Tuesday, February 02, 2016
It's still near impossible to figure out how much any given school will cost. I have a note from a recent Financial Aid Night at school, that many people typically pay about somewhere around 50% of the sticker price at schools. It's like shopping at Kohl's. Did you get the 15% coupon or the 30% one? It seems like most everyone gets a little something off, whether it's because they took a certain class in high school, got a certain test score or come from a certain background. So what does the sticker price mean, anyway? Even the Net Price Calculators can only give you a general expected figure, though some schools do have price calculators that can estimate grants and merit aid.
Needless to say, we've encouraged my son to pursue some scholarships and a few weeks ago, I "live haiku'd" my side of the experience. In talking with friends who also have high school seniors, my experience seems to be a universal one. It's a bumpy road, this whole "getting your child ready to leave the nest" thing. Even when it's clear your child is itching to spread his wings.
What's the hurry, Mom?
Not due til midnight!
"Hey, look at this, Mom."
"Your finished scholarship app?"
"Funny Twitter things."
Just about ready to send.
Due in half an hour.
Essay deadline met!
Will brilliant child's efforts
Reap handsome reward?
Oh, and in the meantime, my sophomore took the PSAT last fall and left an email address that leads to my inbox. Since scores were released a few weeks ago, my inbox has been deluged with email from schools that want to "get to know him." Seriously, I'm getting about a dozen messages a day offering a free quiz to choose a major, a free booklet sharing tips for a great college visit, etc. Each one has a "hook," but I'm not biting and neither is he because I delete the messages.
I imagine that once the thrill of the attention wears off for students (like in maybe two days?), these messages just become a pain. For me, it's a bit confusing as several of the schools reaching out to him are schools my older son has applied to. I'm tempted to ask them to wait until we're finished with child number 1 before they starting wooing number two.
Friday, December 11, 2015
So I sent her a note expressing my concerns about the current wave of religious intolerance and offering to support her and her friends where I could.
A simple act of kindness can bring unexpected results. Whereas I thought this was a rather small gesture, it apparently meant a lot to her. More than I could have known. (That's a good Life Lesson right there.)
Our email exchange will become a real-life dialogue with a group of local Muslim and Jewish women later this month. I urge you to reach out within your community as well. NPR aired a story the other day about what happens in the Muslim community when we let the media in its Trumpified glory do the talking for us.
This here below is also what happens. Please read my friend's reflections on her community. I am sharing this with permission.
The overall feeling many of us are going through is fear, dejection, depression, and helplessness. I hate turning on the TV with my kids around because bigoted remarks are being made openly and unflinchingly over and over against us--we are being bullied, so to speak, through news and media/social media and no one seems to understand the impact this is having upon the psyche of the Muslim community and its youth. I just can't believe what I've been hearing ever since 9/11 and it has gotten much worse!
And even worse than that, we hear the bigotry spewing from mouths of people in leadership positions! The world has become brainwashed into thinking Islam/Muslim is now synonymous with terrorism--no one even seems to think twice about it now (sadly, not even many Muslims, so you see the psychological damage that's already taking place) even though countless terrorist acts are being committed in our nation and worldwide by people who are not Muslims--recall Dylan Roof and the ideologies he prescribed to when he decided to kill African American church members, the massacre of over 70 people in Norway by Anders Breivik, or the genocide occurring in Burma.
Very few seem to believe (or if there are many, we don't hear them drowning the rhetoric that supports otherwise) that some of these perpetrators are violently reacting due to geo-politics, and a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. They live under oppressive regimes & inhumane conditions and they have nothing to lose.
Some have suffered severe trauma and have seen horrific things committed in unstable or war-torn environments; and now they've found a cause that gives their lives some meaning and a way to implement some sort of justice. Leaders of these organizations carry out their message in hopes to target these vulnerable people who will support their cause. And we know that when emotions become so raw, it may lead to horrible consequences--whether it's taking ones own life or the life of others.
Very few media outlets effectively publicize the many Muslim organizations and people who are condemning these acts or it falls on deaf ears. Hate crimes against Muslims seem to fall under stricter guidelines to even be labeled as hate crimes. Some Muslims here do think the terrible possibility of internment camps for Muslims is coming down the road.
When you look the history of the Jewish Holocaust and the internment of the Japanese here on US soil, the things we are seeing out there today are following the exact same pattern that lead up to these events. I attended Anne Shimojima's presentation of the Japanese internment camps at the library. When I mentioned this very real fear that American Muslims have, she said she is not aware of any laws that can prevent this from happening again; meaning, technically, the US government can take such action.
The question is, will America and the world be able to avert such a human disaster?
The Muslim community understands it has to confront these movements because these violent organizations prey upon OUR "own," our youth--we have countless seminars for people to educate them on what to look for in the community, how to help our youngsters cope with stress. Do people really think we want to lose our children to such movements? These groups may be angry about some legitimate issues, but do people really think the entire Muslim world feels this is the way to solve problems? The inciteful message being sent out in answer to these questions is "Yes--that the core value of Islam is to kill non-Muslims!"
If you look at my son, he will remind you of Ahmed Mohammed, the boy who was falsely arrested for a clock he made that an educator suspected was a bomb--and after the truth was discovered fairly quickly, no apologies were made by the police or the school, which never even followed protocol if a bomb was suspected to be on school grounds. What is going through this bright, young man's head?
