In the Corporate World, Does Personality Matter More Than Accomplishments?

Two focuses of my blog are Career Discussions and Workplace Discussions. In most everyone’s career, there will be a point at which most workers want to advance. But what are the keys to advancing in a given organization? The following guest post is entitled, In the Corporate World, Does Personality Matter More Than Accomplishments?

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In school, we were taught to work hard, aim for high grades, and be as active in co-curricular and extra-curricular endeavors as possible, because it’ll make our resumes more impressive. The longer the lists of our achievements are, the more marketable we would be as job candidates.

But how come renowned business leaders rarely credit their accomplishments for their success? Instead, many of them say that it’s their personalities that allowed them to achieve so much. Add the fact that some famous CEOs were college dropouts, and it now seems that accomplishments are not as critical in the corporate world as we were taught.

Still, during the hiring process, candidates’ skills and achievements are heavily assessed. Their grades may not matter as much, but their recruiters would definitely ask them about professional experience and past projects. Some jobs even require higher education, like a master’s degree or post-doctoral degree.

So what’s really more important between the two? Personality or accomplishments?

How Business Owners View Skills and Personality

For Vic Holifield, owner-operator of Poolwerx, a candidate with both the right skills and personality is the “real winner.” However, such a complete package is hard to come by.

Hence, Holifield says business owners usually have to choose between hiring the candidate with the best background or the best fit. The former are the candidates stronger in the skill department, while the best fit are the candidates that’ll thrive in your company’s culture, a.k.a. the ones with the best personalities.

When you’re faced with a candidate with the right personality but fall short on technical background, Holifield suggests not writing off that candidate. For him, being successful in a job isn’t about having every skill in place before you start. Skills can be and should be taught.

Interpersonal skills, however, play a big role in nailing a job. But unlike computer proficiency, marketing skills, or management skills, interpersonal skill is a soft skill, so it’s not taught andcan be developed outside professional endeavors. If you have great interpersonal skills, you tend to be more social and likable, so other people are naturally drawn to you, including employers and your colleagues.

Technical skills, the category where computer, marketing, and management skills belong, can be taught. So if you have a charismatic, flexible candidate, chances are he or she has the potential to learn the technical skills needed for him or her to boost his or her career.

Holifield added that training employees with the right personality may be easier than training an experienced employee. That’s because an employee who has been practicing the same job for years could’ve developed complacency, so they think they no longer have anything new to learn. On the other hand, training an inexperienced employee means you don’t have any bad habits to break. They’re also more eager to learn and have fresh ideas to bring to the table.

In customer service, personality also wins against skills. Indeed, if a customer service staff is approachable, patient, and friendly, people can interact with them more comfortably. They impress customers almost without even trying.

How Employers Test Personalities

Besides interviewing, recruiters also use a personality test for job applicants during the screening process. Personality tests in recruitment usually determine if a candidate has these traits:

• Enjoying challenges

• Seeing failures as opportunities

• Self-confidence

• Optimism

• Openness to feedback

• Seeking mentors

• Flexibility

• Focusing on results

• Aspiring for more

• Ability to negotiate

In some occupations though, the personality traits required can be very different from those above. In the police force, for example, extroversion andconscientiousness are seen as the most important traits, because they’re associated with police leaders. Openness to experience and agreeableness, on the other hand, may give police officers a disadvantage. Those traits contradict the police force’s rigid, rule-driven environment.

But in corporate occupations, the traits listed above will give the most boost. If someone enjoys challenges, they don’t immediately delegate tasks before taking them on. They’ll try to multitask as much as they can, and only delegate when a particular task can empower another employee more.

Seeing failures as opportunities raises optimism and self-confidence because instead of beating yourself up over your mistakes, you embrace the learning curve and focus on how you could do better next time. From then on, you’ll develop the rest of the top traits, helping you learn skills easier, and allowing you to move up the ladder faster.

Skills are still important, but ultimately, it’s your personality that’s going to determine your career progress and opportunities. But keep in mind that you don’t need to be a people-pleaser. Instead, let your natural personality show, but strive to be the best you can be. In other words, be yourself. You’ll be amazed at the things you can achieve because you’ve embraced who you are.

Why more people should consider Government Guaranteed Home Loans

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. Most people have to get a home loan to secure a primary residence. A potential tool is a government loan. The following guest post is entitled, Why more people should consider Government Guaranteed Home Loans.

