Defining School Breaks in Online Degree Programs


If you attend an online university for your forensic psychology degree, you probably don’t follow the same schedule as other people. Most online programs are not setup in traditional semesters, where you basically have the month of December off for winter break. As a result of that, you may need to define your own breaks to still enjoy the holidays while going to school online. Here are a few tips you can follow to feel as much like a “normal” student as possible throughout the year.


Taking Some Time Off


Most online schools will allow you to take your own break in the middle of the school year if you let your adviser know before the next class sessions start. If you attend a different class every month, you can just skip a month and then pick back up when you return. Seeing that a lot of online programs have classes starting literally once a week, you could make your break as short or long as you want it to be. You just need to let people know ahead of time so they can help you develop the ideal schedule to follow.

Tomatis Philippines

You may want to take your break at an odd time to avoid the college crowd that comes along at certain times every year. For instance, you could define your “Spring break” as sometime in February, rather than waiting for the actual spring break season to hit. Then you won’t have to worry about dealing with the drunken college students that will likely be running the streets. You can have more time to spend with your family in peace and quiet.


Doing Your Work Early


One of the beauties of online degree programs is that they are self-paced. If you want to get all of your homework done early, you can do that. Then you will have spare time to use in place of traditional school breaks. This will obviously require more work on your end, but it will be worth it when you get to relax in a school-free environment. There is an amazing sense of accomplishment that comes with getting work done on or ahead of schedule. You should give it a try and see what it could potentially do for you.


Taking Your Work with You


Who says you can’t do homework while you’re on vacation? This may be the only way for you to work everything out. Bring your computer with you on break and try to get classwork done when you aren’t doing anything else. You are bound to have some hours of boredom on your vacation, and those hours will be perfect times to get your school work done. You could even do homework in the car on the way back home if you’re riding with other people. All you need is a computer and a remote internet access point. Check out this article from another one of my blogs for more information about how to do that: Using Your Computer on a Road Tip – A Look at What You Need.


Final Thoughts


You can still enjoy school breaks even if you go to school online. You just have to practice self-discipline and learn how to stick to your own schedule. At this point in time, you should know how to do that anyway. That is the essence of going to school online. If you want to reap the benefits of independent study, you have to exert some control on your scheduling. If you can do that, you can make your own breaks for school.





Choosing the Web Browser for You


Your web browser is your access point to the internet. It is the software program you have to use to check your emails, see your online courses, post on your Facebook wall, and do everything else you need to do in the day. Thus it is important for you to understand your options in web browsers and select the one that is right for you. Most of these are completely free, unless you decide to use AOL or something like that. Let’s take a look at some of the browsers you may look into using so you can determine which one is right for you.


Different Web Browsers to Choose from


Before you can select a browser to use, you obviously need to know your options. There are tons of different browsers out there, and they are all pretty easy to use after a while. Here is a list of some of the most popular options to keep in mind:


  •     Google Chrome
  •     Internet Explorer
  •     Mozilla Firefox
  •     Opera
  •     Safari


There are others to choose from, but that gives you a good overview of some of the most popular options in America. Some other countries have web browsers specific to their area, so don’t rule out any other web browser you may find. You should be able to find one that you like in one way or another.


Choosing between Web Browsers


Choosing between web browsers can be a challenge if you don’t actually test them out. I could outline my likes and dislikes about all of the options listed above, but that would not let you know if the browser would be right for you. My husband and I tested out six or seven web browsers one week to figure out what we wanted to use to work on the internet. We ended up going right back to Firefox because it was just the easiest browser for us to use. You have to go through your own experimentation to figure out which browser you will like the most.


You can always uninstall any of the browsers that you test out, so do not be afraid to download a few different ones to choose from. Just use CCleaner to wipe off empty folders when you are done uninstalling them. That will keep your computer nice and clutter free. Consider the following as you test out the different browsers on your computer:


  •     Are you able to find everything you normally use on the web browser?
  •     Do the pages on the browser pull up quickly and correctly?
  •     Are there add-ons you can use to make your experience better on the browser?
  •     Do you feel safe and secure on the browser?


If you can come up with positive responses to all of those questions, you may be able to find the perfect web browser for you. Then you just have to worry about learning how to use it. My mother in law just changed browsers after devoting 10+ years of her life to AOL, and she’s now finally getting the hang of a new system. If she can learn to use something new, you definitely can. Explore the features of a browser in detail and you may discover something you can benefit from in the future. You just have to keep your eyes open and you will be able to browse in peace.