Will I live a life worrying that my children will be targets? Will they be denied jobs, basic rights as they get older?
So that's what's going through some of our heads right now. We never thought we'd see such a day.
Posted by Kim Moldofsky at Friday, December 11, 2015 ******
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein (affiliate link) by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer, illustrated by Christine Davenier.
Admittedly my first reaction was, Amanda Peet is Jewish? And then Amanda Peet is a playwright in addition to being an actress? Already, this book was educational.
Dear Santa is an adorable picture book that many Jewish kids and their parents (me!) can relate to. Young Rachel Rosenstein enjoys her family's Jewish traditions, but she really, really wants to celebrate Christmas.
Oh, how I yearned for a Christmas tree as a child. I lobbied for years, eventually coming full circle by the time I was in college. "No Christmas tree or Chanukah bush in my house. Ever."
Anyway, Rachel manages a visit to a mall Santa, sneaks up a few Christmas decorations at home, and even prepares a snack for Jolly Old Saint Nick, to no avail. In the end she comes to realize that her family isn't the only one that doesn't celebrate Christmas, and in fact there are lots of cool holidays celebrated by people of different religions and cultural backgrounds. Like so many kids before her, Rachel (mostly) makes peace with her lot in life.
If you have a child like Rachel (or me), this is a wonderful book to normalize those Christmas yearnings.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
|Photo via Chicago Sinfonietta|
Sunday, October 11, 2015
As a high school senior I remember poring over thick reference books at the library in an attempt to find scholarship opportunities. In the end, the winning formula was the advice that's still dished out by my son's school college counselor applied: Think Local. I was awarded money from the PTA and the Rotary Club. And at the end of freshman year of college, I earned a scholarship from my university that brought my tuition costs down to a pittance for sophomore and junior yeas of school.
If your child is on the hunt for money to help cover the costs of college, see what your local civic clubs and parent organizations have to offer and encourage your child apply for those scholarships. Apparently, these smaller scholarships are often left behind as masses of students put their energy into applying for national scholarships. I know, in the scheme of college costs, a $200 scholarship is a drop in the bucket, but it will still take a dent out of book fees, activity fees, dorm fees, technology fees or whatever other fees a university can dream up. So encourage your child to pursue those.
Of course, there's no need to hunker down over big old books anymore. These days, all it takes is a Google search to follow the (potential) money. Along those lines, FastWeb has been recommended as a go-to source for scholarship information.
And don't forget the the schools themselves. There are many opportunities for merit scholarships for high-achieving students. But be mindful that college applications are often due by November 1 in order for students to be considered for merit scholarships. Merit scholarships are often granted for things like achieving a certain ACT/SAT score or a class rank. Easy peasy money if your child fits the bill, but your student's application must be turned in promptly, often months before the official college application deadline.
There's a reason that students are attracted to the big-name scholarships: money. Take, for example, this scholarship from Coca-Cola Foundation. I caught wind of it after a Twitter chat last year and asked them to remind me when it as open for applications. Which is to say, this is not a sponsored post, but info I think is worth sharing. You can bet I shared it with my high school senior!
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation grants 150 high school seniors a $20,00 scholarship. Nice, right?
But what is even better about this scholarship is that its value extends beyond the financial reward. Along with that generous amount of money, the honorees are invited to Coca Cola Scholars Retreat, a program that brings the winners together for a few days of fun, networking and leadership training. What an amazing network to be a part of.
This year’s Coca-Cola scholarship application is now available online at Coca-Cola Scholars. They are looking for "150 high school seniors who are socially-conscious and servant-minded leaders. Coca-Cola believes in investing in students who are leaders, both academically and in service to others."
The application process is completed online, but involves a lengthy questionnaire, so don't delay. The application for the 2016 Coke Scholars is October 31, 2015, so don't delay!
Monday, September 21, 2015
we're my son we're (it really is a family affair to some extent for pretty much everyone I know) in the thick of the college admissions process, I decided it was time to clear out a few distractions. Namely, the large and growing pile of printed material that's been keeping the US Postal Service in business for the last 1.5 years. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor darkness or night can prevent college recruitment materials from filling our mailbox.
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
One difference between having toddlers and having teens is that when the kids are little, it's easy to gain weight from snacking on their unfinished meals. You remember the crusts they didn't want, the big bowl of Mac and Cheese they never finished?
(Oh, I loved those. I can't imagine buying the blue box stuff without kids in the house, but it is a guilty pleasure/comfort food even if the "cheese" is like 95% artificial gunk.)
With teens it's the opposite. I'm about to bite into my sandwich when a man-child suddenly appears by my side. Can I have a bite? A teen boy does not take a mere nibble; he leaves me with crumbs.
When they were little, we were very firm about not eating again after dessert, or at least a certain time before bed. Now at 10:00 at night, I hear the microwave beeping. Time for second dinner! They either eat the evening's leftover dinners or grab a frozen meal.
Fruit will be consumed if it's rinsed/peeled/chopped and put out in a bowl. But God forbid they have to do that themselves. This, like waking a certain child up most mornings, kills me on a certain level, but I know if I don't bother preparing fruit, they'll consume every processed carb in the house instead. Actually, they'll eat the fruit and then hunt down the processed carbs anyway because their growing, athletic bodies are calorie-burning machines. They have several before their metabolism catches up with them.
At any rate, if I look like I've lost weight, it's because my boys have eaten all the food.