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As the housing price increases every year, many people feel that purchasing a home is becoming increasingly challenging due to increasing demand and lower supply. Even in 2021, when the nation is at the tail end of the biggest pandemic in the last 100 years, the median home price has continued to increase.

Many millennials reaching the age where they want to become homeowners believe that buying a home is becoming more difficult every year. Even during a slowed down real estate market, when mortgage rates are low, there are several banks asking for higher credit scores to qualify for a home loan. Increasing the hurdles that new home buyers must navigate on their path toward homeownership.

Thankfully, Government guaranteed Home Loans are available, and they can make the possibility of becoming a homeowner a reality. These loans offer more lenient eligibility requirements and several other benefits, which are sure to make homeownership a real opportunity for new and returning home buyers.

These Government guaranteed home loans come in the form of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Home Loans, Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Home Loans, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Home Loans.

FHA Home Loans

These types of loans are beneficial for anyone who wants to become a homeowner. However, it is beneficial for first-time homebuyers looking for a more affordable alternative to conventional loans.

FHA home loans have some of the more lenient requirements out of any home loan available. These include a steady employment history (at least two years), closing costs that can be covered by either the seller, lender, and the borrower’s employer. In addition to these, FHA home loans require a low 3.5% down payment, much lower than the conventional loan requirement of 20%.

Having these lower eligibility requirements is not the only advantage that borrowers could have through an FHA loan. There are also several other benefits to FHA home loans, like lower monthly payments, lower closing costs, and borrowers’ ability to borrow more than the property is worth to finance the repairs and upgrades to a property.

VA Home Loans

VA home loans are the perfect loans for Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, and eligible spouses who want to become homeowners. To qualify for these loans, the applicant must meet its property, income, credit, and military requirements put forward by the VA.

To be eligible for these loans, the applicant must have served for at least 90 consecutive days during wartime and 180 days during peacetime. Members of the National Guard and reservists must have served at least six years. In addition to these service requirements, VA home loan requirements include property, income, and credit score requirements.

After eligibility is determined, the applicant will enjoy some of the best benefits available in any home loan. The benefits include a no down payment requirement, lower monthly costs, no-prepayment penalties, no mortgage insurance premiums, and lower interest rates. By taking advantage of these benefits, the applicant might become a homeowner in an increasingly more expensive housing market.

USDA Home Loans

Both FHA and VA offer excellent alternatives, for people in the lower middle class, to the often expensive conventional home loans. However, the dream of homeownership is not exclusive to people in the middle class, and that is where USDA home loans come in. Loans administered by the USDA are meant for lower-income families that would otherwise not be able to qualify for FHA or VA home loans.

Being eligible for these loans requires that applicants live in a rural development community and that their income is low to moderate. Moreover, the property that is used for the USDA home loan must be a modest single-family home with no extra features like in-ground pools. The home should also not be used for any business purpose whatsoever.

Conclusion

It is no secret that homeownership is a dream for most Americans who work hard to achieve that dream. However, for many who might not be informed about Government-backed home loans, homeownership might seem to be just a dream. Mostly due to the high cost of conventional loans and often unforgiving eligibility requirements. However, by understanding Government loans, borrowers can now qualify for a mortgage on a home and save more money than they would have with regular home loans.

Phil Georgiades is the CLS for FedHome Loan Centers, a brokerage specializing in first-time home buyer loans. He has been practicing real estate for over 22 years. To learn more about programs available to you or apply for an FHA loan. Call us at (877) 432-5626.

Three Ways to Introduce Lifelong Learning in the Workplace

Two focuses of my blog are Career Discussions and Workplace Discussions. The reality of the working world is that your education is ongoing even after you have secured a position. As the persons running the organization, you may have to creatively introduce that concept to your staff. The following guest post is entitled, Three Ways to Introduce Lifelong Learning in the Workplace.

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Albert Einstein once said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Although this old saying may seem extreme, it does have some truth to it because anyone who is made to one thing repeatedly over the course of their life can drive them insane.

When it comes to choosing a career, most people tend to flock to a field that interests them. If the working conditions are acceptable and the compensation is sufficient, these people can be encouraged to work for their company until the time they reach the retirement age.

However, not everyone is fortunate to be able to climb the corporate ladder after putting in the work. Some are forced to remain in a dead-end job for countless years; stuck to the same desks and doing the same tasks. Their days may feel insignificant because nothing new happens and every day is the same.

Employee growth in the workplace is necessary to keep their minds sharp and ready to face challenges, but the lack of opportunities to grow can make work monotonous. In addition to that, remaining in long-term stagnancy can make work feel unsatisfying, which can lead to unhappy employees.

