median wage: $78,130

These professors teach various areas of English studies. This includes language and literature. They may also focus in areas such as creative writing or critical theory. Many will also have advanced studies and experience in the field. They often hold doctorates. Research may not be heavy in this area, but continuing education might be.

Education Professors

Annual Median wage: $73,240

Education professors teach new teachers. They teach undergraduate students and some masters programs. Some also hold a philosophy in education degree. Many are published in some way, often in educational methods. They may have experience working as educators.

Levels of Professors

Teaching higher education may be complex. While looking at university professor salaries is important, it is also important to consider the level of the professor. This could indicates the type of work the professor does and his or her experience. Here is a list of professor levels. They differ by school. A community college may use a different term.

Adjunct Instructor

Adjunct instructors often teach entry level courses. This may also be called a part time lecturer or part time instructor. Many do not receive a full time salary or benefits. They may work less often in their college program. Many will have additional jobs outside of the college setting. These instructors may go on to more advanced teaching later.

Graduate Teaching Assistant

A graduate teaching assistant is a GTA. They tend to work much like an adjunct instructor. The difference is that they are students themselves. Many will be in a master’s program. Some graduate programs offer students a stipend. This may help covers the cost of tuition and pays a small wage. In return, they may teach one or more classes. These are not full time faculty members.

Visiting Professor

A visitor professor is working temporarily at the school. They may be called a visiting researcher. Sometimes they are called a visiting scholar. The term differs based on the school. Some schools use these pros to help them offer a new perspective for students. They may collaborate with other students. In the U.S., it is common for visiting professors to be from another country. This is not always the case. Sometimes, professors on sabbatical may still take appointments as a visiting professor.

Assistant Professor

These individuals support the work of a professor. They tend to not work full time. They may help in areas of conducting research. Others may work with students directly. Working as an assistant professor could be the first step towards tenure. These are usually hard to get jobs. Many times, assistant professors already hold a doctorate degree.

Associate Professor

These are generally tenure seeking professors. This is often a tenure track position. It falls between assistant and full professorship. This may differ from one school to the next. Many professors reach this level when they achieve tenure. This may take up to seven years to complete. Publications and research are a part of the process. These are often full time faculty. They may earn faculty salaries.

Full Professor

Full professorship may often be earned after years of holding an associate level of tenure. This is generally the highest promotion for tenure track professors.

Endowed Professor

These professors may also be called an endowed chair. It is a type of honor given to a faculty member. This typically is due to the research carried out by the professor. 

Distinguished Professor

This is a title given to a top tenured professor at the school. They are often some of the most well respected in their field. Years of experience matters in this field. Private colleges often have these types of professors.

The Digital Divide: What It Is and How It Impacts Us

Digital Divide Definition

The term “digital divide” refers to the gap between those who have access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and those who don’t.

While the term “digital divide” came into play in the mid-1990s, it is still a hot-button public policy debate—above all, since it touches on social, political, and economic issues.

Why Is the Digital Divide an Important Issue?

In today’s increasingly digital world, access to technology and the Internet has become essential for communication, education, employment, and many other aspects of daily life. Those who lack access to technology or the skills to use it effectively are at a disadvantage, as they are unable to fully participate in the opportunities and resources offered online. This creates a significant divide between those who have access to digital tools and those who do not, exacerbating existing social and economic inequalities.

The digital divide not only limits individuals’ ability to access information and services but also hinders their educational and career prospects. Bridging the digital divide is crucial to ensure equal opportunities for all and to prevent further marginalization of already disadvantaged groups. It requires efforts from governments, communities, and organizations to provide equitable access to technology and digital literacy training, empowering individuals to participate fully in the digital age.

What Causes the Digital Divide?

The digital divide is a complex issue that has been shaped by a range of factors, including economic, social, and geographic disparities. One of the primary causes of the digital divide is the lack of access to technology that many low-income households and rural communities face. High-speed Internet and advanced technology tools often come with hefty price tags that low-income households may not be able to afford. Additionally, rural communities may not have the infrastructure in place to support advanced technology and high-speed Internet.

This lack of access to technology could lead to significant educational and employment barriers for individuals as they struggle to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Education and awareness about the benefits of digital inclusion could be key in bridging the digital divide, as well as policies aimed at expanding broadband access and reducing the cost of technology.

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

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Digital Divide Examples

The digital divide is evident in various scenarios, highlighting the disparities in access to technology and the Internet. One example relates to education, where students from low-income households may not have access to reliable Internet connections or necessary devices for online learning. This could hamper their ability to participate fully in virtual classrooms and access digital educational resources, potentially putting them at a disadvantage compared to their peers who have seamless access to technology.

Another example is the job market, where individuals without access to technology or digital skills might struggle to compete for employment opportunities that increasingly rely on digital literacy. They may face barriers in accessing online job portals, submitting electronic resumes, or participating in virtual interviews.

Additionally, the digital divide is evident in rural areas where the lack of broadband infrastructure limits access to high-speed Internet, potentially impacting both personal connectivity and economic development.


Who Is Affected by the Digital Divide?

