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Today's word on journalism

Friday, September 1, 2006

"[F]ew things are as much a part of our lives as the news. With the advent of sophisticated mass communication, the news has become a sort
of instant historical record of the pace, progress, problems, and the hopes of society. On the other hand--and here's the puzzle -- the news provides, at best, a superficial and distorted image of society. . . . The puzzle, simply put, is this: How can anything so superficial be so central to our lives?"

--W. Lance Bennett, political science professor, 1988

How to have a productive and beneficial summer

By Holly Adams

May 1, 2006 | Having a productive summer can mean any number of things. Everything from getting in shape or getting a tan to saving money or getting organized can make any summer beneficial.

The first thing to do when trying to avoid a summer full of lazy days or going to the barbeque at great aunt Bertha‚s house is to set goals.

According to www.psywww.com, setting goals can allow a person to choose where they want to go in life (or summer).

"By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on and improve, and what is merely a distraction," the Web site said.

Most people are already set with their summer jobs or internships by April, so the goal now is to look at what can make the summer better and find a way to follow through with it.

A few goals to start with are: exercise, get organized, make and save money and go outdoors.

Exercise:

According to sportsmedicine.about.com, getting back into exercising after that long winter break can be tough. Take it slow and steady.

"Don't succumb to the weekend warrior syndrome," the Web site says.

Getting some exercise three to four times a week on alternate days is the best. Working hard all weekend and doing nothing the rest of the week is one of the best ways to get injured.

Following a training program and keeping records can help to stay on track and stick with it, the Web site states.

The site also says to train with people at the same fitness level. Others who have the same goals and who are at the same level can help with improvement and can motivate the person to continue exercising.

Get Organized:

Most college students will soon be moving out of an apartment they have been occupying for the last 9 to ten months. This is an excellent opportunity to get organized.

Karla Jones, a professional organizer who answers questions on her Web site. Jones said it's a good idea to gather every article of clothing that no longer fits and donate them to charity.

"You will feel more in control - reducing the stress that unchecked clutter in your home produces," she said.

There are many benefits to getting organized. Having more room is one of those, and all college students can use more space. Jones said more room can be found just by reorganizing ˆ even if nothing is thrown away.

Another benefit that college students will enjoy is saving money. Jones said people can save money by being organized because they don't have to buy a second of something because they can't find where the first one was.

Make and Save Money:

The first step in making and saving money is finding a job. By April, most students have secured a job for the summer, but those who haven't can start by checking the Utah State University job board for something that appeals to them.

The second step is to save the small wages. Going out to eat or buying that new pair of pants isn't always what has to be sacrificed either. Money can be saved in several ways that any college student will appreciate.

First, finding an affordable place to live is a good way to save money. In the summer rent is often cheaper. Look around and find the best deal. According to www.ftc.gov, finding a place to rent should not be limited to classified ads or referrals. Look around for a place then go contact the manager to find out about availability and pricing.

Also remember that signing a lease means you have to live there and pay the monthly payment for the term of the agreement, according to the Web site.

Second, save money when grocery shopping. Shopping at lower-priced grocery stores can save hundred of dollars a year, according to www.ftc.gov. Shopping with a list and comparing price-per-ounce can also save money when grocery shopping.

Third, many college students get caught in credit card debt. Paying off the whole bill each month or using a different form of payment can save thousands of dollars in interest charges each year, according to FTC.

Paying off a large balance can be difficult, FTC suggests paying off as much as possible each month and then switching to a credit card with a low annual percentage rate.

Fourth, comparing prices at the gas pump and using the lowest-octane can save hundreds of dollars each year, according to FTC. They also suggest keeping the engine tuned and the tires inflated to their proper pressure.

Go Outdoors:

Summer is a good time to go outdoors and try new things. For USU students who want to participate in outdoor activities, but don't have the money to buy the equipment, the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) is a great resource.

The Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) isn't used anywhere near its capacity, according to Jake Collett, a senior in parks and recreation and a rental shop employee.

"It is high quality, affordable equipment that [students] should be using," Collett said. "People just don't know about it."

There is a lot of information available at the ORC. Paul Bowman, who is in charge of rentals at the ORC, said they have guidebooks to the Cache Valley area and there are several other resources there as well.

There is a large selection of equipment to rent and Bowman said they are getting more things in. For any adventure, the center has the equipment needed and at an affordable price, he said.

John Louviere, program administrator at the ORC said they are providing "a common adventure trip resource." He said if anyone is interested in going on a trip this summer, he will provide all of the expertise to plan it, and he will work with Bowman to get the equipment needed. Also he will facilitate to find other people to go with.

Bowman gave a few common sense outdoor safety tips to be safe this summer. Wearing sunscreen, a life jacket and leaving a shirt and hat on are some of them. Also, Bowman said people going out on adventures should let someone know where they are going and when they will be back.

All prices on rentals depend on the amount of time the item is gone. For information about the ORC, rentals or how to get help planning an outdoor adventure, call 797-3264 or visit their Web site.

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Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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