Proper Ways to Suck up to a Professor



Sometimes you have to do a little ass kissing to get the grade you want in a class. I hate to admit that, but it is the truth. If a professor doesn’t like you from the start, he or she is going to nitpick at your work until you get a bad grade. You need to suck up enough to prevent that from happening. I’m not saying that you have to be a teacher’s pet to get an A in class, but you should make an effort to connect with the professor if you want to have the best chance of getting a good grade.


Here are some tips to help you suck up to your professor without being too corny or obvious. The right technique can help you get a good grade every time.


Turn in Your Homework Early


I know the concept of turning your homework in early is practically unheard of in the procrastinating world that we live in, but it could help you secure a good grade in class. I am the biggest procrastinator of them all, but I found that professors gave me a bigger break when I turned in my work first because they reviewed my assignments before they figured out how sh*tty the grading process is. I’m serious! I got to catch them when their minds were fresh and their hearts were forgiving. If you do the same, you will have a much better chance of doing well in your college courses.


Ask Valid Questions


If you present valid questions to the professor, he or she will see that you are paying attention in class. That will go a lot further than you may think. All instructors want to see is that they are making a difference in the lives of others. If you are actually comprehending information enough to question it, your professor is going to respect you for the intellectual that you really are. Don’t ask something that is blatantly outlined in the book or the syllabus, but don’t be afraid to ask something important as well. With the right questions at the right times, you are sure to get on your professor’s good side.


Participate in Class Discussions


I realize that class discussions aren’t very frequent in web-based courses, but they do happen every now and then. Some professors actually require class discussions and grade students based on their participation in them. If you can weave yourself into the discussion process, your professor will have more opportunities to see just how smart you really are. You can use that to your advantage and hopefully milk a good grade out of it. It only takes an extra five or ten minutes to make a few comments on a discussion post, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time trying to make a good impression. You just have to vocalize a little more than you do right now.


Subtle Compliments


If you compliment your professor too much, he or she is going to know that you’re just trying to suck up. If you do this subtly though, you will be able to sweet talk him or her enough to get a good grade. Just send your professor an email saying that you have enjoyed the class thus far and that you appreciate the work he or she does. You don’t have to ramble about the professor being smarter than Stephen Hawking or better looking than Stephen Tyler. You just have to make him or her feel special. If you can do that successfully, your sucking up will work in your favor every time.

The Pros and Cons of Wikipedia



Wikipedia is probably the best known information resource on the internet. It is a modern day encyclopedia that seems to have a little information about everything you may need to know, and it is completely free to use. In spite of all this though, there are some downsides to using Wikipedia that you need to keep in mind. Before you use this site to supplement your forensic psychology degree program, you need to make sure you know everything there is to know about Wikipedia. Here are some pros and cons to consider before relying on this site as a resource.


The Pros of Wikipedia


Wikipedia is a great place to go for general information. If you’re just trying to get a straightforward answer as to what something is, you can find that in the first sentence of every Wiki page. You don’t have to worry about sorting through a long ass introduction to get to what you want to know. Everything should be laid out right there for.


Another great feature in Wikipedia is the fact that it is advertisement free. Most sites like this make money because of the ads they place on the sides of their pages, and those ads can get incredibly annoying after a while. The only way that Wikipedia makes money is through donations, which they ask for once every year. With the money they raise, they are able to pay their staff members and continue producing great content for everyone to use – free of charge.


Wikipedia also has links to information that you may want to learn more about, so you can answer your own questions without having to go through another resource. If you read an article about architecture and you want to learn more about what a vestibule is, you can click on the link and read all sorts of information about vestibules. Then you could click on a link from there to learn information about another topic you don’t know much about. The cycle continues from there.


The Cons of Wikipedia


Some pages on Wikipedia seem a little cluttered with information, which may not be a bad thing for some people. Even though the site has that little intro at the top, there is still a lot of information to sort through elsewhere. I don’t like having to go on a quest to understand a topic. I like to know about the most basic components of it so I can fully grasp what is going on. I can’t always do that with Wikipedia.


Another problem that comes with using Wikipedia is the fact that it was not written by experts. It was written by everyday people like you and me. Sure, these people usually cite their resources, but you can’t fully trust the information on the site. Most college professors will not allow their students to use Wikipedia because of this. If you are looking for a fool proof site to collect information from, this may not be what you need.