To make your business a place where your employees can thrive and grow as individuals, introduce them to the path of lifelong learning. This is a form of self-initiated education that aims to not only focus on personal development but also acknowledge that there is something new to be learned every day.

Formal Training and Seminars

Many employees are always eager to learn how they can perform their jobs better. But between working full-time and only having two days to recuperate for the coming week, they may no longer have the time to chase after learning opportunities.

However, as an employer who is interested in having better employees, you can take it upon yourself to make learning opportunities within the workplace. For instance, you can schedule a seminar with a topic that is directly related to your line of work.

If you want to have more credible and adept managers, you can also start leadership coaching to allow them to work on their personal skills. Leaders aren’t born, they are made. Turning your best employees into good leaders through formal training can bring success to your business.

Online Courses

There are multitudes of basic learning materials on the internet that are accessible to everyone who wants to work on their skills. But unfortunately, not all the materials are free of charge. The courses with in-depth and valuable information usually come at a price that is outside most people’s budget.

Money shouldn’t be a hindrance to anyone that wants to pursue lifelong learning, especially not if you can do something about it. As the employer, it may be advantageous for you to invest in your employees’ growth by shouldering the costs of the online courses.

Your employees might be more inclined to devote time to learning when you offer the course for free, or at least, with subsidized fees. The courses don’t have to be the most expensive ones offered online, but they have to provide relevant information that your employees can benefit from.

Brown Bag Lunches

Not all lifelong learning opportunities are done formally. One of the most effective ways to introduce new information or brainstorm ideas for business is to hold brown bag lunches. These are casual learning environments that can cover anything from new trends in the industry to personal finance.

Brown bag lunches are perfect if you want to build a stronger work environment as well. You and your employees can exchange ideas, collaborate on potential projects, or learn new skills over food. It can be held in a restaurant where you buy your employees lunch or a simple get-together in your office pantry.

A great leader is someone who communicates with their team. You can’t be a good employer if you don’t create bonds with your employees because the relationship remains superficial. If you truly want to build a conducive working and learning environment, then you should bridge the gap between you and your employees.

Work shouldn’t just be about money; it should also serve a purpose that gives your employees’ lives meaning. If an employee’s sole motivation to work is to get their salary at the end of the month, then they would have no drive to perform well. But if they see work as an avenue to grow and excel as a people, it might do your business wonders or potentially lead you to success.

Factors to Think About Before You Choose a STEM Degree

Two focuses of my blog are General Education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The career you choose is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. While STEM degrees are very valuable these days, consideration should be taken before choosing a field of study. The following guest post is entitled, Factors to Think About Before You Choose a STEM Degree.

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STEM degrees cover the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The demand for jobs belonging to STEM has relatively heightened across industries for the past few years. Along with the high demand for STEM graduates, the salary offered in these jobs lives up to its expectations.

That is why several students consider taking up a STEM degree when they enroll in colleges or online programs like Online Education (OEd). Though students may find STEM degree majors intimidating and formidable, graduates will most likely benefit from a higher job prospect compared to other degrees. Other than these major advantages, there are multiple reasons why a STEM career is an ideal path to take in the future. Nonetheless, it is crucial to consider a good deal of different factors before deciding on taking up the challenge to study for a STEM degree.

Factors to consider

Passion/Interest

88% of college students choose their degree based on their passion. Some students will prioritize choosing a degree that they are interested in to maintain a strong drive and desire to complete their studies after a few years. A STEM degree will be challenging to complete for plenty of individuals.

That is why succeeding in this field can be difficult if a student has no interest and desire to learn about the field. Individuals who consider choosing a STEM degree based on their passion and interest will more likely experience contentment and satisfaction in their jobs in the future. In addition, job burnout and stress can also be avoided in the future as long as they love what they do and find joy in their careers.

Security

On the other hand, some students will prefer to be more realistic when choosing a degree in STEM. Getting a college degree is already an investment in itself as students pay money to study and master their chosen degrees. For this reason, most students prioritize the amount of security they can get in a specific career path.

Not all STEM degrees offer equal earning potential. Some STEM careers like chemists, psychologists, computer programmers, and geographers get paid quite less compared to high-paying careers like surgeons, petroleum engineers, and IT managers. Even so, STEM degrees still earn comparatively higher than careers in other disciplines.

Flexibility

A STEM major can specialize in different areas. As the unpredictability of the future can be a problem, having a flexible STEM degree can be beneficial at the end of the day. For example, A degree in computer science can open up endless opportunities career-wise.