The digital divide exists in a deeper way among low-income groups and communities. So, it is both a local issue and one that underdeveloped countries around the globe face. The gap is small in developed countries and large in developing countries.

The digital divide affects a range of people, young and old:

  • Those who live in rural areas without a digital infrastructure
  • Low-income households who can’t afford high-speed Internet
  • Students and workers who do not own a computer
  • Workers who are unable to keep up-to-date on technology due to lack of access to technology
  • Those with medical issues who don’t have access to telehealth appointments
  • People living in underdeveloped countries

Geographical Digital Disparities

There are also geographical differences across the United States, as well as within the states themselves.

The following tables illustrate this digital disparity. Some compelling takeaways include:

  • The average percentage of homes without internet for states with the highest connectivity is 9%; for states with the lowest connectivity, it’s 20%—that’s over twice as much.1,2
  • The average percentage of homes without a computer for states with the most computers is 4%; for states with the least, it’s 11%—that’s nearly three times as much.3,4

While states such as Connecticut, New York, and Maryland rank better than average in connectivity, there are cities within these states whose households have over 50% less connectivity than the states themselves

Five States with Lowest Internet Connectivity, 2017–20211

StatePercentage of Households without an Internet Subscription (U.S. Average = 13%)
New Mexico20.0%
West Virginia19.2%

Five States with Highest Internet Connectivity, 2017–20212

StatePercentage of Households without an Internet Subscription (U.S. Average = 13%)
New Hampshire9.9%

Five States with Fewest Computers per Household, 2017–20213

StatePercentage of Households without a Computer
(U.S. Average = 6.9%)
West Virginia12.4%
Alabama/New Mexico (tie)10.3%

Five States with Most Computers per Household, 2017–20214

StatePercentage of Households without a Computer
(U.S. Average = 6.9%)

Discrepancies in Connectivity by Selected Cities and States, 2017–2021

 Percentage of Households without an Internet Subscription (city)5Percentage of Households without an Internet Subscription (state)6
Brownsville, Texas33.313.1
Flint, Michigan29.013.6
Newark, New Jersey25.610.6
Cleveland, Ohio24.813.7
Baltimore, Maryland20.410.3
Hartford, Connecticut20.311.1

Racial Disparities

Income level is a significant factor with regard to who is affected by the digital divide. Race is also an issue.

The good news is that the gaps have been narrowing in recent years. Following is the percentage of households who did not have high-speed Internet by race in 2017 and 2021:

Asian alone, non-Hispanic10%77%8
White alone, non-Hispanic16%914%10
Black alone, non-Hispanic22%1117%12
Hispanic (of any race)22%1318%14

Are Virtual Schools Widening the Digital Divide?

The rapid shift to virtual education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about the potential impact of virtual schools on the digital divide. While virtual schools provide a flexible and accessible form of education for many students, they may also be exacerbating existing disparities in access to technology and the Internet. Students from low-income households or rural communities may not have access to the devices, reliable Internet, or digital literacy skills needed to participate fully in virtual classrooms, leading to unequal learning opportunities.

Virtual education may also be a factor in what is called a “homework gap.” This is the gap between school-age children who have access to high-speed Internet at home and those who don’t.

Students who face digital hurdles when they try to do their homework may not be able to complete their homework at all, which could contribute to poorer grades. Teachers say this problem may also lead to delinquency.

How Are Students and Schools Overcoming the Problem?

Overcoming this problem is a huge challenge. Some schools are lending or giving out laptops and tablets. Some students use their smart phones. And some principals are trying to find hotspots that people who don’t have Internet could use.

Students might drive to a parking lot near a library to use their public WIFI. Yet not all students could even do this. So, some schools send packets of materials to students or DVDs. Then the parents take a picture of a completed assignment and email it to the teachers.

How to Combat Digital Divide?

One way to bridge the Digital Divide is through Digital Inclusion which sets up Smart Cities. In spite of how complex the issues are, some Smart Cities are trying to ensure access through infrastructure. Some are making an effort to set up public Wi-Fi networks. And other cities are finding innovative ways to get Internet coverage to those who lack access.

One example launched by G3ict and World Enabled is the Smart Cities for All initiative. It was set up to define the state of ICT accessibility in Smart Cities worldwide. The goal of their plan is to eliminate the digital divide for the elderly and persons with disabilities in Smart Cities around the world. To do this, they are partnering with leading organizations and companies and then working to create and deploy the tools and tactics needed to build more inclusive Smart Cities.

Google’s sister company, Sidewalk Labs, is also trying to come up with a solution, albeit for those who could afford it. Their plan is to build a tech-loaded community called Quayside on the waterfront in Toronto, Canada. In Quayside, they plan to embed all sorts of sensors everywhere possible. As a result, there should be a constant stream of data about things such as traffic flow, noise levels, air quality, energy usage, travel patterns, and waste output. 

This type of community shows that smart tech sensors could be useful. Cityblock, a spinoff of Sidewalk Labs, is focusing on low-income communities with serious health problems. Their vision includes an option for members to join a “neighborhood health hub.”

There are also individual organizations providing grants to communities that typically have issues with the digital divide. The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, for example, donated $130,000 in grants to five communities to equip workers with the digital access, literacy, and skills they need to secure and grow in economy-boosting jobs in a rapidly changing labor market.