Wikipedia is a good reference material if you just want to get an idea of what a topic is about. If you want hardcore facts about its history and significance, you may want to refer to a secondary source. Check out the footnotes on most Wikipedia pages and see if you can actually pull information from those. If so, you can ensure that the information you are learning is legit. With the right skepticism, you should be able to use Wikipedia in your future research without a problem.

Getting a Free Laptop for College



Did you know that you may be able to get a free laptop to use for school if you attend an online university? Indeed, there are many colleges online that have started issuing laptops to students free of charge. The theory is that students with laptops will be more likely to do their school work. Thus the university is willing to front the cost in order to help students succeed. If you currently attend an online college or you plan to do so in the near future, you may want to look into a program like this to help you out. Our friends at Cheap Online Colleges recently published a useful laptop FAQ for students. They are back at it again, and provided us with some tips to help you find free laptop programs and use them to your advantage.




How to Find a School with Free Laptops

Every school is different in terms of whether or not it offers free laptops. Some will offer them to all students, but others will only offer them to students in a certain degree. For instance, a school may offer a free laptop to a graphic design student because he or she needs Photoshop and other programs to get through a degree program. In order to find online schools that offer laptops for you, you may just need to find an online college to go to and see if they have a program like this. Your admissions adviser for the school should be able to tell you if they do or not.


How to Get a Free Laptop


If you can find a school that offers free laptops to students, you simply need to apply for the laptop and hope everything works out. The school will look over your application to make sure that you will take care of this computer, and then it will send one right to your door. In some cases, the computer will arrive with programs already installed on it, like Microsoft Office or Photoshop. In other cases, it will just arrive with its instruction manual and a power cord. Either way, it is a free laptop that you can have sent directly to your home.


Things to Note about the Free Laptop Program


There are several issues that you need to note about the free laptop program before you try to use it. One is that the college will own the laptop until you get out of school. The computer is meant to entice you to stick with a school for an extended period of time, so schools put rules on the laptops that prevent students from taking them. If you drop out of school or transfer to another university, you will have to give the laptop back.


Some of the best online schools may claim that a laptop is free to use, but then they charge you for it in the financial aid department. This is something you really want to look into closely, as it could impact the amount of money you get back from school each semester. If you do not have enough financial aid to cover the cost of the laptop, you will need to get out of the laptop program early on. That way you can avoid debt in the near future.


If you learn to use this opportunity to your advantage, you could end up with a free laptop to use after you graduate from college. This may take a little time to earn, but that time will be well worth the effort in the end. Getting a free laptop for college is simply a matter of finding the right school to work with and fulfilling their needs. If you can do that, you should have a computer out there waiting for you.

A Good Office Chair Makes All the Difference



If you go to school online, you will inevitably be using the computer all the time. I use the computer for hours a day at work, so I know what this feels like. Whether you go to school at DeVry, AIU, or Florida Tech online, you will eventually need to get a good office chair to work in. A good office chair can make a big difference in the way you feel as you work online, and it could actually make you more productive. You just have to take the time to find the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect office chair for your time at the computer.


Moderately Comfortable


You obviously want a chair that is going to be somewhat comfortable, but you don’t want anything that is going to put you to sleep the second you sit in it. I sometimes take naps in my chair if I have been typing for too long, so I do like a little bit of comfort for those times. You have to find a balance between comfort and support until you get a chair that you can work in consistently. Plop your butt in a few options until you find something that you like.




Most office chairs nowadays have adjustable heights, but that is not always the case. I would strongly recommend getting an adjustable chair so you can match it to the height of your desk. I sometimes work at an actual desk and other times I work on a TV tray. With my adjustable office chair, I can move the height up and down whenever I change locations. That way I am always comfortable at the desk, no matter how tall or short it may be.




I made the mistake of buying a $50 Walmart chair once, and that thing broke just a few months after I purchased it. Had I invested a couple hundred bucks in the chair the first time, I would not have had to replace it less than a year down the road. I would strongly recommend spending money on something that is going to last, especially if you plan to use it every day. This will protect your investment and ensure that you enjoy the use of your office chair in the future.