As technology is apparent in society today, many areas in the industry use computer science graduates in different ways. It covers programming languages, software, algorithm design, and so much more. Moreover, a degree in math can also proceed to a variety of jobs and occupations. Expanding fields like forensic accounting and finance offer graduates an abundance of chances to gain all kinds of experiences in the industry.

The impact of STEM on society

Getting an education in STEM allows students to obtain skills and traits that can greatly impact the development of modern society today. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have an immense contribution towards creating solutions for major challenges and issues present in the world. With the skill set acquired during STEM education, current labor demands can be met. The field of science can allow students to establish a deep understanding and relationship with the world and strengthen skills in research.

For technology, young adults have the opportunity to master and navigate today’s digital age and become exposed to technologically advanced ideas and inventions. Engineering heightens an individual’s problem-solving skills and develops the technical knowledge needed for future projects. Lastly, mathematics encourages students to have a critical mind and get used to analyzing information and formulas that can be applied to large-scale problems in the world.

Overall, the different areas and fields of STEM all have one thing in common. These disciplines have the power to shape and develop societies for generations to come. STEM education upheaves social and environmental awareness as it can convey global issues and possible solutions to society.

Students who have studied in areas like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are known to be outstanding innovators and critical thinkers. The knowledge, skills, and experiences they acquire during STEM education can sustain economies, eradicate world issues, promote globalization and developing economies. As the world continues to change and evolve, civilization must keep up with its changes, which can be achieved with the help of STEM careers and professions.

Robotics: A Powerful Educational Tool

Three focuses of my blog are General Education, STEM and Technology. As the world becomes more and more automated, there will be an increasing need for individuals to be trained in robotics and associated technologies. There are also benefits to robotics as an educational tool. The following guest post is entitled, Robotics: A Powerful Educational Tool.

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The field of robotics has numerous applications in various industries, usually in manufacturing different products in high volumes. Robots are ideal in these fast-paced environments as they can work for long hours without the risk of injury or exhaustion.

Robotics has also seen its impressive share of innovation through the years. Today, robots have the capability of sight. These robot vision systems increase precision and accuracy, helping improve the quality of products in many industries.

Aside from speeding up production processes, robots assist humans in other areas such as engineering and healthcare. Robotics also enriches the learning of students through their uses in the classroom setting. It provides a unique avenue of knowledge for learners of all kinds.

These are a few examples of how educators have adopted robotics as a tool for education.

Making Inclusive Education a Reality

Students in the STEM track are not the only ones who benefit from robotics. Students with special needs receive the necessary support for their different learning requirements.

An example of this is how robotics have been helping students in the autism spectrum develop their social skills. Some learners with autism can be uncomfortable in situations in which they have to interact with unfamiliar people.

Robotic solutions startup LuxAI responded to the need for innovative learning tools for children with neurodevelopmental disorders with the creation of QTRobot, an educational robot with play-based activities for social and cognitive development. These kinds of technologies make learning more encouraging and accessible for learners with disabilities.

Students with medical conditions that keep them from leaving home also benefit from having telepresence robots that enable them to do in-school activities. These robots are built to show a student’s presence in the classroom, with a tall vertical body with a screen on top to show the student’s face.

Simplifying Programming for Students

As robots increasingly play a larger role in daily living, students have much to gain from learning how to program. Robots are an interesting way to ease students into the art of programming, as these activities make learning about these technical and mechanical processes more enjoyable.

Of course, learning programming through the traditional classroom method is important. Bringing robotics in provides students with a practical application to help them put into practice what they learn in class.

Young learners can also more easily be introduced into the world of coding through robots. Many in the market teach kids aged three years old and above simple algorithms through puzzles and interactive storytelling. Robotics company Edison even has free lesson plans available online for use with their child-friendly robots, making coding education easier for many students.

Introducing robotics to children demystifies programming at an early age, thus encouraging more students to pursue STEM for higher education.

Sharpening and Broadening Students’ Skill Sets

More and more companies are automating to bolster their production and keep up with rising demands. However, industrial robots are complicated and often dangerous tools that trained professionals must only use. The rate at which organizations worldwide are adopting robots, and artificial intelligence necessitates more laborers who are knowledgeable in this field.

As robots take the place of humans in assembly lines, more human capital will be needed to operate and maintain these machines. Managing robots requires creativity and critical thinking skills, which are unique to humans, making humans an integral part of large-scale automation.