Has There Been Any Government Support to Bridge the Divide?

Advocates and government workers in the broadband and digital equity space report a renewed interest in bridging the divide. One of the reasons is that COVID-19 highlighted the unequal access to technology and the Internet that has long existed. It also shows us just how reliant on the Internet we are. Telehealth visits, for instance, are only available to those with access. So, many older adults and underserved communities are among the hardest hit.

There have been a number of initiatives at the federal level to combat digital disparities in the United States.

  • In 2021, the U.S. government passed an infrastructure bill that, among other things, aims to narrow the digital divide. The initiative strives to assist households in reducing the cost of Internet service by mandating that recipients of federal funding offer an affordable plan accessible to all. This may be achieved through measures such as enhancing price transparency and fostering competition in areas where current service providers are not meeting the demand adequately. 
  • The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program offers monthly discounts on broadband service to eligible households. As of September 2022, more than 14 million households had enrolled—about a third of the estimated eligible households. 
  • The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
  • The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to help ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to succeed in our digital economy.

Changes are also being made at the state level. For example, Maine lawmakers approved a bond package with $15 million to expand broadband in the state. California’s Digital Divide Program provides four grants of up to $250,000 each to help beneficiary schools located in an urban or rural low-income small school district. 


The digital divide remains a significant challenge in our increasingly connected world. As technology continues to shape various aspects of our lives, the disparities in access to technology and the Internet may have profound implications for education, employment, and overall quality of life.

While progress has been made in narrowing the digital divide through various initiatives, more work needs to be done. Governments, non-profit organizations, and private sector companies must collaborate to ensure equitable access to technology, Internet connectivity, and digital literacy training for all individuals, especially those from marginalized communities.

Bridging the digital divide is not only a matter of fairness and justice but also crucial for fostering inclusive economic growth and societal well-being. By addressing the digital divide, we could create a more equitable and digitally connected future for all.

Internet Safety Tips For Students

15 Must Know Internet Safety Tips For Students

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Internet Safety Tips for Students

The surge in cybercrime underscores the growing significance of internet safety guidelines, especially tailored for students. In case you weren’t aware, according to Security Magazine, there’s a staggering rate of over 2,200 daily cyberattacks, which averages out to nearly one cyber assault striking every 39 seconds. To put this into perspective, it’s less time than the average duration it takes to share a selfie. Given the likelihood that you’re dedicating even more of your time to online activities, it’s imperative to know how to safeguard your device. Here, we present several recommendations to ensure your safety as you navigate the digital realm. For more in-depth insights, feel free to explore our compilation, ” 12 Must Know Facts About Cyber Security“.

15 Must Know Internet Safety Tips for Students

These are some of the ways students can stay safe on the internet. 

#1. Be careful what you share  

Imagine the internet as a vast room teeming with countless strangers, each potentially holding a role in your future as a friend, employer, or even the culprit who snags your phone from your denim pockets. Always bear in mind, the internet lacks a delete function. Once you divulge your address and personal situation, this information becomes accessible to anyone who cares to look. The same principle applies to an awkward selfie, a profanity, or an impolite remark. As a guiding principle, it’s wise to refrain from sharing anything online that you wouldn’t want your mother or a prospective boss to stumble upon.

#2. Check your privacy settings

Privacy preferences work in a manner akin to doors. You shut a door to exclude unwelcome visitors, or swing it open to admit them. Neglecting to ‘shut the door’ may grant marketers and malicious actors access to substantial insights regarding you – from your internet search patterns to your interactions on social media. While each online platform retains its unique characteristics, locating these options is typically possible beneath your profile emblem. As you undertake this task, be certain to ‘activate’ these protective measures. Many also propose the deactivation of geotagging. Geotagging, in essence, divulges your whereabouts (or lack thereof) at any given point in time.

#3. Browse with caution

Browsing resembles strolling about. Certain pathways are secure, while others pose risks. Cyber malefactors frequently lurk behind explicit or enticing material. You might assume that clicking is harmless, even if the destination is unfamiliar. However, an incautious click could unveil your private information or implant malicious software into your device. Therefore, it’s crucial to suppress the inclination to pursue unfamiliar links or engage with unknown senders.

#4. Use secure networks

The allure of tapping into public WiFi often stems from its cost-free nature, yet it’s not always a bastion of security. Protected networks usually come with a price, requiring a reciprocal transaction. This might entail agreeing to legal stipulations, creating an account, or entering a password. On the flip side, using unsecured networks opens you up to potential hacker threats. These individuals are bona fide agents who surveil network traffic in their bid to intercept your personal data. Should they succeed, they gain the ability to abscond with passwords, your bank card’s PIN, and even intricate credit card particulars.

#5. Ponder the Potential of a VPN

If you’re someone who relies on public WiFi while using a laptop, considering a VPN is paramount. A VPN, or virtual private network, has the capability to shroud your identity, information, and internet protocol (IP) address. By linking your device with an internet server, a VPN establishes an environment where your data remains inscrutable. This is achieved through the encryption of outgoing data, enhancing your overall privacy.

