Rewarding experience with The Watchdog

Photo by Jwanah Qudsi

English classes typically taught me to focus my writing on the body paragraphs and leave the afterthoughts to the introduction and conclusion, yet no matter how hard I’ve attempted to practice this concept, I can never successfully write an article without thinking of some witty introduction to possibly draw the reader to explore my article among all the others.

This will be the last introduction I will write for the BC school newspaper because I can now proudly say I am an alumnus to this wonderful institution.

Growing up, it never crossed my mind that I would want to become a journalist; it still doesn’t. However, despite my lack of desire, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed writing for the paper. My adventures as a contributor began last summer at an outstanding program known as Camp Casey.

Not only was this retreat intended to develop leadership skills to advance and maintain an enhanced community, but also, I also met people who discussed things I had not even imagined would perk my interest; one of them being The Watchdog, formerly known as The Jibsheet.

After being hired as a staff writer following my outstanding summer experience, I discovered that I was passionate about sharing my opinion, reporting and writing student-interest stories. My first article was published in the summer of 2011, and I wrote about “How to save money: College-style.”

Though I had never taken any formal writing classes, I produced articles that seemed to fulfill their duty. I loved the flexibility of being a staff writer and being able to write for any section. Because of the high volume of staff writers at the time, I never had to worry about being assigned to write about a topic that did not interest me.

But the school newspaper is not all about peace of mind and complete liberation.

After switching to the position of assistant features editor, I found myself in conflict with some of the people I worked with. I struggled meeting deadlines and putting together appealing graphics.  Writing for the newspaper can be tough for those who love procrastinating and get the too often “writer’s block.”

Even though deadlines were difficult for me, I developed skills that will help me throughout my life. I even am able to write essays for other classes not only with better content but also at a quicker rate. I can communicate better with others and understand the process of getting something completed.

While I never became a section editor, all staff members have responsibilities with great importance to having a finished product.

Whether you enjoy creating graphics, taking pictures or just love to write, check out what The Watchdog can do for you. Contact the editor-in-chief at in order to learn more about job opportunities with the school paper.

While writing and having amazing resume content may be one incentive for participating, there is something else that may persuade you to be on staff: Money. The Watchdog is a paid job and has been my source of discretionary spending for the past year.

Definitely find out what The Watchdog can do for you, and if it really is something you do not want to pursue, find out other ways to become involved on campus.

Becoming involved with Student Programs has been proved to increase grades and decrease the likeliness of dropping out. You will meet people and create friendships that you otherwise would not have had because of BC’s commuter-like nature.

The Watchdog is currently hiring, so apply as soon as possible and become part of this wonderful BC program and experience.

Fall quarter fever: What to know about registering

Graphic by Kevin Chinn

Whether it’s your first, fifth or even your last quarter at BC, registration is a process that may be a bit intimidating but is really something that needs to be addressed in a timely manner. The fun aspect of registration is that BC offers a huge range of classes to help students fulfill their requirements.

New first-year college students planning to enroll in 10 or more credits are required to take the First Year Experience class that will help them transition to this new learning environment, understand expectations and introduce resources, whether they are for social or academic purposes.

Most commonly, students will obtain an Associate degree in Arts and Sciences, which consist of 90 credits, spread out over written communication, quantitative/symbolic reasoning, humanities, social science, natural science and electives. There are also requirements for cultural diversity as well as intermediate algebra proficiency.

While the categories in which credits must be obtained may seem bland at first glance, investigate what classes actually apply towards those credits. For example, humanity classes include dance, drama, communications and various language studies.

In order to make the most of your college experience, consider registering for classes with prerequisites or those that may not be as appealing. Once you pass those stages, then you will be able to enjoy electives and perhaps classes that will help you to decide what your major will be. These classes may fill up quickly, so be sure to register as soon as you can in order to get them out of the way. English and math classes are likely to fill up the quickest, such as English 101 and Math 99.

If you are looking for natural science classes but have no interest in science whatsoever, look into taking Astronomy 100, Environmental Science 100/101, Psychology 202 or Philosophy 120. Figure out which science interests you the most to select a lab class, which is a requirement for one of your natural science classes.

When it comes to instructors, a lot of students will use to figure out whom to take their class with. Be cautious of the types of reviews people have because they may have completely different learning styles and were unsuccessful because the instructor’s teaching style was not what they were used to. Another way to decide which professor you want to take your class with is actually e-mailing them and asking them for a syllabus. You also can consult them about meeting in person; professors love it when students visit during office hours.

Online classes sometimes cannot be avoided. In the event you enroll in one, make sure you are ready to be organized and can follow a schedule well. Running Start students may find some English, history and geography classes are only offered online. In-person classes fill up quickly; for example, English 101 is only offered online at this time. In this case, look at the class roster online and meet with people to form study groups.

Advisors are a wonderful resource on campus. Drop in to the second floor of the B Building and set up an appointment to plan out a schedule for your BC career and to ensure you reach your goals.

Classes are continuing to fill up, so register now! Go online to the Bellevue College website, and click “Register” in the top right corner above the search bar. Next, click “Log In.” Your student ID is a number that all students are given at BC and can be looked up by just typing “SID” into the search bar. Your pin number will most likely be your birthday in mmddyy format. You will need the course number, which is a four digit number located beside the title of the course either in the course catalogue or online. In the event a class is full, do not fear to sign up for the waitlist. Sometimes people drop classes on their first day and occasionally instructors will allow more people into the class. However, they will only do so if you attend their class the first week. Within the first few days, they will most likely issue blue cards, which can be used to register for their class.

Don’t fret if you don’t get the classes you want. There are still many quarters after fall quarter and consulting with professors can be helpful because they want students to succeed.

Summer treats: Where to get your sugar fix

Photo courtesy of

While dressed in summer attire and craving refreshing treats, BC is in an ideal area surrounded by locations ready to serve much-needed icy snacks.

BC Café

Located in the C Building on the first floor is a café with a variety of smoothies. Ranging from chocolate to guava, the BC café serves 16-ounce smoothies with your choice of whipped cream on top for the perfect summer refresher. In addition to the smoothies, the BC Café also has Italian sodas up for grabs that are absolutely thirst quenching and delicious.

Iced Beverages

Venture up Landerholm Circle for another place that offers mouthwatering smoothies: 148th Ave Café. Enjoy the local business and coffee shop atmosphere along with the outstanding customer service.

Visit Tully’s Coffee down the street from BC for one of their smoothies, which include mango, wild berry and antioxidants. They also have a variety of shakes, including cookies & crème, mocha and espresso.

Starbucks are everywhere and literally surround BC. Try their iced teas, smoothies or one of their well-known Frappuccino, such as their new cookie crumble, caramel or peppermint mocha. There is bound to be an icy beverage to your liking. Pair it with one of Starbucks’ Madeleine cookies for the ultimate mouthgasm.

