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Finals Week Goes to the Dogs

Furry Friends and Other Quirky Events Ease Exam Stress

December 16, 2010

Finals Week Goes to the Dogs

by Alexis Mattera

Ah, finals week. It’s been almost six years since my last one but all the hairy details – the tensing of muscles, the firing of brain synapses and the pain of paper cuts as I shuffled through my notes the night before a huge exam to absorb one last piece of information needed to fill a blue book – still come rushing back to me like clockwork every December and May. It’s far from fun but some college students are actually enjoying this time of year thanks to some furry friends. No, not Joakim Noah...puppies, you guys!

First featured on the Jumbo Shorts blog last month (by my good friend, University of Connecticut alum and web content specialist Kaitlin Provencher, no less!) and now making headlines in a variety of news outlets, Tufts University has foregone the traditional finals week perks like extended library hours and wider availability of counseling services and is instead giving its students a much-needed reprieve from exams by bringing therapy dogs to campus for them to play with. Resident director Michael Bliss fashioned the idea after a similar program he participated in as an undergrad at NYU and the results were just as positive then as they are now. "Every college student has stress around finals," said Bliss. "And taking a break out from that with something as easy and simple and loving as petting dogs is really helpful."

Tufts isn’t alone in its quest to bust stress (though its program is by far the cuddliest): Over the last decade, community, state and private schools have been employing untraditional finals week events to keep students less frazzled and more focused including late-night yoga, massages, oxygen bars, impromptu dance parties, pizza fairies and rubber ball deluges. "These events help students acknowledge the fact that you have to put these more stressful times in perspective," said Lori Morgan Flood, director of wellness and health promotion at Oberlin College. "You'll get through it."

College may be about learning the information and skills to prepare students for jobs, graduate school and life after college in general but throwing a little something unexpected or unusual into the mix is just what many students need to perform at their absolute best. My advice: Step away from the books if only just for a moment and have some F-U-N!


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Top 10 Gifts for College Students

by Suada Kolovic

Christmas is tomorrow and if you haven't found the perfect gift for that special college student in your life yet, the pressure is definitely on. And if you’re looking to spread some Christmas cheer – yes, even “mature” students love presents! – check out our top 10 picks for something they might actually enjoy.

  1. Cash
  2. Amazon Kindle
  3. Apple iPad
  4. Netflix membership
  5. Digital camera
  6. Tickets (sports, theater, symphony, etc.)
  7. Complete seasons of favorite TV shows on DVD
  8. Digital photo frame
  9. Portable speakers
  10. Gas gift card

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9,400-Year-Old Dog Discovered by University of Maine Student

by Suada Kolovic

Man’s best friend today isn’t much different from its ancestors. A bone fragment suggests that almost 10,000 years ago dogs likely provided their owners with companionship, protection and oh, at times, dinner. According to researchers, University of Maine graduate student Samuel Belknap III found a bone fragment from what they are calling the earliest confirmed domesticated dog in North America. Belknap came across the fragment while analyzing a dried-out sample of human excrement unearthed in southwest Texas in the 1970s.

The discovery was made as Belknap was conducting research on the dietary habits of ancient humans who lived in the Lower Pecos region of Texas between 1,000 and 10,000 years ago. “I didn’t start out looking for the oldest dog in the New World,” he said. “I started out trying to understand human diet in southwest Texas. It so happens that this person who lived 9,400 years ago was eating dog.”

DNA analysis by Belknap and a fellow researcher confirmed that the fragment came from a dog – not a wolf, coyote or fox and a carbon-dating test put the age of the bone at 9,400 years.


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Snow Days are Now E-Days in Ohio’s Mississinawa Valley

by Alexis Mattera

Growing up in Massachusetts, I experienced my fair share of snow days…and attending college in Connecticut kept the class cancellations coming throughout the winter months. Those days were meant for building snow forts and lunch tray sledding for students young and old but for students in Ohio’s Mississinawa Valley School District, the terms Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon and #snOMG translate to something very different: e-days.

For those unfamiliar with the term – we’re looking at you, Randy Parker – an e-day means traditional classes are still cancelled but instead of having to make the days up at the end of the school year, students must log on to their home computers to complete virtual lessons prepared by their teachers. Those without computers aren’t exempt, either: They just receive the assignments when they return to school and have more time to complete the work.

School officials are currently studying how well the program worked with the help of a university to determine whether to continue the program or drop it. The reactions from students are mixed but some high schoolers told National Public Radio they don’t mind e-days because the work will prevent falling behind in class and adversely affect their chances of attending college.

The answers are sure to vary - SpongeBob Square Pants shares some interesting theories on education here - but do you think e-days will be beneficial in the long run or would you rather spend your snow days doing as you please?


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Gotcha! Columbia University Publishes Fictitious Article, Dupes Everyone

by Suada Kolovic

Columbia University, one of the eight members of the Ivy League, knows how to have a good time. So much so that the university’s student paper – The Morningside Post – ran a satirical story about a student who was mugged by conscientious muggers.

Jane Watkins, a first year International Security Policy concentrator, was on her way to class when two men wearing ski masks and dressed entirely in black approached her. "They started to run away with my bag but I screamed and begged them to let me have my Statistics homework," Ms. Watkins reported. "I told them they could have my wallet, my iPhone, anything – just not the homework." According to Ms. Watkins’ report, it was then that one of the muggers reached into her purse and retrieved her homework assignment, laying it neatly on the sidewalk next to where the incident occurred.