I always look for office chairs with arms because I rest my arms on them when I type. I don’t like the chairs that are just backs and butts. They don’t support me very well. You have to figure out how much support you need your chair to have, and then you can select something that will work for your usage. If you are a larger person, you may not want that much support because of the way you fit in a chair. Think about the features you really need on your chair before you decide to buy it.


Investing in a good office chair could make a big difference in the success of your education. This seems so silly to think about, but it is true. Think of this like a foundation of sorts, since you will have to use it all the time. You might as well get something that you can learn to live with on a regular basis. Use the tips above to pick out a really nice office chair the next time you go shopping for school supplies. Hopefully they will lead you to the match you have been looking for.

Making Your Laptop Feel Like a Desktop


Laptop computers are incredibly convenient, no matter how you decide to use them. Whether you attend Walden University or you just like to play around on Facebook all day, you probably use your computer for a good portion of your activities. As convenient as laptops may be to use, some people just prefer the use of desktop computers. They have a greater sense of stability as a whole, and they are more spread out to use. If you are missing that desktop feeling in your life, you may be able to make some adjustments to your laptop to make it feel more like a desktop. Here are some tips that can help you do just that.


Add a Mouse


One of the easiest ways to make your laptop feel like a desktop is to attach a mouse to it. I’m not a huge fan of the little touch pads on laptops that act as the mice because they just seem to mess up when I use them. I usually brush the wrong way and highlight half of a page, or I lose the pointer completely because the pad is not responding properly. If you are as frustrated as I am with this process, you can always buy a mouse to hook up to your computer. All you have to do at that point is plug the mouse into your USB port, and you should be able to use it like normal.


Add Some Speakers


The speakers on laptops usually suck, at least from my experience. They don’t put sounds where you actually want to hear it, and they usually don’t get loud enough to even bother using them. If you want to listen to music or blare your video lectures all over the place, you may want to buy some external speakers to attach to your computer. Just plug them into the speaker option on the laptop, and you will be able to adjust them accordingly.

Laptop Desktop Wallpapers

Use a Desk


If you are going to start adding these little accessories to your laptop, you are going to need to put the computer on a desk of some sort. That way you have the space to use the accessories the way you would normally use them. If you try to put everything on a TV tray or a lap desk, you aren’t going to get very far. You will end up dropping something inevitably, and that will cause you to give up on the desktop feel completely. Don’t let that happen. Just prop yourself up on a desk and see what happens. You may start liking your computer again.


Add an External Hard Drive


If you want the feel of a tower without the bulk of one, just get an external hard drive. This will still give you added storage space for files, but it will be a lot easier to move around than the tower for a desktop. I would recommend getting one of these no matter what, just because it can help you back up your files if you need to. If something ever happens to your computer, you will at least have a separate version of your information to pull up.


You can add a keyboard and anything else to your laptop to really make it feel like a desktop, but at that point it is really just a glorified monitor. Think about what you miss about an actual computer, and try to enhance your laptop to reflect that. With the right accessories in the right places, you can get the best of both worlds.

Shopping Online for Foreign Foods


It is natural to want something different to eat every now and then. The recipes in other countries are truly unique, and they demand specific ingredients that cannot be found easily in a standard American supermarket. If you want a taste of another culture in your home, you may need to buy the food or ingredients online to get that authentic taste you cannot have with any other substitutes. Here is a look at how that process works so you can see if it would work for you.


Ordering foreign food online is fairly easy, as long as you have a computer or phone with internet access. You can either look at a website to see all of the different foods available to you, or you can go on there for a specific food you had in mind. When you find something you want to buy, you can add it to your virtual shopping cart just like you would in a grocery store.

Beautiful young woman shopping over internet.

After you have a cart full of all the foods you would want, you can proceed to checkout online. You should be taken to a secure payment center where you can process a credit card or your PayPal account, depending on how you want to pay. The website you worked with will receive confirmation that you have made a payment, and then they will start packaging your order for shipping.


The amount of time it takes for your products to get to you will depend on what you ordered and where you live. States like Alaska and Hawaii often have longer shipping times because they are not part of the contiguous states. If you pay for expedited shipping though, you should be able to get your order over night or within two to three business days. Faster shipping may cost you more money, but it will give you a chance to make some awesome dishes right away.