Ice Cream

While not the healthiest of options, DQ is known for their tasty blizzards, which have cookie, candy, chocolate and fruity options. DQ is your stop for the perfect ice cream treat. They even have peanut parfaits and banana splits. While some flavors can taste a bit artificial, they still offer wonderful delectable frozen treats.

With 31+ flavors to choose from and different ways to eat your ice cream, Baskin Robins is not only close to BC but also a great place to get away from the heat and step inside to a refrigerator-like room that refreshes you from the heat and fills you up with pure dairy goodness.

In Factoria Mall, Cold Stone Creamery’s like it, love it and gotta have it sizes are just one of the creative factors to this popular ice cream shop. They will custom make ice cream for you or allow you to pick one of the signature creations, such as Strawberry Blonde, consisting of strawberry ice cream, graham cracker pie crust, strawberries and caramel.

Frozen Yogurt

In the Crossroads shopping center across from the movie theater is Peaks Frozen Yogurt. Almost a year old, Peaks is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop with flavors that switch out frequently to always keep you coming back for a new palette.

The old-fashion version of frozen yogurt can be found near Factoria Mall at TCBY. This international chain
has a variety of soft serve frozen yogurt as well as different sorbets for those allergic to dairy. They also have hand-scooped frozen yogurt that tastes almost identical to ice cream with fewer calories and fat.

Located adjacent to the Downtown Bellevue Park, Yogurtland is one of Bellevue’s most popular self-serve frozen yogurt shops with a line out of the door on a daily basis. They use their own brand of yogurt with new flavors regularly.

While shopping at Bellevue Square Mall, Blissberri is conveniently located inside the mall on the second floor next to Macy’s. Just like Peaks, Blissberri uses Yocream frozen yogurt, a very tasty soft serve frozen yogurt brand.

Bubble Tea

Drive down 148th toward SR 520 and you’ll run into Cozy Bubble Tea, a brand new bubble tea shop with a variety of flavors for teas, slushies and fruit juices. Experiment with the different jellies you can add to the bottom of your drinks, like lychee coconut jelly and rainbow tapioca.

Located on the second floor of Lincoln Square is an always-busy Taiwanese restaurant known as Din Tai Fung. While the massive line out of the door may be intimidating, you can walk right past it to the to-go window and order bubble tea there. Try their strawberry, mocha or mango smoothies or the traditional boba milk tea. You can even call ahead so that your drink is ready to pick up upon arrival.

Inside of the Crossroads Mall in the food court is Boba Express, another place to get boba drinks. They are good at helping you figure out what type of boba to put in your drink and also have a huge list of different flavors to try. They generally deliver drinks quickly to keep the line moving and customers coming back for more.

BC has so many more cold summer treat options around it, so be sure to celebrate summer with a smoothie, cup of ice cream, frozen yogurt and some bubble tea with your friends.

A romantic summer in Bellevue

Courtesy of

Derived from the French name meaning “beautiful view,” Bellevue is full of unlimited romantic opportunities this summer.

This upcoming weekend from July 27-29, Bellevue will be hosting not one, not two, but three fairs in the downtown area. Bellevue Festival of the Arts, as well as Bellevue Art Museum’s Arts Fair and Bellevue’s 6th Street Fair, will attract about 150,000 people. Stroll through the booths and enjoy anything from sculptures to photography to mixed media. And with a festival comes those oh-so-unhealthy yet oh-so-delicious, deep-fried and frequently on a stick, sweet and savory snacks. What a perfect opportunity to appreciate fine art and food you can only get at a fair or festival!

Who could forget those childhood memories of either terrorizing or being terrorized by water balloons thrown by all involved? Bring back those memories while creating new ones with your significant other by having a backyard water balloon fight.

Valley 6 Drive-In Theater, located in Auburn, offers double features for the price of $9 a person. Cuddle in the car, on the hood, on the roof or anywhere you and your special someone feel comfortable, because at drive-in movies, you get the same movie theater feel but with more space and flexibility for comfort.

Drive-in movies are super fun but can be a mini road trip if you aren’t looking to stray away from the Bellevue area. As an alternative, take your laptop, blanket and picnic basket and enjoy a movie together on the beach after the sun goes down.

BC offers planetarium shows about once a month on campus for free. Experience the high definition projections as you learn about stars and what exists beyond our solar system. If the weather is clear, there will sometimes even be a sky viewing through BC’s telescopes. The next planetarium show is Friday, August 3.

Self-serve frozen yogurt is like the new version of barista stands; they are popping up everywhere! Check out Peaks at Crossroads, Blissberri at Bellevue Square Mall and Yogurtland by the Downtown Bellevue Park. It’s the perfect romantic way to grab a cold snack after a long walk around the park. If you want to stay closer to BC, take a tiny walk up to the 148th Café and grab a smoothie or if it’s a bit chilly, a beautifully crafted cup of hot chocolate.

If you both are active people and always bouncing off of the wall, then check out Sky High Sports, a giant place filled with trampolines and fun. Just be careful not to break any bones, as trampolines frequently cause injuries.

Bellevue Square Mall is one of the top destinations for people when visiting Bellevue and located right across from it is Lucky Strike, a bowling alley and arcade. Treat yourself to a night of fun by trying to race each other in the car racing games, play air hockey, skee ball or one of the many different games the arcade has to offer. Then after, walk right over to the bowling alley. If you aren’t in a bowling mood, then play a game of pool. Loser has to buy dessert.

In the event something low key sounds appealing, then cook a meal together at home. Enjoy a barbeque outdoors, prep salads and juice. At the conclusion of your meal, roast marshmallows while enjoying each other’s company and have a wonderful evening full of giggles and love.

Bellevue sometimes appears to lack great date ideas, but when you step back and really absorb all of the opportunities for romance, there are actually tons of ideas. Take advantage of them! Visit the many parks, get lost together on a trail and just enjoy each other’s company as you embrace summer romance.

Fun new drugs, unknown and deadly consequences


With the recent revelation in the Miami cannibal case, it was discovered that Rudy Eugene, believed to be under the influence of bath salts, actually did not have any type of synthetic compounds in his body besides marijuana. Despite this finding, Obama has officially signed a federal ban on different types of synthetic drugs.

So what do cannibals and bath salts have to do with us? As college students, we like to experiment. Most commonly, we are known for messing around with alcohol, marijuana, Adderall, mushrooms, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy. Yeah, we heard all of the risks our health teacher taught us in high school but still did it anyway. But the reason college students are so often associated with drug use is because we need energy, confidence and relaxation. Plus, it is supposedly mind altering and cool.

With the introduction to bath salts as a new type of drug, new types of dangers lurk in every package. Even though they are not specifically suggested to be inhaled, snorted, baked, smoked or any other type of way you could possibly imagine taking this drug, bath salts have no dosage recommendation. No one knows what they are getting into and when to stop. This means that the brain can experience excessive amounts of this psychoactive stimulant and hyperthermia will occur. Welcome to “dark hell.”

