Archives—May 2013

Managing Money

With the new free time that summer brings, some students may be tempted to take part in some recreation they don’t have time for during the school year. These activities may cost money, and many students are not accustomed to managing their finances on their own. In order to have a fun, yet frugal, summer, I’m offering several tips to help students responsibly manage their money.

Avoid the plastic

Having a credit card as a student can be great for those emergency purchases, but it can also be tempting to overspend since the money isn’t directly in-hand. Many studies show that people are willing to spend more when they use a card than with cash because you don’t actually see the physical money leave your possession. One tip is to not buy anything that you couldn’t pay for in cash. This prevents the “I’ll pay it off later” mentality and prevents students from getting in over their heads in debt. Debit cards are a good alternative because they link directly into a bank account, so students can never spend more money than they have. This also makes it easy to monitor and track spending and to ensure that all charges are accurate.

Keep it local

Opening a bank account at a local branch can make it easier to manage student finances. Students who keep accounts at banks farther away can sometimes find it difficult to resolve immediate issues or easily make changes to their accounts. I personally enjoy having the option of actually walking into a local branch to talk with a representative if I need to resolve any problems with my account. If your student wishes to move his or her account to a local bank, you can check out the available options at admissions.

A bonfire at Breakers, a favorite beach among students
A bonfire at Breakers, a favorite beach among students
Have fun for free

During the academic year, there are always performances, athletic events, comedians, or events sponsored by student organizations going on. However, summer also brings a fair share of events and activities to keep students busy while they are maintaining a budget. Over the summer, there is often free food on campus so students can grab a snack and hang out. There are also a variety of trips hosted by the Outdoor Adventure Program to help students get out and enjoy the great weather. To see a full listing of the events this summer, you can look over the calendar of events.

hike
Hiking at Hungarian Falls, just several miles from campus
Get outside

In addition to University-sponsored events and activities, there are plenty of places for students to go exploring on their own. Some of my favorite summer memories are getting a group of my friends together to go hiking, biking, or swimming somewhere in the Keweenaw. Kayaking, climbing, or just driving around are other favorite activities for students in the summer months. The Keweenaw Visitor’s Bureau maintains a list with many of the places to go exploring.

Work hard, play hard

Getting a job is probably the best way to ease the financial burden of college and a great way to ensure financial security while in college. Not to mention, students can gain awesome experience, have a nice addition to their résumés, and experience the responsibility of having a job if they haven’t already. Michigan Tech Career Services offers a service called HuskyJOBS with a list of local and campus jobs available for students. There is also a list of other options for student employment. I can honestly say that I’ve had many amazing experiences and opportunities in the positions I’ve held during my time at Michigan Tech. Whether it was developing my professionalism, getting to interact with University administrators, or meeting many new and awesome people, I grew a lot from the jobs I had on campus.

 

 


Summer Youth Programs

Summer?

Though the weather has once again taken a turn for the worse, summer is technically in full swing at Michigan Tech. Even though campus is a bit quieter during the summer months with many students away, it is still a busy time behind the scenes. Not only are Track A summer courses underway, but many departments around campus are preparing for a variety of summer programs and events.

Summer Youth Programs (SYP)

Summer Youth Programs are a popular and fun series of explorations that are geared toward high school and middle school students. There are three types of programs available.

Mind Trekkers Summer Camps are aimed at students who are in grades 6–8, and are hands-on with plenty of activities. They allow students to explore the Keweenaw, learn about basic laboratory techniques, and use some of the latest computer software.

Pre-college Explorations are for students in grades 9–11 and offer the chance to experience what college might be like without worrying about assignments and grades. They allow students to explore and get involved with different areas of engineering, science, and computer programming.

Finally, Competitive Scholarship programs offer highly-competitive scholarships to talented 9–11 grade students. They allow students to immerse themselves in a specific area of science or engineering. All of these programs focus on teamwork, networking with professionals working in the field, and learning how to be a successful college student.

From forensics and computer programming to wolf/moose tracking and robotics, there is a wide variety of courses to fit the interests of any student.

All of these programs last for one week and take place at the end of June and throughout July. There is a complete schedule for all of the programs and their important dates online. In addition to being an excellent introduction to college life, these explorations are a great way for students to meet other motivated students with similar interests from around the world. Students get the chance to live in the Michigan Tech residence halls with a roommate of the same age and gender.

Student Staff

Camps are run with the assistance of student staff members who work as activity and residence counselors. Activity counselors plan fun and engaging evening activities and games for students when they are not taking part in their exploration activities. These can include trips to the beach, card games, or many outdoor games. Residence counselors are there to supervise students when they are in their rooms and at meal times. The residence counselors live in the halls with the participants, with approximately ten students to each residence counselor. Residence counselors hold meetings each night to let participants know about the activities that are coming up the next day.


School’s Out for Summer

Parents, you’ve survived another academic year at Michigan Tech! For some of you, this may have been the first year that your student was in college, while others may be seasoned veterans. In either case, I hope this was a smooth and memorable year for everyone! I’d also like to thank all of you, the parents and family of Michigan Tech’s students for your support and encouragement — your students’ success is in part due to their connection with you.

Caps off to the class of 2013!

The last couple of weeks have been exceptionally busy with final exams, commencement, moving, and all of the other end-of-the-year tasks. Now it’s all over and the sun is finally shining in Houghton! Some of your students may be spending the summer in Houghton — taking courses, working, or just exploring the area and taking some time to relax.

Track A summer courses will begin on Monday, May 13. Many students take advantage of summer courses to catch up or get ahead in their degree plans. Summer courses are also a good way to lighten the load during the academic year. It’s often a benefit to take classes in the summer because there are fewer extracurricular commitments to balance and there is more time to just focus on classes and studying.

I’ve personally taken summer courses the past two years at Michigan Tech, and I’ve really enjoyed the experience! However, there are a few important things to note about summer courses that can really impact how well (or not) the summer goes. Since the summer semester is divided into two tracks, classes last only seven weeks as opposed to the usual fourteen weeks. This means that classes normally meet four days per week (Monday through Thursday) for about an hour and a half. It also means that the pace is a bit faster than classes during the academic year. Homework or readings may be assigned one day and due the next, so it’s important to stay on top of things!

Despite the fast-paced academics, summer courses offer an opportunity to explore all of the wonders the Houghton area and the Keweenaw have to offer. Since the summer semester offers three-day weekends, there is still plenty of time to have some fun and enjoy the warm weather between classes. There are also some fun local traditions and celebrations that take place during the summer. From Bridgefest and the Strawberry Festival, to the Canal Run and Fourth of July events, there are plenty of ways for summer students to connect with the community and enjoy themselves. I can say from personal experience that a Houghton summer is something that every student should try to experience at least once during their Michigan Tech career.

Other students may have chosen to return home for the summer. Hopefully you notice some changes in your student since they went away back in August. College is a time of great change and growth for students as they explore who they are and begin to establish their independent identities. I know that living on my own made a huge difference in who I was and how I viewed myself, and it changed my relationship with my parents in (mostly) positive ways! I say mostly because there was some tension when I went home for my first summer because I was used to living by my own rules and my parents weren’t really sure how to interact with the new me.

Needless to say we both adjusted to one another and things were once again awesome in our household — it just took a little figuring out! If you notice some tension with your student or changes in them, don’t worry! This is totally natural and is just them finding their independence. Try your best to accept these changes and talk with them about their experiences since they’ve been away from home. This will help to ensure that you and your student will have a fun and relaxing summer together!