#6. Exercise Caution with Downloads

For the gaming enthusiasts out there, this piece of advice is tailor-made. The primary objective of cyber criminals revolves around deceiving users into downloading malware. Malware comprises programs or applications that harbor insidious viruses designed to pilfer your information. A dependable guideline to uphold is to refrain from downloading suspicious software or apps, especially if they don’t originate from a reputable, familiar source. In situations where you’re compelled to use a public computer, ensure the removal of any files you may have downloaded or saved.

#7. Make strong passwords

Our inclination often leans towards passwords that are simple to recollect. Regrettably, these weak passwords are equally susceptible to being divined by hackers. Strong passwords, however, function akin to robust locks on doors. On occasion, your device might propose a sturdy password. Typically, these entail intricate combinations of numbers, letters, and special characters. You can choose to adopt such a suggestion or emulate its complexity, subsequently safeguarding your passwords through the utilization of password management software, if that proves helpful. Nonetheless, it’s imperative to never save your passwords on websites you access through public computers. Additionally, always ensure you log out before departing from these websites.

#8. Look for https: when you shop online

Whenever your online shopping ventures entail credit card usage, it becomes paramount to verify the site’s security. You can ascertain this in one of two ways. Firstly, examine the site’s URL – a secure site will commence with ‘https:’ rather than ‘http:’ (with the ‘s’ signifying secure). Secondly, take notice of a padlock symbol. As an added measure, it’s worthwhile to peruse reviews to ascertain the site’s credibility.

#9. Think twice about accepting invites

In the last quarter of 2022, Facebook made a move against 1.3 billion fraudulent accounts, a decrease from the 1.5 billion tackled in the prior quarter. The social media giant managed to expunge a staggering count of around 2.2 billion counterfeit profiles during the initial quarter of 2019. These fabricated profiles serve as tools for malicious individuals to disseminate falsehoods and gain entry to your data. To steer clear of this peril, exercise prudence when it comes to accepting unsolicited invitations. Maintaining a judicious approach to your online social existence is just as crucial as it is in the offline realm.

#10. Enable Automatic Updates

The individuals crafting viruses and malware possess the know-how to distribute them effectively. As a result, it’s imperative to ensure that all your interconnected devices are equipped with up-to-date antivirus software, operating systems, and applications. This practice contributes an additional stratum of security, particularly due to the fact that newer iterations are often equipped to identify and eliminate emerging varieties of malware, viruses, and potential threats.

#11. Check all your statements

According to research from SpyCloud, a provider of Cybercrime Analytics (C2A), their research unveiled a staggering 721.5 million exposed credentials on the internet in 2022. This poses a significant concern as user accounts often house sensitive information such as your name, bank or credit card details, social insurance number, and phone number.

To maintain vigilance in the face of this threat, it’s advisable to regularly scrutinize all your financial statements to verify the legitimacy of all charges. Suspicious activities may initially manifest as inconspicuous, small charges. However, if left undetected, they can escalate into more substantial and troublesome issues.

#12. Keep a backup

For a student, few things rival the dread of investing time into a project only to lose all progress just before the deadline. To avert this nightmarish scenario, consider safeguarding your work by storing it on the cloud or an external hard drive. The concept of a cloud system entails a virtual architecture designed to house data. The majority of these systems come fortified with firewalls, antivirus software, monitoring capabilities, and host intrusion protection, ensuring an added layer of security for your valuable work.

#13. Protect against ransomware

Ransomware constitutes a breed of malicious software that executes a rather sinister tactic. It ensnares a victim’s computer or device data by locking and encrypting it, subsequently extorting a ransom in exchange for restoring access. Employing the strategies we’ve previously delineated serves as an effective defense against the clutches of ransomware, preventing it from seizing your data hostage. Additionally, it’s crucial to exercise vigilance concerning any email attachment that urges you to enable macros for content viewing. The activation of macros could pave the way for macro malware to infiltrate multiple files. In the realm of preventative measures, it’s wise to opt for the ‘delete’ option instead.

#14. Be a guest user

Data breaches hit businesses and retailers alike. According to Shape Security, retailers reported (in 2018) that 80 to 90% of their login activity was malicious. To stay safe when you shop, remain a guest user. This way, you don’t have to store personal data in the first place.

#15. Protect your devices too

One of the most straightforward pieces of internet security advice for students revolves around safeguarding your devices. This encompasses not only your smartphone, tablet, or laptop but also extends to your overall digital arsenal. While a cable lock does contribute an extra stratum of protection, it remains insufficient to thwart the possibility of your hardware being pilfered by a determined individual. Abandoning any of these items unattended in public spaces or within an unlocked dorm room stands as a well-established ‘no-go’ practice. Moreover, in scenarios where you find yourself compelled to leave something behind, ensure it’s out of plain sight.

The History of Online Learning

The History of Online Learning

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The history of online education has gained newfound significance in recent times. Presently, over a third of all students engage in at least one online course.

Nevertheless, achieving success in online learning differs somewhat from excelling in traditional on-campus courses. Here’s what you should anticipate and how to prepare for it.

First of all, online learning isn’t new or easy.