Giving Students Practical Experience Through Simulation

There are many ways in which students gain ample practical experience through educational simulators.

For example, students at the high school level often begin taking driving lessons. Driving simulators give driving students a realistic driving experience within a safe and controlled environment.

These simulators mimic the look and feel of driving an actual car, which helps students become better acquainted with the controls of a vehicle. The replication of real-life traffic situations also allows them to be prepared to face challenges that might come up on the road once they gain their driver’s licenses.

Simulators are also immensely helpful for medical students who will have to deal with various sensitive operations as doctors. These allow future doctors to gain training on how to perform surgeries safely and with precision. Simulations of different scenarios help them make proper decisions to ensure future patients’ safety while also preparing them for possible emergencies.

With its many applications in different fields, especially in education, robotics is a highly beneficial teaching tool for students of all levels. The sooner they are adopted in the classroom setting, the more enriched students’ learning will become.

3 Ways to Fund Business Growth

Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Even after you’ve started a business, you have to think about it’s growth. There are multiple ways to do so. The following guest post is entitled, 3 Ways to Fund Business Growth.

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Growing your business can give you the opportunity to generate higher revenues and increase your profits, but you’ll incur more costs too. If you’re expanding your operations or increasing brand awareness, for example, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got the funds required to finance your plans.

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Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to securing funding, particularly if you’ve got a good track record as a successful startup. To learn more, take a look at these three ways to fund your business growth:

1.Reinvest Your Profits

If your startup is performing well, you could reinvest your profits to fund your expansion. With no need to access external funding, this minimizes the level of risk associated with your company growth and means you won’t have to obtain approval from anyone in order to proceed with your plans.

Although reinvesting your profits can certainly be a viable option, it isn’t always sufficient. If your startup’s profits aren’t going to be enough to fund your growth plans, you can always supplement your reserves with additional financing.

2. Secure a Business Loan

For most startups, securing a business loan is, perhaps, the easiest and most efficient way to scale upwards. With a variety of repayment terms available, you can customize your business loan to match your growth strategy and objectives.

Although you’ll need to gain approval from a lender in order to obtain a business loan, this can be easier than you think. If you’ve been operating successfully as a startup, this can be used to impress potential lenders, for example. To learn how to increase your chances of successfully obtaining a business loan, take a look at this blog post from advancepointcap.com and find out how to build up business credit now.

3. Sell Shares in Your Startup

If you need an injection of cash to fund your growth plans, selling shares in your business can be a viable option. Of course, you won’t be ready to float your company on the stock market just yet, which means private investors are a more realistic option.

Before you can do this, however, you’ll need to have your startup valued or calculate how much your business is worth yourself. Bear in mind – this is a tricky thing to do, so hiring a professional to value your startup can be a worthwhile investment.

Once you know what the commercial value of your business is, you can pitch your growth strategies to potential investors and offer them a share of your business. Although this can be an effective way of securing funding, it does mean that you’ll need to relinquish ownership of at least part of your business, so think carefully about whether this is something you’re prepared to do.

Are You Ready to Grow Your Business?

Securing funding is a critical element of scaling your business, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. From researching the market to hiring more staff, there are numerous aspects of company growth that you’ll need to address. With a comprehensive and strategic approach, however, you can ensure that scaling your business leads to long-term success.

Enjoy Science with the Kids and with STEM Activities

Two focuses of my blog are General Education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). While some students are going back to schools, many are still doing their schooling at home. In some instances, parents are challenged in terms of conducting science experiments at home with their students. The following guest post is entitled, Enjoy Science with the Kids and with STEM Activities.

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Everyone has had to adjust these days. Due to the extended quarantine measures against COVID-19, parents are working from home and so are the kids. It has been a year since the pandemic; by now, parents have somehow adjusted to holding school at home. But there are always new ways to liven up your kid’s in-home schooling experience.

To inspire creativity, parents are holding piano lesson instructions, scheduling reading time or coloring with the kids. But if you’re planning to hone their skills in science while tapping into their sense of wonder, integrate STEM into their program.

The integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities do more than hone the scientific and deductive skills of your child; it also promotes interactive and meaningful learning experiences for young children. STEM activities give your kids educational opportunities to solve problems, think creatively and discover the world on their own.

Make schooling more fun this year by incorporating the following STEM activities in their usual school day at home.

Build a Balance Scale

For this activity, you’ll need a plastic hanger, string and some cups. Create a hanging balance your children can use to experiment with weights. If you have older kids, have them build the balancing scale. Let the younger siblings watch.