The story fooled readers and media outlets, most notably Gawker. They linked to the story despite calling it a “credulity-straining report.” The site has since affirmed that the Post article is a satire. Since the backlash, an editorial note was added to the article: “Due to questions from concerned readers, we would like to point out that this is a fictitious story. We thought we’d have a little bit of fun with this one. Imagine if The New York Times had a SIPA beat...”

What do you think of Columbia’s attempt at satire? Do you find it funny? Let us know what you think.


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Penn State’s Dance-A-Thon Raises $9.5 Million to Fight Cancer

by Suada Kolovic

The students of Penn State have done it again! In an effort to fight childhood cancer, students from the university hit the dance floor for the annual THON. The dance marathon kicked off Friday at the Bryce Jordan Center and with millions of dollars raised, it was another record-breaking year. The exact total was a staggering $9,563,016.09 raised for the Four Diamonds fund to help fight pediatric cancer.

THON fundraising totals have rarely fallen short in the 38-year history of the philanthropic effort and this year was no different, said Public Relations Captain Colleen Hanrahan said. Hanrahan said fundraising efforts have come a long way since THON reached its first $1 million total in 1992 and since 1977, THON has raised more than $70 million for cancer patients and cancer research at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Penn State’s THON is the largest student-run philanthropic event in the world with more than 15,000 students taking part and with such remarkable outcomes, the students of Penn State will surely dance the night away for years to come.


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The Young Naturalist Awards Scholarship

Deadline Approaching for the Scholarship of the Week

February 21, 2011

The Young Naturalist Awards Scholarship

by Suada Kolovic

>The Young Naturalist Awards Program hosted by the American Museum of Natural History, invites students in grades 7 through 12 to conduct original research in the areas of biology, earth science or astronomy. Students work independently to make observations, record data and illustrate findings before documenting their research in a written essay. The 12 finalists (two per grade) receive scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,500 and are flown to New York City to meet museum scientists, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum and attend an awards ceremony.

Winners are further distinguished by having their essays published on the Museum's website. The program is conducted by the American Museum of Natural History and supported by Alcoa Foundation. Entrants must be United States or Canadian citizens or legal residents living within the United States, Canada or U.S. Territories. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of science teachers and by museum scientists.

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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William and Kate Get an Early Wedding Present…and It Could Benefit You!

University of St. Andrews Creates a Scholarship in Royal Couple’s Honor

February 25, 2011

William and Kate Get an Early Wedding Present…and It Could Benefit You!

by Suada Kolovic

At Scholarships.com, we know scholarships and if you’re interested in attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, then we have the scholarship for you! The Scottish university where Prince William and Kate Middleton met and studied is presenting the royal alumni with an early wedding gift – a scholarship in their honor. The unnamed scholarship will pay about $115,000 in tuition costs, accommodation and living expenses for an undergraduate degree in science, arts, medicine or divinity. The award will be open to applicants of all nationalities who would have been unable to attend the university without such financial support.

"This will be the first scholarship of its kind at St. Andrews and a reflection of this university's commitment to ensure that we find, attract and support the most gifted students from anywhere in the world," said Louise Richardson, the university's principal and vice-chancellor. St. Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third-oldest in the English-speaking world.

For those of you who aren’t lured by the idea of studying in the former halls of the royal couple, conduct a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com for scholarship opportunities in your own backyard.


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Why We Geek Out for Pi Day

by Alexis Mattera

Think back (OK, maybe it’s not so far back for some of you) to your last geometry course. Remember the name of the mathematical constant expressing the ratio of a circle's circumference over its diameter? Of course you do – it’s Pi! – and today, mathletes and non-mathletes alike are celebrating it...but why?

Time recently interviewed David Blatner, author of "The Joy of Pi", about the Greek symbol’s history and cult following. "What's interesting about it is that it's technically irrational and transcendental. The exact digits of Pi cannot ever truly be known. There's no way for us to figure out what Pi is and that's kind of an odd and curious thing for science," he said. "At its simplest, Pi is the measurement around the circle, divided by the measurement across the circle. The idea that something so simple should unfold in something that is unknowable is baffling."

There are still many questions about the constant – if there’s a pattern to the more than trillion calculated digits and that pattern’s possible meaning to the universe as a whole – but when March 14th rolls around, scholars celebrate the fun side (yes, there is one) of math and science. Here at the Scholarships.com headquarters, we partake in lots of pie eating. How will you pay homage to Pi today?

Posted Under:

Just for Fun

Tags: Just for Fun , Math , Science

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One-Legged Wrestler Wins NCAA Championship

by Suada Kolovic

For Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles, winning the NCAA championship was the perfect ending to a perfect season: Robles, who was born without a right leg, took home the title of national NCAA wrestling champion in the 125-weight class Saturday night. He got the only takedown, in the first period of the match, and worked a pair of tilts to secure five back points.

This win completed an undefeated 36-0 senior season for Robles, though he wasn’t always such a dominator on the mat. He said early in his high school career, his skills were anything but championship-worthy. "I was a terrible wrestler, only about 90 pounds, but my mom told me God made me for a reason, and I believe that reason was for wrestling," said Robles, who was given a standing ovation on the podium by a sellout crowd of 17,687 at the Wells Fargo Center. He told USA Today that his handicap has almost become an advantage in the ring. "I have such a strong grip, and that's because of my crutches," he said.

Robles may have been born without a leg but no one would argue he has the heart of a champion. What’s next for him? According to ESPN, this was Robles’ last wrestling match but he hopes to pursue a career in motivational speaking. He said, “I wrestle because I love wrestling. But it inspires me when I get kids, even adults, who write me on Facebook or send me letters in the mail saying that I've inspired them, and they look up to me, and they're motivated to do things that other people wouldn't have thought possible."


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