While the brain is going crazy, you will experience sleep deprivation, which results in escalated stress. Sounds really fun, right? Little is known about the long-term effects of this powerful new substance, but with the new ban on synthetic drugs, opponents are arguing that research on future drugs will be limited.

But forget all those hardcore drugs and let’s look at what college kids are really doing (legally): Hookah. Yeah, that “I’m just smoking air” excuse is not going to work when you look at the serious health risks associated with this increasingly popular activity. You are smoking nicotine and absorbing toxins that may be found in cigarettes like carbon monoxide. Plus, you get to shake hands with all of the possible diseases that may just want to keep holding on like lung, stomach, esophagus and oral cancer.

You don’t have to quit your weekly visits to the Night Owl or Cobra Lounge, but be aware of the risks you may be unknowingly susceptible to. And if you decide for whatever reason to play with bath salts, you will most likely not turn into a cannibal, but you will be facing serious consequences.

In the future, we are sure to see new types of dangerous substances. The new law is prohibiting a variety of compounds that are similar to those that hide under the innocent name of bath salts. Not only are these drugs not to be sold in stores, but also this federal law will be building a barricade against online sales.

Be careful about experimentation, and research whatever you decide to put into your body. The risks are very real. You may only live once, but don’t make it end by irrational decisions made under the influence.

So what’s the deal? Computer bargains you’ll love


With access to a computer practically a necessity in college, it can be difficult to decide what kind of product to purchase. Even if you already have an electronic device, it may be time to upgrade to something more practical for a college student when your computer is constantly failing.

Some software can cost well over one thousand dollars. At the Bellevue College Bookstore, several different types of Adobe and Microsoft software are available for BC students, faculty and staff at discounted rates. For example, purchasing the complete Microsoft Office software could burden your wallet for about $150 for up to three PCs, compared to the $50 discount for students for the same programs plus more. One of the programs in the student edition of software is known as OneNote, which is designed to function as a virtual notebook for students to organize their notes and any schoolwork.

Right now, Microsoft is offering a popular deal that would entitle any student who purchases a select new Windows 7 PC to receive a free Xbox. Microsoft is a firm believer in “giving students everything they need for a successful new school year.” The Xbox 360 not only has gaming capabilities but also options such as streaming videos and music. At Microsoft stores, they are offering the Microsoft phone challenge. They will attempt to prove that their phone is faster and more useful than your smart phone. In the event you lose, you will receive a $25 gift card to the store! Take the challenge, and if you lose, use the gift card to buy a video game for your free Xbox.

On the other hand, Apple has education pricing for students with discounts ranging from $50-$200 for select computers. It even offers customizable options for perspective customers who desire anything from more memory to a larger hard drive. What really appeals to students is Apple’s $100 gift card giveaway for customers who buy a Mac now until Sept. 21. The gift card can be used to purchase anything from the App store. On the other hand, students are also eligible for a $50 gift card with the purchase of a new iPad.

An iPad may be useful for college students not only because it has that much-advertised Retina display, but it also contains many applications for students all on one device. Its Wi-Fi capability enables it to connect wirelessly to printers and offer Internet searches for reports.

The Mac, on the other hand, has “the world’s most advanced desktop operating system.” Its programs are designed for the user to create and view professional pieces of work and will even allow you to open Microsoft Office files.

Being a student will also make you eligible to sign up with a membership program known as Amazon Student. By being a member, receive free two-day shipping and great discounts and promotions. There are also smart phone applications for Amazon Student so that members can constantly be involved and enjoy convenient online shopping.

You are also eligible to sign up with the HP Academy, which is an online website offering exclusive discounts to its members simply for being a student. Enjoy live assistance and a PC match for your major.

If you are not interested in purchasing any new electronics anytime soon, embrace being a college student and enjoy discounts at places such as AMC and Regal Theaters, Subway, Urban Outfitters, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and more depending on locations. Just ask an associate about available discounts with a student ID, even if it is not advertised.

Enjoy being a college student and all of the awesome deals you can benefit from, especially when it comes to getting that expensive piece of equipment you are constantly writing papers with!

Bag ban in Seattle


On July 1 of this year, the city of Seattle officially banned plastic bags.  In lieu of plastic bags, stores will be charging five cents per paper bag and will be encouraging customers to use reusable bags.

According to the Seattle Public Utilities, the city of Seattle uses 292 million plastic bags a year and only 13 percent of them are recycled. The city of Seattle is well aware that banning plastic bags alone will not be the end point of the pollution in Puget Sound. However, with misused plastic bags finding their way into the natural habitats of wildlife, animals are mistaking them for food and/or choking on these non-digestible items.

A petition that would repeal Seattle’s bag ban has already started but will need more than 16,000 signatures by January 17 in order to qualify for the August ballot. While it may seem far stretched to reach this goal, voters have been successful in repealing a 20-cent fee for plastic bags in 2008. However, I don’t think they will be successful because this time, there are cheaper alternative options and plastic bags will be gone all together.

I find it ridiculous people are trying to revoke this ban. People have called this ban the start to communism, a misinformed idea and just another tax on the citizens. In response to these claims, I find this bag ban an excellent way for people to be more responsible for their actions. Instead of getting plastic bags and throwing them away, people will now be conscious enough to think of substitutions to be greener instead of having to pay a fee for paper bags.

Those against this bag ban claim paper bags are actually worse for the environment than plastic, causing harm to the environment by using up trees and taking up excess space. What many people do not realize is that petroleum is what a plastic bag is made of, so not only are plastic bags depleting our natural resources, but also they are polluting the environment upon creation.

When using a reusable bag, be smart about which foods you pair with each other. Bring enough bags to separate raw meats as well as dry products from other foods to prevent contamination. Wash your reusable bags frequently, for dirty bags can be the cause of illnesses and in extreme cases, E. coli. Also, take enough bags to stores for all of your items to fit to ensure nothing is crushed or overstuffed.

By taking your own bag to go shopping, you will be able to carry more in one bag and will be part of a city-wide reduction of waste. In foreign countries such as Bangladesh, plastic bags were clogging sewage systems. I find those protesting against the bag ban to be the uninformed ones about where plastic bags go upon disposal and the horrific consequences of having them continuously improperly disposed.

Seattle has joined Edmonds, Bellingham and Mukilteo in this plastic bag ban, and I am anxious to see where it will go next as well as the positive results it will reap.

Conservative spending made easy


Food, entertainment and parties are dominating college student expenses and overtime will be costly. You don’t have to completely refrain from spending on nonessential items to save big bucks. Instead, consider the alternative ways to decrease both living expenses and discretionary spending.