To encourage interaction during the experiment, ask questions like “How many LEGOs does this doll weigh?” Add variety to the activity by sorting by materials or by shapes. If your children need to weigh items for their assignments, you can use this STEM project, too.

Create Craters

Take your child to space and still stay at home by making craters with flour, Play-Dough, weighted balls and rocks. Sphere up some Play-dough to represent the moon and add rocks to create craters. Explain that craters are the result of comets and asteroids. Invite your kids to make craters with the rocks and other materials on their moons.

For the younger kids, fill your sensory bin with flour and have them drop different sizes of balls into the bin to create craters. Compare the craters’ sizes.

Make Magnetic Slime

Children are all about slime. Also, homemade slime activities are staples for many teachers and parents looking a fun science experiment. This activity adds a dash of science by adding magnets and iron oxide power into the mix. To achieve the right slime consistency, you’ll have to add more liquid starch or glue. Once the starch is ready, you’ll need a strong magnet (preferably a neodymium magnet) to play with the slime.

This science experiment serves as a conversation starter for children who have questions about how magnets work.

Build Some Jellybeans

Introduce the kids to simple engineering with some jellybeans or large marshmallows and toothpicks. Connect the jelly beans and toothpicks and ask your child which of the shapes stack well, hold together or are more interesting to look at.

This activity serves as a simple introduction to the thought, technology and design behind structural engineering. Make it more interesting by challenging the kids to build a specific structure or their jellybean home.

Enjoy Explosions with a Lunar Volcano

Take kids to see some moon volcanoes by making your own. All you’ll need are baking soda, black paint, cookie sheets or trays, vinegar, and squeeze bottles. Mix the baking soda with black pain. You can also add some glitter. Spread the mixture on the cookie sheets or trays before filling the bottles with vinegar.

Next, have your child draw and make craters on the moon. During this experiment, explain to them how scientists believe that volcanoes erupted on the moon’s surface. Let the children create their eruptions by dropping vinegar into the craters. Discuss the chemical reaction with the kids after.

Pipe Cleaner Counting

For children who are just learning how to count, understanding the increase in numbers can be confusing. Simplify math with some help from beads and pipe cleaners. These items can help the kids learn how to count while visualizing how numbers increase in size.

Take small pieces of paper and label each pipe cleaner with a number. Next, have the kids arrange the pipe cleaners in order (from greatest to smallest or vice versa) while stringing the correct number of beads. To improve their memory, have them count aloud.

STEM Projects Liven Up School Days

Now that you have more ideas on simple STEM activities for children, you are well-equipped to help the kids explore science, technology, engineering and math. There are many other STEM activities available for all ages. So, have fun exploring with your kids at home!

4 Things to Consider Before Changing Your Major

A key focus of my blog is General Education. Many students launch off into their educations eager to study one major, only to find that they want to study something else. Changing your major can have long last ramifications though. The following guest post is entitled, 4 Things to Consider Before Changing Your Major.

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You’ve taken STEM in senior high and fell in love with it, but now that you’re studying a hard science major in college, you’re thinking of shifting to something else, something that you know you truly want and would make you happier than your current major.

If you’re already decided that you want to pursue something else, congratulations. The hard part is over. However, there are still several things you should consider before rushing into the college secretary’s office. And putting more thought into these factors will help ensure that you’re making the right decision:

1. Timing

Most students can change their majors at any point in their college career, but it doesn’t always lead to making good use of one’s resources. For instance, if you’re thinking of changing your major in your third year, the huge changes in your academic plan may not be worth it. After all, you’re probably looking at adding four or more semesters of college, and that’s four more semesters of spending money on your education. Unless you’re made of money, changing your majors too late in your college career is not always a feasible option.

That said, switching to a new major is best done in your first or second year (but some students in their second year may still be hesitant to do so). If you’re already past this point but not changing your major is simply not an option, make sure that you know the implications–which brings us to our next points:

2. Financial needs

Like we said before, changing your major can mean extending your stay in college, which, of course, comes with more semesters’ worth of expenses. Even if you have a full-ride scholarship, you still have to spend money for your other necessities as a college student. And if you don’t have a scholarship, extending your stay also means paying for more years of tuition.

Be sure to mull over this particular factor, maybe even more than the others on this list. If you find the extra costs of staying a few more years is worth it, then, by all means, apply for that major change.

3. Future career options

Many students change their majors with the goal of improving their post-college opportunities. However, many of them do so with poorly informed decisions, and some don’t even know that they can get into their target industry without changing their majors to something else. If you don’t want to make the same mistake, do due diligence as early as now.