It’s crucial to dispel the notion that online learning is a novel, effortless endeavor. While online courses do offer flexibility in your study approach, the substance of the courses themselves often mirrors what you’d encounter in a traditional campus-based curriculum.

Furthermore, online students may encounter unique challenges, which we’ll delve into shortly. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider online learning—it simply underscores the importance of not assuming it will require less effort than a conventional college program.

History of online learning infographic

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Pick Your Learning Format

Begin by determining which online class format aligns better with your preferences – or perhaps, consider trying both!

  • Synchronous learning. This term implies “simultaneous learning.” In synchronous courses, you’re required to attend virtual class sessions in real-time, typically through videoconferencing. An advantage of this format is the opportunity for live interaction. You can engage in real-time discussions with your instructors and fellow classmates.
  • Asynchronous learning. This term denotes “non-simultaneous learning.” Within this course type, you’ll access prerecorded lessons at your convenience, adhering to your own schedule. It offers greater flexibility, a feature cherished by many students. Additionally, you can still actively participate in discussions with your professor and peers, albeit not in real-time.

Know Your Tech Tools

As an online learner, your technology tools become your trusted companions. This doesn’t necessarily entail possessing the latest cutting-edge devices, but it does require that your laptop, desktop computer, or tablet is capable of meeting the technological demands of your online course. This entails the ability to install and run any necessary software for your coursework.

Of course, a reliable internet connection is paramount.

Facing technical difficulties? Most colleges and universities offer resources to assist you in such situations. These resources may encompass a range of options, from providing Wi-Fi hotspots to supplying each student with a laptop. It’s also important to be well-informed about how to contact your school’s tech support team should you require assistance.

After the pandemic, 73% of American students desire to maintain online learning.

Make Space to Study

While on-campus students have the privilege of computer labs and study lounges, as an online learner, the majority of your study hours will likely unfold within the confines of your own home.

Here’s how you can fashion an ideal study space:

  • Invest in an ergonomic desk chair for comfort.
  • Ensure your desk is of the right height for your needs.
  • Equip your space with a power strip to conveniently charge your devices.
  • Add some greenery in the form of plants to enhance air quality.
  • Adorn your workspace with inspirational posters for motivation.
  • Keep a water bottle on hand to stay adequately hydrated.
  • Combat distractions with noise-cancelling headphones.
  • And feel free to include any other items that aid your concentration.

It’s also important to establish boundaries, especially if you’re the go-to person within your family. Make certain your children, spouse, parents, or pets are aware of when you require uninterrupted time to focus on your assignments.

Practice Online Learning Success Skills

Online learners may need to build new skills – like how to stop procrastination before it starts. Or how to ask for help with a new concept. Or how to stay motivated while studying at home.

It’s not that traditional students don’t need to learn these things, too. They do. But as an online learner, you might have to try a little harder. It’s not as easy to turn to the person next to you to ask a question, or stay a few minutes after class to talk to the professor.

But you can still get the most out of your classes and have an amazing college experience.

Here are 6 success skills every online learner should know:

  • How to connect with peers online: Everything from starting a social media group to scheduling virtual meetups could help you stay in touch.
  • How to get help with something: Be proactive about asking for a hand – whether it’s tutoring, tech support, or just a question you want answered.
  • How to manage your time: Set a schedule and stick to it. Use apps (or an old-school agenda book) to help you stay organized, create to-do lists, and reach goals.
  • How to participate: It could be in a virtual class meeting or on an online discussion board. Either way, get comfortable with weighing in!
  • How to avoid distractions: Sometimes willpower needs a little help. Use apps to block social media while you study. Keep your music low. And, avoid doing too many things at once!
  • How to take it one day at a time: Adjusting to online learning happens quickly for some learners. For others, it takes longer. Give yourself time to find your rhythm and the success strategies that work for you!

Student Loan Fraud – Don’t Get Scammed

Avoid Student Loan Fraud

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Student Loan Fraud – Don’t Get Scammed

Beware of fraudulent schemes that claim to offer relief from student loan debt – these scams are designed to deceive and drain your finances. These unscrupulous companies cunningly present themselves as associates of the U.S. Department of Education, all while swindling millions from unsuspecting victims. Their modus operandi involves making enticing but false assurances of erasing student loan debt burdens.

In a recent case, scammers were brought to a halt by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for their fraudulent practices. This operation preyed upon students seeking debt relief, taking advantage of their vulnerability. These nefarious activities involved fabricating affiliations with esteemed institutions, like the U.S. Department of Education, and employing deceptive tactics to convince students to cease communication with their legitimate federal loan servicers. These scammers cunningly manipulated the concept of debt relief and lured students in with the allure of the “Biden Loan Forgiveness” plan, which they falsely claimed to offer, all the while collecting exorbitant upfront fees.

The FTC asserts that this group, operating under various names like Express Enrollment LLC and Intercontinental Solutions LLC, managed to amass a staggering $8.8 million in ill-gotten upfront fees since at least 2019. These fraudulent entities, led by individuals such as Marco Manzi, Ivan Esquivel, and Robert Kissinger, exploited the uncertainty surrounding student loan borrowers and preyed on their desire for debt alleviation. Through persuasive misrepresentations and bogus promises, they managed to convince individuals to part with their hard-earned money for services that were non-existent.