Shopping online

You can order foreign ingredients online as often as you want to, and you do not necessarily have to wait for them to come all the way from the islands. There are American distributors who have those foods on hand, ready to come to your door. Whether you’re a plumber, a postman, or a pharmacy tech, you can have some great foods from around the globe right in your home. No matter what your culinary calling may be, a few international touches can provide a little enhancement to your meals from time to time. Check out your options online to see what you could be cooking with next.

Have You Tried Speech Recognition Software?


Speech recognition software is designed to take the words you say and convert them to text on a page. You can literally speak into a microphone and see your words type their way to life. If you are a slow typist or simply someone looking to speed up your writing abilities, this could be the solution you are looking for. A lot of college students use programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking to help themselves write essays, take notes, and get through their day to day work. Here are some ways that speech recognition software may be able to help you out.

How Speech Recognition Works


Speech recognition software works by picking up on the words or phrases that you say and converting them into recognized words on a page. Some software programs understand more than others, depending on how they work. The ideal programs will transcribe full sentences, rather than individual words. That way you get “The robotic dog stepped in ice cream,” instead of “The robot ick dog stepped in I scream.” No system is perfect, but most of them will customize themselves over time to suit your voice and vocabulary. This will make the program as effective as possible.

How to Use Speech Recognition Effectively


In order to use a program like this correctly, you need to enunciate your words. If you start sounding like Lil’ Wayne when you talk into the mic, it may not pick up on all the words coming out of your mouth. Have you ever had trouble understanding someone in a drive thru window because he was slurring his words together? The same effect will happen with the software if you don’t break down your words.


Learn to speak out the punctuation marks because most programs will not automatically put them in there. “I love music (comma) and I also love football (period)” this takes a bit of time to get used to, but then you will find yourself actually speaking like that to normal people. I did that for a while, and my husband got so annoyed when I slipped up with it. If you can shut that part of your mind down while you’re in the real world, that would be ideal.


Take some time to explore a program like this, even if you just look at a free trial. It can’t hurt to see if it would speed up your time in school. Play around with the software until you get into a rhythm, and I think you’ll be surprised by just how easy it is to use.

Keeping Your Computer Germ Free


Viruses aren’t the only problems potentially lurking in your computer. You may have tons of bacteria, germs, and actual viruses running around on your keyboard without even knowing it. Most people do not realize just how disgusting their computers are until they get sick from using them over and over again. If you are pursuing your pediatric nurse certification online or trying to make a living on the web, you probably spend more time with your computer than you spend away from it. Thus it is important to keep it germ free as much as possible. Here are some tips to help you clean your computer so you can stay healthy around it in the future.


Wash Your Hands


One of the best ways to keep your computer clean is to avoid putting germs on it in the first place. Before you sit down to type, wash your hands really well. That will prevent you from transferring your nastiness to your computer before you go to work. When you get done with the computer, wash your hands again. This will get rid of any germs that you may have picked up while you were typing. As silly as this sounds, it can do wonders for keeping you healthy on the computer. You really need to keep it in mind as you go about your work on the web.


Use Hand Sanitizer


If you don’t have a chance to wash your hands every time you use the computer, you should at least run through some hand sanitizer to get rid of the germs. I typically use Germ-X or Purell, but there are tons of other sanitizers on the market. You could pick one of them to get your hands as clean as possible after you use the computer. I actually keep a travel sized bottle of Germ-X in my car to use whenever I get out of a store or restaurant. It just helps me keep the nastiness in check. You could do the same and hopefully avoid the diseases floating in the air at the moment.


Wipe Everything Down

You can buy sanitizing wipes to use on surfaces, and those can help cut down on germs. I always keep a small set of Lysol or Clorox disinfecting wipes by my desk, and I wipe my keyboard, desk top, mouse, and speaker knobs about once a week with them. If I get sick and I still need to be on my computer, I wipe everything multiple times a day. Your hands are the direct transmitters for germs, so you have to avoid leaving them around your keyboards and stuff without cleaning everything off. A quick wipe could do wonders for germ mitigation.


Sneeze away from the Computer


If you have to sneeze or cough when you are on the computer, look away before you do that. This will prevent any germs that come flying out of your face from landing on your keyboard. If that happens, your fingers will run across the germs and eventually put them in your body. Try to plan out your sneezes so they are contained as possible. Either sneeze in your elbow or in your shirt. That will minimize your sneeze projection.


Think about all of the germs that surround you throughout the day, and do whatever it takes to keep them away. That will keep you trucking through your online classes semester after semester.