Attend career fairs, do online research, and interview professionals who are in the industry or field that you want to pursue in the future. Find out what kind of credentials you need to be able to put your foot in the door. With that, decide if you still need or want to change your major to pursue your future career. And if the answer is yes, you have to be a hundred percent sure that that career is the one you want.

Many college students don’t even know what kind of job they want to apply for after graduating. Hence, it’s always a good idea to start figuring out what you want as early as possible. In this way, you can better plan your academic route toward this future career, which can make it easier to jumpstart it after you graduate. However, remember to keep your options open; a lot can change before graduation, including your career goals.

4. Academic capabilities

Classes between two majors can have stark differences, which means the ease with which you breezed through the courses in your current major may not be present in the next. However, the opposite can also be true, and you may have an easier time with academics in your target major.

Either way, it is important to evaluate your academic capabilities before changing your major. If you’re not sure what skills or knowledge you need to complete the courses in the major that you want to shift to, you may want to take introductory or prerequisite courses in that major to gauge your academic capabilities–as well as the things you need to work on to be able to succeed in that major. If you find that it’s going to be more challenging than your current major, you have to steel yourself and perhaps rearrange your academic strategies before making the transition.

Changing your major in the middle of college can set you on a completely different path than the one you’re on now. That said, it’s only right that you think twice before making such a drastic change. So, if you’re thinking of shifting to a new major, these are the factors that you need to consider first.

5 Mistakes That Can Lead Young Filipinos to a Financial Nightmare

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. Our overall financial health come down to a number of factors but decision making plays a major role. This is true for all ethnic groups. The following guest post is entitled, 5 Mistakes That Can Lead Young Filipinos to a Financial Nightmare.

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Today, more and more young Filipinos are paying attention to their finances thanks to the increasing accessibility to financial tools and knowledge sources, something that their parents and grandparents were not lucky enough to have. However, there are still a lot of youngsters in the country that are committing the same mistakes that their predecessors did, as well as some new ones that came with modern technology.

Here are some of the most common ones, and how Filipinos, both old and young, can avoid them:

1. Taking out unnecessary loans

Whether it’s because of “petsa de peligro”, an expensive gadget, or an unexpected expense, many young Filipinos turn to payday loans to make ends meet before the next paycheck. While these types of loans may provide quick and easy cash, they also come with exorbitant interest rates that make borrowers pay more than half of the original amount. The result? Blown up debt that can make one’s finances even harder to manage.

The best way to avoid this problem is by establishing an emergency fund and practicing delayed gratification. With an emergency fund, one can pay for unexpected expenses without draining their main bank accounts and resorting to loans. And by practicing delayed gratification, one’s ‘wants’ won’t be a good enough reason to take out a high-interest loan.

2. Waiting too long to take out insurance

When it comes to insurance, many Filipinos display the “I don’t need it yet, I’m young and healthy” attitude, mostly because they don’t want to lose part of their income to something intangible or something that won’t immediately benefit them. However, no one knows when sickness, accident, or death can befall someone; health or life insurance plans and other types of coverage help protect the insured and their family in case something were to happen.

Moreover, insurance premiums increase with age. By waiting too long to take out insurance, young Filipinos are missing out on lower payments while they are still considered low-risk.

3. Spending too much on online shopping

With the massive popularity of online shopping platforms like Lazada and Shopee, it’s no wonder why so many Filipinos–both young and old–are finding themselves spending too much on their online purchases. Even with the frequent promotional ‘sales’ that these platforms offer, money spent is still money spent, no matter how big the discount is.

And that’s exactly the problem, too many online shoppers are blinded by sales, hefty discounts, and free shipping promos that they often buy things that they don’t even need. There’s nothing wrong with shopping online. In fact, it’s a safe and convenient way of shopping amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it may be causing shoppers to spend more money than necessary, and sometimes, money that they don’t even have.

4. Not planning for retirement

For the older generations, especially Filipinos, their children are their retirement plans. It’s a common tradition in the country to “give back” to one’s parents upon entering the workforce, and going against the grain is often seen as taboo or being ‘ungrateful’. Needless to say, this is a toxic belief that is putting too much pressure on young Filipinos and leaving them unable to prepare for their retirement at the same time. As a result, these young Filipinos will also depend on their children for their needs in the future, hence, a generational financial curse.