Fortunately, the FTC, armed with its Bureau of Consumer Protection, is relentless in its pursuit of such scams. The agency promptly filed a complaint against the defendants, prompting a federal court to take immediate action by imposing a temporary restraining order and freezing the assets of the culprits’ operation, known as Apex Processing Center.

It is essential to remain vigilant and informed to avoid falling victim to these fraudulent schemes. The FTC provides valuable resources to help individuals recognize and steer clear of student loan debt relief scams. Remember, legitimate assistance for student loans can be accessed for free through trusted channels like With a unanimous vote of 3-0, the FTC continues its resolute efforts to shield the tens of millions of Americans grappling with student loan debt from such malicious scams.

Student Loan Fraud and Facts

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How to Avoid Student Loan Debt Relief Scams

Equipping yourself with knowledge about your student loan debt is your best defense against falling victim to the next potential scam. Here are some key pointers to bear in mind in order to safeguard yourself from falling prey to such fraudulent schemes.

#1 Be Aware of “Payment up Front” Scammers

Legally, companies are prohibited from charging you prior to offering assistance. While some companies might promise to alleviate your student debt burden, there’s truly nothing they can accomplish for you that you can’t achieve independently, and at no cost.

#2 Check Out Options for Financing College

Before resorting to a loan, it’s prudent to explore alternative sources of financial aid, such as grants, scholarships, and federal work study programs. A pivotal initial step involves completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When creating your FSA user account, exercise caution not to share your ID, as unscrupulous individuals could exploit it to gain unauthorized access and compromise your account’s security.

#3 Learn About Student Loans

Student loans can be categorized into two types: federal loans offered by the government and private loans extended by entities like banks and credit unions. Federal loans come with certain safeguards, but private loans lack comparable protections. Irrespective of the source, repayment remains your responsibility.

#4 Understand Loan Forgiveness and Repayment

You may qualify for alternative repayment plans or even loan forgiveness based on your specific loan type and circumstances. These possibilities hinge on factors unique to your situation. It’s vital to recognize that no company possesses the ability to secure these options for you that you cannot secure on your own. Equipping yourself with this understanding serves as a bulwark against the tactics employed by scammers.

If you have federal loans, the Department of Education has a few free programs.

  • Income driven repayment plans – monthly payments based on how much money you make
  • Deferment and forbearance – you postpone payments though may incur more interest
  • Loan forgiveness or discharge – these programs let you off the hook, but you have to qualify (E.g. you become disabled or find out your school committed fraud)

For private loans, deal with reputable loan servicers. Keep in mind it is also unlikely the servicer will offer a loan forgiveness program. So, any third party claiming they can do this for you is likely a scammer. Don’t listen and don’t give any third party your account details either.

#5 Be Cautious with Consolidation

Consolidating a loan involves amalgamating multiple loans into a singular entity. This results in a fresh loan arrangement and altered repayment terms, which could potentially impact your interest rate.

When choosing to consolidate your loans through the federal government, this process is devoid of charges. Hence, if any company proposes a fee for this service, it’s advisable to firmly decline. In some cases, consolidating loans with a private lender may entail costs. However, it’s prudent to steer clear of entities that demand upfront payments. Furthermore, exercise prudence when encountering debt relief agencies and lenders who propose the consolidation of federal and private loans into a solitary new loan, promising reduced monthly payments or lower interest rates. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) strongly advises against pursuing such arrangements.

Five Things to Remember About Scammers to Avoid Student Loan Fraud

  1. Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness
  2. Never pay a fee upfront (Think: free not fee)
  3. Use trusted sites – scammers can make fake gov’t seals
  4. Don’t give or share your FSA ID with anyone
  5. You can’t roll federal and private loans together to lower payments
  6. Report scams so others don’t suffer: 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)

Is Recycling Worth It?

Do These Facts Suggest Recycling is a Waste of Time?

Plus, Jobs and Degrees That Have a Positive Impact on the Planet

Does recycling pay off for the planet, or is it a waste of time? The facts may surprise you.

Is Recycling Worth it?

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Is Recycling Worth It?
Did you know that that in the U.S., the total generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018 reached an astounding 292.4 million tons? This translates to approximately 4.9 pounds of waste generated per person per day. 


On the flip side, only around 69 million tons were recycled, and a mere 25 million tons were composted. In total, approximately 94 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were recycled and composted, resulting in a recycling and composting rate of 32.1 percent. This significant disparity between the amount of garbage we dispose of compared to what we recycle raises the question of why the balance is so skewed. 

Advantages of Recycling

Recycling presents numerous compelling reasons to choose it over discarding items. One key benefit is that recycling requires less energy compared to manufacturing new products. For instance, recycling plastic utilizes two-thirds less energy, while paper uses 60% less energy. When it comes to steel and tin cans, recycling saves between 60 and 74 percent of the energy used to produce them from raw materials. Moreover, recycling a single aluminum beverage can conserves enough energy to power a 14-watt CFL bulb (equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent) for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours. 