If you transfer to a university and sign up for a meal plan, then use it. You invested in meals ahead of time and neglecting it is a sure way to flush money down the drain. Try to get the most out of it.

In the event you are not signed up with a food plan, then purchase foods from grocery stores. Only make visits to restaurants for special occasions. To save money, prepare your own food. Quit going out to cafes and purchasing a coffee and bagel. Buy a bag of bagels, cream cheese and some fresh fruit, and you’re set for a week. If coffee is your “must have” morning beverage, invest in a coffee maker. $2-$5 a day for a coffee may be inexpensive in increments, but overtime it adds up. And don’t even think about bottled water. Get your own water bottle and get your own free water out of the faucet.

Think about entertainment outlets. Movies, video games and new electronics could be smartly purchased. If you go to a movie theater, find out which theaters offer student discounts or matinee rates. Some theaters will even offer discounts if you work nearby.

The library has great DVDs for rent but will sometimes lack the specific movie you are looking for. Ask your friends around to share video games and movies instead of buying or renting them.

Coupons are your best friends. You don’t have to be an obsessed coupon clipper like the people on “Extreme Couponing” to save big bucks. To obtain discounts, sign up for the e-mail list for your favorite shopping outlets. They will notify of you of upcoming sales, and many will e-mail discounts to those on the mailing list. Also, “like” places you spend money on Facebook to learn about upcoming promotions. In addition, there are coupon sites and applications such as Pirq and Groupon that offer amazing discounts on dining, entertainment and more. Do some research about the specific company you are purchasing from and find online printable coupons or codes before you spend your money on it.

Try doing things yourself. Rather than paying $12 for a manicure, do it yourself and then use that same nail polish color to continue to treat your nails whenever you crave that color.

Watch the way you drive. Don’t wait until your car has barely any gas left in it to fill up. By doing this, your car will use the dirty gasoline that settles at the bottom of the tank. Your fuel filter will not be able to catch all of it, and this dirty gasoline could reach your car’s fuel line and potentially engine. Also be cautious with revving. When a car first starts up, parts inside the engine are not yet lubricated with oil, and revving would cost way more than revving is worth to repair a damaged engine. Lastly, improve your gas mileage by driving smoothly. Abrupt stops and starts not only are bad for the frequency you need to fill up, but also can cause your brakes to slowly break down.

You don’t have to refrain from partying, but watch how much you spend on alcohol and parties. Places will charge a cover fee and then even more per drink. The more drinks, the more you rack up your check. Drink responsibly and by limiting the times you drink alcohol, you could save a ton while still having a great time with friends.

Roommate dilemma: Finding a perfect roommate

When it’s time for you to finally take flight away from under the wings of your parents and into a university environment, you’ll encounter something I like to call the roommate dilemma.

Ah yes, figuring out that one friend or maybe even a stranger that you will need to dedicate the next year to living with once you transfer schools can be quite the challenge. However, with thousands of incoming perplexed students facing the same problem of not knowing who to room with, you’re bound to find someone out of the bunch that works for you.

Maybe you are lucky enough to already have a friend who is going to the same school as you! Just because you guys both like spending some time together does not necessarily mean that you will be compatible living partners. Think about whether or not you could tolerate living with your friend all the time everyday and then consider their study habits, bedtime and thoughts on the use of substances. If your friend loves to stay out all night and just wants to embrace the college experience, and all you want is to stay at home and work on your homework, then living together can turn ugly.

Many universities with on-campus housing will offer virtual sites that are designed like an online dating site, but will instead help people find their perfect roommate. Take it seriously when filling it out so that you have the maximum matches.

Another way to meet incoming students and potential roommates is to join the Facebook group page for incoming students to the university you are transferring to. Many people will post roommate ads. If you decide you want to advertise yourself to find the perfect roommate for you, be explicitly clear on what you like, will not tolerate and what you are looking for. Mention what time you like to go to bed, how much noise you can handle in the room, your policy on visitors, alcohol, drugs and cleanliness.

When I made an ad, I literally made a list of what my living habits were and how I feel toward particular behaviors of others.

Make sure you begin your ad with where you want to live! With many places to live on campus, it would totally suck if you found your ideal roommate just to find out they want to live in the one place you despise.

I must emphasize the need to be very specific about your values and living space. If someone does not fit one of your needs, then you can face potential conflicts for the future. Even if you are desperate to find a roommate, do not room with someone if they fail to meet some of your requirements.

When surveying potential candidates, eliminate those with poor communication skills, do not seem trustworthy or are overall unfriendly. You don’t have to be best friends with the person you are rooming with, but you need to establish rules and set boundaries.

If all else fails, you can be daring and have the school assign a random room at random.

Picking a random roommate can be a hit or miss, but if you honestly don’t care who you room with, this could be the best option.

Enjoy your hunt for a roommate and best of luck.


Goodbye textbooks, hello cash


Whether a textbook appeared on the required books list and ended up never being used, or you slept with it under your pillow, there are many occasions in which a textbook is no longer useful after the completion of classes. That massive precalculus textbook that your teacher loved assigning for homework doesn’t have to rot in a cardboard box in the attic. Let it be someone else’s insomnia while making some cash in the process.

BC charges about $130 for a brand new copy of the must-have precalculus textbook and will often run out of its used copies. Take advantage of this situation. A lot of people will neglect purchasing their textbooks prior to the first day of class and will sometimes end up with homework within the first week of class from a book not in their possession. Desperately trying to find an affordable and quick way for their much needed grade maker, you can kindly offer a reasonable price and a speedy transaction.

While sites like Amazon, Chegg and eBay can pay a pretty decent price for your textbook, it still takes time to ship it there and receive a check for way less than what you could be making in person. Instead, utilize the BC “For Sale” board located on the first floor of the C Building and/or post an ad on Craigslist. If you decide to sell your textbook online, specifically state the name of the textbook in the title. Make sure you provide the edition number, asking price and what city  you are in or are willing to meet up in for the exchange. Sometimes, it can even be effective to state the new price BC is asking for and then compare it to your asking price to show those who are interested that they could be saving big time if they were to purchase from you.

When declaring a price, always suggest a price higher than you really think it is worth or would be willing to give it away for. For example, start off charging about 75 percent of the new BC listed price. In the event your customer wants to purchase your textbook, you can either charge way more than it is worth or can enter a phase of negotiation down to however much you really think it should sell for. In the end, some money can be better than no money at all for something you will never need to use.

Never commit. Ten people may e-mail you after finding your ad on Craiglist or through BC. Prioritize those who will pay your asking price, those who can meet nearby and those who want your textbook as soon as possible. Explain in your response to the inquiries that there are many other people who have contacted you and that you will be selecting your customer based off of whoever fits your requirements the best. While very rare, it is possible for someone to be desperate enough to have the textbook to offer an even higher price than you asked for in order to be selected as the recipient of the textbook.

