Friday, August 24, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 3


 
 









 
Invest more than money for the future 

Arianie Sulaiman

The end of the summer semester has arrived. Now we're setting foot again on campus grounds for another semester of grinding and
mind-wrecking studying.

It's a routine affair for many of us, and it is probably the only activity we can call an investment at this point in our lives, but do we really take
it seriously?

Many graduates I have met often refer to their college years as an excruciating wait to receive that single piece of paper called a degree.
To them it's nothing but a passport to a sufficient job, to earn a living and survive independently in the real world. It's OK to just scrape
through the horrendous four years, they say, and earning a good GPA really wasn't at the top of their priority lists.

Many refer to the college years as a period of wasting a lot of money on one miserable little piece of paper. These people sustain their
misery through partying and clubbing, which can become an addictive and expensive habit. Indeed, this is a waste of money -- not taking a
serious attitude toward the "investment" of a college education.

Studying should be fun and satisfying, and it should leave you with a feeling of great accomplishment. If you find you had really grasped
something in class, you won't end up feeling robbed of your money.

Of course, partying can be good for you when you need a break from your books. But just like alcohol, the rule is moderation.

This is not a pep talk on how to be a good student. It's a suggestion about how to use college years to work to your advantage while you
invest those thousands of dollars in your future.

What you should aim for is not just a job -- it should be a dream career. Have you ever felt robbed when you step foot in the campus
bookstore and find out you'll be spending at least $70 on books for just one class? If you have a full load of classes, it means parting with
hundreds of dollars.

Let's face it: There isn't much we can do about that. (But if you find a way to change it, you'll be famous and respected by students at
universities around the world.) This is a normal affair every semester at every college everywhere in the world. So the more you feel the
pinch in your wallet, the more you should treasure your time and effort in the institution.

You also need to utilize the extras the University provides -- and charges you for in your fee bill. These services are really helpful, but not
many students take advantage of them.

If you look carefully at your fee bill, you will see you are being charged at least $10 every semester for computer laboratory fees and so on.
Yes, I'm talking about the instructional computer training classes usually held in the Graduate School of Social Work Building.

If you think these classes are a waste of time, think again. With the coming of information technology in the job sector, many employers are
seeking computer-literate and skilled candidates to fill up positions in their companies.

If you don't like coming to class for an additional two to four hours a week, then read again. Some of them ask only 30 minutes each day, at
your own leisure, to teach yourself these skills with a tutoring program called Computer Based Training.

These lessons come in handy CD-ROMs, which can be borrowed from the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library for at least three days.

You can also take lessons that are not taught in the UH computer training program. All you need to do is install the program and lessons
into your computer, and you can learn at any time.

All this for the $10 you are required to pay every semester.

Don Perry, an instructor in the computing department at UH, said the University paid only $133,000 for these CD-ROMS. These programs
would cost at least $400,000 to buy on your own.

Once you learn the programs and feel you are proficient, you can take a Microsoft Certification Examination and be certified.
Microsoft-certified job seekers are very desirable to employers nowadays. Not many people are certified, and the number won't be
increasing any time soon, because many people aren't aware of the benefits of being IT skilled.

Also, one has to be disciplined and dedicated in motivating him- or herself in order to learn the program, and this takes time. It is surprising
how many students are not aware of the CBTs, as they have been in the library for the last 2 1/2 years.

Fortunately for UH students, the CBTs CD-ROMs are still available in the library for borrowing. The bad news is they may only be there
until the end of August, as the contract with the computer software company will be ending, and we don't really know if it is going to be
renewed. 

But above all, this is a start toward making a real investment for you, by getting the most out of your college years. 

Sulaiman, a senior photography 
and journalism major, can be reached at arianie@aaais.net.


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