Great right? Well There is more.

By producing recycled paper, we effectively cut down air pollution by an impressive 74%, along with a notable reduction of 35% in water pollution compared to the production of virgin paper. This conservation of energy holds great potential as it can be harnessed for a multitude of other purposes.

Moreover, the process of generating recycled paper not only exemplifies its environmental benefits but also highlights its significant advantages. It leads to a substantial 74% decrease in air pollution and a commendable 35% reduction in water pollution when contrasted with the production of paper from virgin sources. To further underscore the importance of recycling, consider the remarkable impact of recycling one ton of steel: it slashes air pollution by an astounding 86%, reduces water pollution by an impressive 76%, while concurrently saving an impressive 74% of energy and an essential 40% of water that would have otherwise been consumed.

Shifting our focus, let’s consider the example of recycling just one aluminum can. This seemingly small act holds immense potential, as it has the capability to power:

  • A TV for two hours
  • A computer for three hours
  • A 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours
  • A 14 watt CFL light bulb for 20 hours

Ultimately, if an office building with 7,000 employees recycles all its paper, plastic, and corrugated waste annually, it could make a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, this green initiative could result in a reduction of 1,200 metric tons of carbon equivalent, which is comparable to taking 900 cars off the road for a whole year. 

Recycling plays a crucial role not only in conserving energy but also in significantly reducing CO2 emissions. Some opponents of recycling tend to focus on products with low returns, such as plastic and green glass. However, materials like aluminum cans offer a highly positive impact, with recycling saving approximately 95% of the energy required for their initial production due to the energy-intensive nature of manufacturing aluminum. 

Statistics from The Balance Small Business reveal that about 69% of the crude steel used in the U.S. in 2019 was sourced from recycled materials, while the EPA estimates that 68% of all paper and cardboard is effectively recycled. These figures indicate that recycling actively reduces the consumption of raw materials and contributes to energy conservation. 

The environmental benefits of recycling are evident. By minimizing energy consumption and curbing CO2 emissions, recycling proves to be a more sustainable option. The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) commissioned analyses from the Technical University of Denmark and the Danish Topic Centre on Waste, which found that recycling was environmentally superior in 83% of the examined scenarios. This highlights the crucial role recycling plays in promoting a greener and more eco-friendly world. ( – The Truth about recycling

The Cons of Recycling

Recycling has the potential to generate profits, but it might not always be the most cost-efficient waste management solution. In the United States, landfill space is often more economical compared to the expenses involved in recycling.

When considering the overall cost per ton of waste processing in an average US community, recycling comes out to be approximately $50-$150 more expensive per ton than simply disposing of the waste in a landfill. For financially struggling communities, the monetary benefits from recycling might not be sufficient to offset the disposal costs, leading to everything being dumped in landfills due to the lack of profitability. 

Recycling can be costly and sometimes inefficient. For instance, the carbon footprint of recycling 40,000 plastic bottles is equivalent to just one round trip ticket from NYC to London. Similarly, recycling one ton of glass only saves one ton of carbon dioxide. 

Recycling is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process aimed at reducing waste; however, it requires the use of valuable resources. According to a report by (NPR), recycling plastic is deemed “costly” and impractical to sort effectively. As stated by Jan Dell, the founder of the Last Beach Cleanup, the US struggles to recycle a mere 5% of its plastic consumption due to the lack of suitable facilities and the high water demands associated with the process. This scarcity of recycling infrastructure discourages further expansion in the US, as reported by (Guardian). 

Given water is an increasingly scarce resource, recycling plastic could do more harm to the environment than putting it in a landfill. 

Recycling green glass proves to be an unproductive endeavor, yielding a meager outcome. Although green glass can be recycled, it transforms into a rather useless and unattractive substance known as ‘cullet.’ Surprisingly, producing new glass bottles from this recycled material tends to be more expensive than using the primary raw material, sand. Contrary to expectations, disposing of glass in a landfill poses minimal harm as it naturally decomposes into sand over time. Carl Munger highlights an ironic situation in some US cities where citizens are compelled to recycle glass bottles. Despite the intention to recycle, the glass ultimately ends up in the landfill after being transported through recycling trucks to the recycling facility, and then again to the landfill. According to Munger’s perspective in (Cato Unbound), this process effectively leads citizens to pay extra for discarding the glass, merely to maintain the illusion of recycling. 

5 Tips for Smarter Recycling

  1. Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of your local recycling program. Knowing what is accepted in your recycling bin will ensure you don’t inadvertently contaminate the recycling process. 
  2. Ensure recyclables are clean by rinsing dirty items before placing them in the recycling bin. Clean recyclables are more likely to be accepted and processed effectively. 
  3. Shred sensitive documents before recycling to protect your privacy. Identity theft is a serious concern, so taking this extra step adds security to the recycling process. 
  4. Focus on reducing your household waste in the first place to minimize the need for recycling. Reducing waste at the source is an essential step in promoting sustainable practices. 
  5. Support the recycling industry by purchasing products made from recycled materials, which helps create a demand for recycling. By buying products made from recycled materials, you contribute to creating a demand for recycling, thus encouraging more sustainable production practices. 