Another effective way to sell your old textbooks is to contact your instructors and ask them if any of their students are interested in purchasing your textbook. Better yet, obtain permission to visit their classroom and try to sell your textbook in person. We often have unresponsive instructors or professors that may take breaks. Do some research on the BC Bookstore website and investigate which other teachers require the same textbooks and also contact them. Craft a very formal, polite e-mail explaining your desire to sell a textbook you do not need anymore. Professors want their students to be successful, and you can land yourself into a win-win-win situation with you walking away with a pocket full of cash, a student with a textbook and a professor with a prepared student.

When selling textbooks, be persistent, reasonable and ready. Good luck selling your books and have a great summer quarter!

Same parking rates year round?

Illustration by Kevin Chinn

Bellevue College once had the luxury of offering free parking to all students and faculty. After all, we pay enough as it is for tuition, textbooks and other college expenses. It costs $65 for everyday parking a quarter and for three quarters it is about $200. Add another year to attending BC and you get $400 just for parking! I was absolutely appalled when discovering that summer parking permit passes were required, or I would have to pay to park if I am only visiting campus for a few hours.

In 2011, Seattle Times reported that when determining the pricing for parking, “The price should be cheap enough that most of the metered spaces and city parking lots are always almost full,” but not so inexpensive that there are no available parking spaces. The thing about BC is that during summer, there is so much more parking available than the other quarters. Finding a parking place in the mornings or afternoons isn’t a quest; it’s to be expected almost immediately. Then why are we still paying the same rates for a parking pass and daily parking if there is more available parking on campus?

Parking passes still cost $65 for everyday parking or $35 for twice a week. Even if you are only coming to school twice a week, you are still paying over $100 to park at BC for three quarters.

It makes sense that charging for parking during fall, winter and spring quarter is in effect because there is constant congestion on campus due to the fact that more students are attempting to find a parking place. Paying for parking offers an incentive for students to carpool, ride their bike, bus, walk or find another mode of transportation to school to free up parking spaces. Parking fees can also be positive because it helps pay for the student discounted bus passes, parking lot maintenance and enforcement (which is just another way to say that part of what we pay for parking pays for salaries of the people who make sure we have paid).

All of the parking fees make sense during busier quarters, but when over half the campus is empty, BC should offer either free or reduced parking during the summer quarter. Many students attend school the same number of days as previous quarters but for shorter periods of time.

I have to give BC’s Sustainability Department credit for their efforts to provide options to the students. Deric Gruen, BC’s Sustainability and Resource Conservation Manager has worked hard to offer various transportation options for students to reduce parking demands. One of the latest parking plans offered to students is a discounted parking pass in lots further away from campus.

In a couple of years, BC will be planning to use lots 2 and 4 for a health and sciences building. I can even see the price of parking passes during fall, winter and spring quarter increase in order to keep up with the decreased parking capacity. However, summer quarter will still have empty lots and should not require students to have to pay the same prices as the other quarters.

The bottom line is that during summer quarter, the demand for parking is significantly smaller than the other three quarters of the year. People are enrolled in fewer classes and remain on campus for shorter periods of times. Therefore we should not be subject to pay the same outstanding rates during a season in which most people are generally on break.

Joaquim Lei: Inspiration, club president and linguistics artist

Photograph by C Hayley Halstead

Born and raised in Macau, China, BC student Joaquim Lei suffered an immense language barrier upon moving to North America. Lei resided with his oldest brother in Toronto for his final year of high school, but was ready for a change in his environment and moved to the United States to start his college education here at BC.

Initially, Lei studied biochemistry, but because of his  talent in learning languages, Lei redirected, and is now aiming at studying holistic linguistics. Currently, he is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English with some knowledge in Japanese and Portuguese.

With graduation sneaking up, this ready-to-graduate student embraces school and is constantly succeeding. This spring quarter, Lei has enrolled in four courses – 20 credits – while simultaneously being the BC Photography and Piano Club president.

Lei is constantly promoting his club and working on planning field trips and events. “Photography makes memories; it’s a very powerful tool for expression,” explained Lei when asked to describe what photography means to him. This week, his club is hosting an exhibition event that incorporates the Fashion Club that will last until Thursday, June 7.

While Lei is now an involved BC student with campus life, including not only the Piano and Photography Club, but also Fashion Club, Glee Club and Peer to Peer, he used to be what Lei believes many BC students do: Attend class and then head home. After learning about Photography club, Lei became a member. Becoming involved on campus educated Lei about how the school works, which includes Student Programs, Food Services, Counseling Services and general interaction with people he may not typically talk with. By becoming active on campus, not only did Lei make a ton of friends, but also, was able to land a job as a tutor in nutrition.

Because of his wonderful experience, Lei shares with fellow international students, “Try to be involved on campus. Try to accept or learn more about other cultures and other people. It will definitely help you in both your personal and academic life. You’ll become more aware of your surroundings.” Though this specific word of wisdom was directed at international students, Lei still believes other BC students should follow his advice.

Lei looks forward to attending commencement and receiving his Associate’s Degree in Arts and Science, but his Bellevue fun will come to an end on July 29 when he will leave the country and move to Portugal. Lei has obtained a European Union passport, which means he can reside anywhere in Europe permanently. He views this as a strong marketable asset.

In Portugal, Lei plans to study languages more intensely, with strong interest in becoming an international businessman.

For his final words of wisdom to graduating BC students, Lei says, “Whenever you’re down, never give up because you will be successful at last. No matter where you go, you will have a bright future.”

Lei will be attending the BC commencement on Friday, June 15, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the gymnasium, with many other BC students joining him dressed in their caps and gowns.

The much deserved summer break

After studying until the a.m. and getting through finals, it is time for the much deserved summer break. As

Illustration by Brandy Pickering

soon as school is out, reward yourself, whether you enjoy the company of your friends, family or maybe just yourself.

Tons of BC students will attend classes and then head home with little to no social interaction. Take the chance to make plans with friends or classmates. Connecting with new people could turn into a lifetime of friendships.

Plan a barbeque by the beach or in a park. Encourage everyone to bring a dish of their own. To make it even more fun, suggest that the dish represent their culture. If you want to do something on a more personal level, plan a camping trip. Do a Costco run, and carpool over to Lake Chelan for a couple of days. Summer break should be a time to escape from your everyday routines and enjoy stress-free weeks. If camping isn’t your style, then think about planning a road trip.

Want a fun summer of romance? Start it off with a drive-in theater. Go ballroom dancing at Century Ballroom in downtown Seattle and afterwards hit up Dicks for some fries and Yogurtland for some evening dessert. There are some great BC student discounts, like indoor sky diving near Southcenter. Try something out of your comfort zone with a partner. Summer is also a great time to start dating, so keep your options open and start looking.

