Invest more than money
for the future
The end of the summer semester has arrived.
Now we're setting foot again on campus grounds for another semester of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
would cost at least $400,000 to buy on
Once you learn the programs and feel you
are proficient, you can take a Microsoft Certification Examination and
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
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