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20 Surprising Facts About Recycled Money

20 Surprising Facts About Recycled Money

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Are you curious about the facts about recycled money?

Ever wondered about the whereabouts of old money? Have you ever observed how a bank typically issues pristine and neat banknotes, while the change you receive at a restaurant often comes in the form of crumpled bills?

Many individuals are unaware that the nation undergoes a daily process of refreshing its currency supply. This routine is necessitated by the wear and tear that paper money experiences—ripping, crinkling, disintegration, soiling, and mangling are all common occurrences. Mutilated money can result from various causes, such as fire, water, exposure to chemicals like explosives, damage from animals, insects, or rodents, and deterioration through burial.

Mutilated money is often the result of any of these common causes:

  • Fire
  • Water
  • Chemicals like explosives
  • Animal/insect/rodent damage
  • Deterioration by burying

The responsibility of injecting new money into circulation and retiring old, damaged currency falls upon the Federal Reserve. However, it’s important to note that the Federal Reserve doesn’t physically produce new money. Instead, the two key agencies responsible for creating new currency in the U.S. are the Bureau of Engraving (BEP) and the United States Mint.

These agencies adhere to stringent rules governing the production of new coins and currency. Simultaneously, there are regulations specifying the criteria that render money unfit for use, preventing its acceptance by ATMs or other electronic readers.

As a result, the Federal Reserve engages in the daily process of introducing fresh currency into circulation and withdrawing damaged money. According to some reports, the print order for CY 2024 ranges from 5.3 billion to 6.9 billion notes.

Does the Fed Recycle Money?

When a note is authentic but too worn for recirculation, the Fed destroys it. In the past, it would burn or shred old bills, dumping them in landfills. In fact, The Federal Reserve used to send the shredded cash to landfills, but now 90% of the money is recycled.

But this process is changing. Going green, you could say. Take San Francisco, for instance. There, the Federal Reserve Bank partners with a green facility. They burn shredded currency in an eco-friendly power generation plant. The plant then provides electricity for local businesses and homes.


Can You Take ripped Money to the Bank?

Some banks accept and exchange soiled, dirty, worn and torn bills. But they set rules about what they take and what they don’t. These rules may follow BEP guidelines for mutilated currency:

  • The note is more than 50 % identifiable as United States currency
  • Has enough remnants of security features (like serial numbers)
  • More than half the original note remains

The Treasury also has a method in place to review claims made where you can’t check the above off your list. To file a claim, you need to submit the currency and details of how it became mutilated.

Here’s What Happens to Old Currency

Here are some other some surprising facts about recycled money that you may not know:

  • Banks send excess currency to one of 28 Fed cash offices all around the country, in armored vehicles under tight security.
  • The Fed runs the cash through special sorting machines to count it, check for counterfeits, and cull the bills considered unfit.
  • The Federal Reserve rejects incorrect denominations, suspected counterfeits, and non-machine-readable notes.
  • Every year the Treasury Department handles about 30,000 claims for mutilated money. It redeems mutilated currency valued at over $30 million.
  • In one year alone, the Federal Reserve shredded 7,000 tons of retired money.

What is Considered Unfit?

  • A bill with holes totaling more than 19 square millimeters, or the size of an aspirin
  • Dirty and worn out bills detected with sensors
  • Fives, tens and twenty-dollar bills printed before 1996
  • More than 90% of the new currency the Fed orders each year is used to replace old currency that has been destroyed
  • For fiscal year 2019, the greatest number of bills that the Federal Reserve ordered were $1 bills, at 2,502,400,000
  • The Federal Reserve placed an order of about 7 billion notes from the BOE for fiscal year 2019

How Long Should Notes Last?

According to the Federal Reserve the lifespan of notes varies by denomination. It will also depend on how many times each one passes between users.  Smaller bills tend to change hands more often, so it doesn’t endure as long as the larger bills (like the $100).

Denomination Estimated Lifespan*
$1.00 6.6 years
$5.00 4.7 years
$10.00 5.3 years
$20.00 7.8 years
$50.00 12.2 years
$100.00 22.9 years

What Happens to The Old Notes?

  • Annually, the Money Museum distributes approximately $36.4 million in shredded currency as keepsakes.
  • In the past, the remaining shredded money was either sent to landfills or incinerated. However, the Federal Reserve now recycles nearly 90% of the decommissioned currency.
  • Following the shredding process, a briquetting machine compresses the remnants into a sizable pellet, measuring approximately two inches in diameter by five inches in length.
  • This compression results in a 9-to-1 reduction in waste volume, significantly diminishing reliance on landfills.
  • Abandoning the practice of burning money is due to environmental concerns regarding potentially harmful inks used in the printing process.
  • Attempts by horse breeders to use shredded currency as bedding proved unsuccessful due to the chemicals causing skin rashes in horses.
  • Presently, shredded cash finds new life as mulch, compost, potting soil, fuel pellets, and even home insulation.
  • Each business day, the NY Fed obliterates around $5 million in notes, while Atlanta surpasses this with an average of $6 million daily.
  • At the forefront, the Chicago Fed and the Detroit Branch collectively shred approximately $26 million every day!

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