Switch up your playlist. You’ve been listening to the same tunes from fall, but since you’ve been so busy with homework, your music hasn’t been updated. Check out the latest hits or experiment with music and try listening to a new genre or a new band. Perhaps there’s a song that’s way overplayed on the radio, but you cannot stop singing it. Look up what other music that artist has to offer.

Go to a summer event, like a concert or festival. There are tons of summer events that will definitely get you in the summer mood. Watch Fourth of July Fireworks at Emerald Downs, go to the Bellevue summer outdoor movies, Jamfest, various art festivals and Capitol Hill Block Party. Seattle has tons of events throughout the summer that will keep reminding you of the wonderful break you are on.

For some, being social isn’t a top priority. A lot of people will use their summer break as a way to work even more hours. Give your boss your new hours soon so that they can start scheduling more hours for you. Allow yourself time for free time so that you don’t end up working yourself to death. After all, it’s called “summer break” for a reason.

If you don’t have a job yet, start looking. There are tons of summertime job opportunities. Go to Craigslist and check out some of the local gigs. With all the upcoming events, people are constantly looking for workers. Also, because people graduate and move away, businesses are looking for replacements. Market yourself to as many companies you find interesting as possible and land yourself a job!

There are endless possibilities during summer break. Make the most of it and have fun.

Being paid 100k to dropout won’t make you a millionaire


With the cost of higher education rising nearly twenty-five percent in the past thirty years, students are burdened with an average debt of $25,000 upon graduation. However, the oh-so-confident Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder, is now encouraging students to be innovators and choose not to attend college. In fact, his Thiel Foundation is giving $100,000 to about 20 students with one catch: they dropout of college.

Each year, Thiel pledges to pay twenty extraordinary students to work on their ideas and start a business. On CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Thiel’s theory on higher education is explained to be “just another debt-fueled luxury.”

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are prime examples of people who dropped out of college and made beyond what was expected. Okay, so these three individuals had brilliant ideas but realistically are one out of millions. They are extraordinary people with money making ideas. If everyone could drop out of college and start up the next Facebook, they would. But quite frankly, we’re not all fit for becoming entrepreneurs.

“We have a society where successful people are encouraged to go to college. But it is… a mistake to think that that’s what makes people successful,” Thiel remarks on “60 Minutes.” While I agree with Thiel’s statement, I have to disagree with his foundation.

The Thiel Fellowship lists out the steps for the fellows on It states that fellows must develop a plan, meet with mentors regularly, potentially intern or work, update the Thiel Foundation as requested, and focus most of their time on innovation. It also discourages students from attending to college so that they may focus on their ideas.

The mentoring program that Thiel requires is practically equivalent to college courses. The small number of 20 kids makes it simple to provide one-on-one coaching. Because most college dropouts do not have mentors, Thiel is presenting an unrealistic view of what dropping out of college can turn into.

Some of the ideas the youngsters in Thiel’s program have come up with include things such as cheaper bio-fuels, more efficient solar panels and a cure to aging. On Thiel’s site he says, “Some ideas just can’t wait.” While the ideas of these participants in Thiel’s program may be compelling, think about how sustainable they can be in the long run. True, some will be successful, but I highly doubt all twenty will become millionaires from their ideas.

Consider why only a few college dropout names are well-known out of the thousands of young adults who drop out each year. College dropouts that lead to successful people are a rarity. This perception Thiel is giving the general public that college is not essential to be great is flawed. He has oversimplified the issue.

Major companies will be less likely to consider or will completely reject non-college educated applicants. They lack what is called a marketable degree. Plus, the college experience is full of networking, friendship and skills that cannot be learned anywhere else. In the event of a recession, a college graduate will be more likely to keep their job.

Thiel’s belief that not all people are wired to become an entrepreneur and not all people are wired for college is a true. However, I must emphasize that not all people who dropout or chose to skip college will be successful. In fact, with college tuition rising and the clock ticking, it may be extremely difficult for someone to go back to college in the event their college-free lives prove to be unproductive. This goes for the students in Thiel’s program. In the event their ideas fail and they need to attend school, these young adults will fall behind of those in the same age group and may even need to start from scratch.

Ideas of educational reform are up in the air. There are discussions about what America will look like many years from now, and not all believe a college education requirement will dictate the kids of the future. In fact, some are calling the educational system broken and, like Thiel, are urging people to become more open minded and accept the fate of our changing world. But can we really say that a world with fewer educated people will be a significant one?

While the cost of a college education is not trivial, it will have its benefits in the end. We are in college for a reason, so remind yourself of your goals and continue to complete your degree.

Be healthy, be inspired

Illustration by Kevin Chinn

It’s spring and because of the warmer weather, you have just been invited to a pool party. However, when it’s time to reveal your swimsuit body, you may be a bit disappointed if throughout the fall and winter, exercise and a healthy diet weren’t your top priorities.

Even if you’re a calorie-burning machine, you can’t burn away chronic diseases. Approximately seven out of ten American deaths are from chronic diseases, which may include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and arthritis. These life-threatening illnesses can be prevented with a healthier lifestyle and should also help motivate you to live healthier.

First, evaluate your level of exercise and if you lack the time to work out, think about discrete ways to work out. Take the stairs instead of the escalators and walk instead of drive to the grocery store. A common excuse used for little to no exercise is a lack of access to workout equipment. Do jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups, squats, weight lifting, stair stepping, or even go out dancing. These can be done at home without a machine and without paying membership fees.

Another part of being healthy is being active. CNN reported that sitting for hours could shave years off life. One of the steps in the right direction of practicing a healthier lifestyle is to not sit for long periods of time. After two hours, get up, stretch and walk around. While it may seem silly, purchase a large bouncy ball in lieu of a chair because it will force your body to use muscles to stabilize yourself.

If you enjoy companionship or being competitive, work on being healthy with a friend. Go swimming together and see who can swim the most laps or can tread water the longest, share diet plans and also monitor achievements made by each other. Having a friend work towards similar goals will encourage you to inspire others and to work hard.

College students don’t always have unlimited funds to purchase local or organic foods, but they can afford to make better decisions. A limited budget does not necessarily limit choices, as there will always be healthier options, such as choosing fresh fruit over french fries as a side dish. Choose foods filled with fiber and protein to fill you up quicker and build muscle, such as apples and nuts.

The other tip regarding a healthier diet is to eat smaller meals more frequently. Snack five times a day on satisfying snacks. Also refrain from eating two hours before bedtime. And while early classes may want you to sleep in as much as possible, designate a time to have breakfast. Skipping meals is not healthy.

Every time you want to eat food, reconsider your goal of becoming healthy and then ensure your food meets those standards. To remind yourself, handwrite your goals, and place it somewhere you will see everyday. For example, write “I want to lose X pounds by Y” and hang it on your bathroom mirror.