That said, it’s crucial for Filipino millennials and Gen Zs to break this cycle by planning for their retirement. This could mean taking out long-term investing plans, making contributions to pension plans, and building their nest egg as early as now. Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement–even if it’s forty or fifty years away.

5. Succumbing to lifestyle inflation

Lifestyle inflation is a problem not exclusive to Filipinos, but it certainly is a common issue in the country, especially with a culture that makes people believe that when they move up in life, they should have something to show for it. For many Filipinos, this means buying a bigger house, taking out the latest car model, buying more expensive clothes, or going to high-end sources of entertainment when they start earning more money.

Lifestyle inflation, to a certain extent, is acceptable. However, when the expenses start equating to income, you’re probably spending too much and may be well on your way to debt.

These are just some of the financial mistakes that a lot of young Filipinos are guilty of, but are definitely some of the worst ones. If you’re still committing one or more of these mistakes, it’s high time to start taking more control of your finances for a brighter financial future.

The Technological Shift in the World of Finance

Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Technology. As our world gets steadily more digital, we may be moving away from mainstays which we assumed would always be there like physical paper money and coinage. Other innovations are on the horizon as well. The following guest post is entitled, The Technological Shift in the World of Finance.

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For a long time, the only way people could transact money is through commercial banks. They would need to go to the location personally, fill up forms, and wait for the teller to call them forward. All the transactions were done over the counter until automated teller machines (ATM) came into the picture.

With the rise of ATMs, making basic transactions such as withdrawing and depositing money no longer had to be done over the counter. People could access their money easily through debit cards, and sometimes, they can opt to use those cards in place of money itself.

Establishments and businesses have adapted to this change to accommodate payments through cards instead of cash. Then, newer forms of cashless transaction methods were introduced through mobile payment platforms, online banking, and other technologies in the finance industry.

Online Banking

Gone are the days when people depended solely on brick-and-mortar banks, especially not with online banking that can be accessed through mobile devices. Most, if not all, of the traditional banks have now gone online through various mobile applications and websites.

This digital transformation has allowed customers to track their expenses, pay their bills, transfer money between accounts, and do other activities with a few mere taps on their phones. Online banking is a welcome change compared to the need to travel and transact with tellers physically.

Through the applications, people can apply for loans, make deposits, or open accounts without going through the complex processes in person. Although there is still a need for physical branches for those who have no access to mobile devices or an internet connection, online banking can very soon be the preferred method of transacting.

Digital Lending

Applying for bank loans for business and other purposes is time-consuming. This is because traditional banks can take an average of three to five weeks to decide the credibility of the borrower, depending on their credit score and documents.

After the decision has been made, it can take up to three months to actually cash out the loan so that it can be used for whatever purpose the borrower needs. These two processes alone can already cost the borrower more than four months in total, which feels like forever in the rather instantaneous way that people are now accustomed to.

To resolve this problematic time-factor, leading banks worldwide are looking towards digital lending to cut down the total processing time to one day, at the maximum. This includes the approval and cashing aspects that usually took months before being processed.

These are made possible through different technologies such as automation of processes, using credit scoring platforms, and fraud detection tools that can easily eliminate deceitful borrowers. With processes made so much easier, business owners should have no trouble getting loans through lending.

Mobile Wallets

Banks aren’t the only ones going digital. With mobile wallets, even the need for physical credit or debit cards is rendered unnecessary because people can transact with establishments through an application on their smartphones.

Anyone can download an app and open an account through a mobile wallet, which further eliminates the worrisome credit scores typically associated with banks. Mobile wallet users can pay their bills, transfer money to others, purchase products, and do almost any other financial transaction.

Mobile wallets are becoming the preferred method for cashless transactions that can contribute to green initiatives. This is because going cashless can eliminate carbon footprints and paper trails that come with printing receipts and bills.

Most establishments that can accommodate such payment methods have adapted by investing in mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems or terminals in place of cash registers. The introduction of mobile POS systems is beneficial to businesses because it eliminates the need for physical checkout counters.

These aren’t the only technological innovations in the finance industry. Artificial intelligence technologies are being used to detect fraudulent activities through complex algorithms in both banks and credit card companies.

Digital currencies, or cryptocurrencies, that exist completely online are growing in popularity by the day and are being exchanged like stocks or foreign currencies in the global market. These currencies are made possible through blockchain technology, which is basically digital ledger systems.

With all the advancements in technology every day, it would be foolish to think that it can end at some point. There is no such thing as an end in technology because people will always find more flaws in the existing technologies and develop better solutions to these flaws. It’s a never-ending cycle that can benefit the whole world in the process.