Being healthy can make you feel better about yourself and increase your confidence around others. And if appearance isn’t a motivator, think about all of the diseases you could have based on poor diet and minimal exercise. Becoming healthy will make life more enjoyable and give you a more optimistic viewpoint in life.

What the hell is YOLO?


It’s a Sunday night, and you receive a text from your friend to skip studying and go out and act wild. You politely decline, but then your friend replies, “There’s so much fun to have tonight… #YOLO.” Your friend is not referring to Yolo, California; they’re sharing “you only live once.”

This new acronym has gone viral over the Internet with heavy usage. The connotations behind YOLO may encourage risk taking, experimentation and absurd decisions. However, others believe that YOLO isn’t just about drinking, smoking or making a fool of yourself; it’s about doing something with your life.

YOLO became well-known from Canadian musician, Drake, and his song “The Motto” in November of 2011. In his chorus, Drake raps, “You only live once: that’s the motto, n****, YOLO.” Because of Drake’s popularity and his usage of this acronym, Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums have users posting it at the end of their statuses and tweets, as if to pardon themselves from their poor decision-making.

The notion that it’s okay to neglect studying on a Sunday night and to instead go out and party has had some people shaking their heads. “If you use YOLO as an excuse to not study, then that’s misusing the phrase in a way it’s not supposed to be used,” stated Ali Collucci, the Director of LGBTQ.

Part of BC’s mission statement is to promote student success, inclusion, global awareness, accessibility and advanced pluralism. As a student, it’s important to uphold the values BC holds, such as student success. While it may be fun to participate in activities that are unique and fun, remember you’re a student representing BC and that academics should be your number one priority.

Other BC students do not necessarily see YOLO as a degrading acronym to use. Chris Vu, the Volunteer Coordinator from Peer to Peer, shared his perspective of YOLO, “Take chances and live life to the fullest.” Celebrity Zac Efron tattooed “YOLO” to his hand in support of this ideology.

On the other hand, the Social Peer to Peer Coordinator, Divya Nair, explained, “Even though we don’t know when life ends, at each point, we have to make sure the choices we make don’t affect us negatively in the long run.”

Some examples of YOLO on Twitter include “Drag racing with my Prius,” “Getting drunk with my grandma on mother’s day,” “Wearing yoga pants to prom.” However, not all usages of this acronym are wild, and this is where many believe over usage has sprouted.

“Just napped for two hours,” “Got a B on my math test,”  “Not stretching before practice” are some of the tweets and Facebook statuses that can be viewed after searching for YOLO. These bland messages followed by YOLO are becoming the new LOL, filler after the message you’re trying to say regardless of whether or not it is humorous or risky. Online comic artist, Tyree Dillihay, tweeted “#YOLO should’ve only lived once… But y’all keep RESURECTING IT,” and that’s the whole idea behind this redundancy.

Instead of popping YOLO on the back of each status and tweet you post, if you decide to use it, use it sparingly to hold more meaning. Use it when you try something new or execute something significant with your life.

Say hello to the WeCar!

Photo by C Hayley Halstead

Approximately two weeks ago, the first ever WeCar in Washington was introduced to a college campus. That college campus is BC. Resting on the first floor of the parking garage and in lot 14 are a Kia Soul and a Fiat 500 waiting for a driver.

Similar to the concept of the Zipcar, the WeCar is a company owned by Enterprise that makes it easy to rent out vehicles at an hourly rate. An annual cost of $35 is required, but the money will go directly back to driving credits. Each hour the car is rented is $8. The cost of overnight rental is $35. While the initial rates may seem a bit pricey, these costs include fuel. Up to 200 miles per car share period will be paid for by WeCar. The Kia Soul gets 27 miles to the gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while the Fiat 500 has 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

The best deal in these rates is the weekend rate. From Friday night to Monday morning, a car can be rented for $55. This in itself could be a more affordable way to go on a small weekend road trip because of the program’s fuel coverage.

While rental cars require drivers to be at least 25 years of age, the WeCar’s eligibility is open for any BC student, faculty and staff at least 18 years old, but anyone 20 or under must have a parent/guardian consent form signed before membership is approved.

Another perk to this rental program is that international students are eligible for membership if they possess a license from another country. This is appealing because purchasing a car while abroad is not always financially probable, but by renting a car for short periods of time, international students have more options in the event they need their own transportation.

WeCar is even dedicated to providing accessibility to its members by installing mobility devices such as left hand controls with spinner knobs, left foot accelerators and pedal charge. Members must reserve the car 48 hours ahead of time, and installation of these tools is complementary.

“I think it will help students either not have to drive to campus and also maybe not even have to buy a car at all,” stated the smiling Deric Gruen, BC’s Sustainability and Resource Conservation Manager. He has been working on starting a car-sharing program to BC since July of 2011.

To sign up for this program, go online to After registering, a card that is similar to a credit card in appearance will be mailed to the new members. Making an appointment to rent the car is all done online, and to access the car, members will need to hold their cards in front of the censor located at the front of the car. This will unlock the car. Located in the middle console will be the keys to the vehicle as well as a gas card.

Because the cars are owned and maintained by Enterprise, BC does not profit from the rates. However, the school does benefit by having the additional option for its students.

For now, BC only has two cars on campus for students to use. “Depending on interest, more cars will be added,” shared Gruen. Gruen also persuaded students to utilize This is a website where BC students can find carpool buddies and people to split the cost of WeCar rental.

Becoming a member of the WeCar program will reap benefits such as not having to pay for a car, having fewer vehicles on campus and having more transportation options available.

Different roommates you may encounter

Photo courtesy of

One of the most significant changes from BC to a four-year university will be the campus housing. If you have never had a roommate before, this could either be a blessing or a nightmare. While some colleges offer a form of “roommate matchmaking,” others will require for you to know exactly who you want to room with. There’s also the risky random roommate assignment that many students end up trying out. The type of roommate you will end up is the luck of the draw, and there are tons of roommate personalities you may encounter, but here are some of the ones that are common.

The hoarder delights in giveaways, whether it is a free Frisbee, T-shirt or sticker. Typically, the hoarder will reside in a pigsty and will stuff their beloved items below their bed, in drawers, in the closet and sometimes under the bathroom sink. If you recognize your roommate as a hoarder, establish rules. Share your desire to live in a clutter-free environment. Even suggest helping them get rid of things they no longer need. In the event they refuse to give up their packrat habit, declare where your space is and prohibit them from placing any of their things within your area.

If you are the hoarder, pack only what you really need when it is time to leave for college. Try to schedule monthly cleanings to get rid of your clutter. If you aren’t going to remember it when it is gone, you will probably not need it. Also, be considerate of your roommate. While they may not seem annoyed at your clutter, it can be an unpleasant atmosphere. Do your best to clean up after yourself and dispose of unnecessary things.

The gossip enjoys being a social butterfly and will try to get to know you, your friends and practically everyone they interact with. They enjoy asking questions, talking in general, tagging along and talking about their friends to you. The gossip can be described in one word: Nosy. If you are uninterested in their blabber, share with them your need to study and to focus. Politely show them you are uninterested in sharing information about yourself and listening to the lives of others.

If you are the gossip, take a step back and look at yourself. You are projecting a high school-like demeanor that is often perceived as being immature. There is such thing as too many questions, so do your best to not swamp someone with whatever your mind desires. Pay attention to discrete hints, as some people may not be interested in hearing you talk about people. Show your roommate you care, but watch how much you communicate with them if they are backing away.

The stink may come home after a day at the gym and crash without a shower. There’s nothing worse than a warm room filled with human body odor. Maybe they shower regularly, but it’s evident that they do not shower well. Set up small air fresheners throughout the room. Give them friendly clues.

If you are the stink, then you most likely are not aware of the discomfort you are causing others. In this event, look at what your roommate is doing. Are they lighting candles or opening windows when it is cold? Take a look at why they may be doing that. See where your bathing has gone wrong. If your roommate smells you, then your classmates probably smell you too.

The partier loves guests and having a good time. They like loud music, party games and crashing in the a.m. If you are not a partier, then there will be many potential conflicts with this roommate. Again, it is important to set up rules that both will abide by. Ask your roommate to respect your study/sleep time as well as your space.

If you are the partier, know your limits. If you don’t know your roommate well, don’t pull them into your own personal drama. Try to quietly sneak back into the room without waking your roommate. The more you show courtesy to your roommate, the less they will resent your love of partying.

In the event you move in with your current friend, the dynamics of your friendship are bound to change. College is a transitional period, and you will probably walk out of college as a different person. Make sure that you and your friend are compatible sleep-wise. See if your bedtimes, volume level, wake up time, drinking/smoking habits are similar. Avoid future conflicts ahead of time before you’re stuck together.

There are endless types of roommates, and not all are created equal. Good luck with your roommate, and work together to resolve issues.

The pro and con of transfering

Illustration by Brandy Pickering

After two years of asking your professor to “Wait, wait, don’t go to the next slide yet,” and “Wow, I never really needed to use my textbook this whole quarter,” both your educational and social life will be altered for the better or worse when it is time to transfer.

Be prepared for a step up in the amount of work you will be required to do. A three-page double spaced B.S. paper won’t get you far when you’re trying to get your bachelors. More effort must be imputed into the work you turn in. Leniency will be lifted, and fewer professor-student interactions will be likely.

While unemployment  is approximately 8.2 percent in the state of Washington, those with a Bachelor’s degree only have an unemployment rate of four percent. Studying to have a higher degree once you transfer will enable you to have more job opportunities. Those who hold an associates degree will typically earn 21 percent more than those with no college education, 120 percent more with a bachelors, 200 percent more with a masters, and a whopping 370 percent more with a Ph.D. than someone holding a high school diploma. You’re at BC now, so you should be proud of your current achievements. However, there are so many more potentials to reach.

One of the negative aspects of transferring to a four-year university will be the financial costs of obtaining a higher degree. Find scholarships through the school you plan to transfer to, search online for any type of scholarship option that applies to you and look into how FASFA can help. Do your best to try to pay for as much college as you can without having to deal with loans.

So here’s the good news: You will be in a new environment with new opportunities. Perhaps you can find an internship related to your field of study or network for future employment opportunities. This new environment can enable you to have a fresh start if you need a break from the constant drama back home. You will be able to make new friends, new relationships and maybe get away from that boss that constantly nags at you.

Another positive of transferring to a four year university is the possible offering of campus housing. Whether it is a fraternity, sorority, dormitory or an apartment, you may have to live with other people. With a huge variety of people living with or nearby you, you’ll experience more social interactions happening around you. This may be a great thing to those of you who feel contrained at home.  Maybe you’ve lived with your parents your whole life and had curfew. Guess what? You make your own rules.

Enjoy transferring, but remember you are there to get an education, not to party it up all of the time. Do your best to prioritize studying and getting your work done than participating in every social event.

Camp Casey: a transformational experience

Photo by C Hayley Halstead

Ten years ago, ten excited individuals had the opportunity to travel to Whidbey Island under the guidance of Assistant Dean of Student Programs, Faisal Jaswal, to embark on an adventure that would not only provide an excellent learning opportunity but also a transformational experience. This year, 150 students will be attending this annual retreat, 20 more participants than last year.

Jaswal shared his overarching goal of Camp Casey as an experience to build “a learning community that supports one another in a learning community, a place where everybody is a learner, everybody is a facilitator, and everybody is a teacher.” Everyone has something to offer and to teach others, and this retreat will serve as a brilliant chance to expose those unique assets.

During the four-day-long event, students participate in interactive activities and learn not only about how to improve one’s self, but also how to reach out to others to host a more inclusive environment. “It’s a very expansive paradigm because people take inventory of what their own leadership styles are, what their core values are, and what their definitions of leadership are,” Jaswal shared, but there’s much more to Camp Casey than simply a leadership retreat.

With the assistance from a curriculum team, logistics team, mentors and additional staff, Jaswal has devised a four day retreat intended for all interested BC students, especially those who participate regularly in Student Programs. “Our job is to create the opportunity for students to be authentic with themselves and others,” Jaswal commented.

While the Camp Casey Leadership Retreat occurs each year, Jaswal indicated that each occasion is not equivalent to the preceding year. At the conclusion of the retreat, students write feedback evaluating the effectiveness of workshops, likes and dislikes and overall improvements that could be made. Jaswal disclosed that he reads all reflections and feedback students write twice and then the curriculum committee will review what students have written too, amounting to approximately 700 pages of reading. This upcoming year, more interactive and experiential learning activities will be planned.

On one of the days, students will engage in a ropes course, in which they need to work as a team in order for completion. In addition, participants will need to confront personal fears, such as heights. This 100 percent hands on activity has particular leadership and teamwork skills embedded within it.

At the end of each day, time is allotted for students to write personal reflections along the beach. “The beach is where I grew up; it’s very personal to me,” Jaswal revealed, “My home is not big enough to hold 100 people, so the next best thing is to take people to a place that’s very sacred to me.” By writing a reflection, students can look back and recall their experience, understand what they have learned, how they achieved their goals and how they can enhance themselves as individuals.

While there was a huge turnout of applicants for mentoring positions, 18 mentors were selected this year to help frame and deliver the content to the students. Students are split up into small groups with people they may not typically interact with, and the mentors’ duties are to internalize concepts by relating situations back to the key concepts students learn. They also serve as inspirational role models.

This year, Camp Casey will be held from June 19-22. Applications are available in Student Programs, C212 and will be due on May 21. The relationships built during this leadership retreat are priceless. Do not miss out on this extraordinary experience to learn and grow from other people’s support.