Kelcie’s Handy Guide to Solving Your College Problems

College can be a stressful time for many students.  The final bridge between childhood and adulthood isn’t always the easiest one to cross.  Below, we’ll look at some of the most common problems college students face and some possible solutions.

The expense

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It’s no secret that college isn’t cheap.  If you aren’t able to go to school on an athletic or academic scholarship and don’t have super-wealthy parents, you might be wondering if you’ll be able to afford to get your degree at all.  Before giving up or resigning yourself to a lifetime of student loan debt, make sure you explore all of your options for tuition assistance.  In addition to need-based programs offered by many schools, states, and even the federal government, you might find help from local organizations dedicated to helping struggling students.  If you’re committed to a particular major, search out related professional groups, as they sometimes have tuition-assistance programs available, too.  If a traditional four-year college still seems too pricey, consider starting at a community college.  This can be a major cost saver that doesn’t change your graduation timeline.

Textbooks can also be a huge expense.  Before buying them new, be sure to look for used books for sale or rent.  Some books are even available as ebooks, which cost quite a bit less than hard copies or paperbacks.

The classes

It can be aggravating when the classes you want always seem to be full.  Sometimes, you can talk your way into a full class by approaching the professor directly.  It won’t always work, but if you can convince the professor that you really need to take this course at this time or risk pushing back your graduation, you might have a shot.  Generally, though, you’ll have to look at taking some courses outside your favorite time slots.  

Some students complain about professors that are so boring that making it through class can be difficult.  In some cases, you can drop that course in favor of the same course taught by a different professor.  Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll just have to find a way to fight through the urge to nap through the class.

If you’re not comfortable in crowded classes, do some research before enrolling in a school.  If your major is especially popular, you might find yourself in really large classes.  This can also be true of the prerequisite classes nearly all students have to take.  Sometimes, less popular class times mean smaller classes.  If class size is a major concern for you, you might want to look at enrolling in a smaller school.

The dorms

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Dorm living can be great if you have a great dorm room and/or a great roommate.  If your room is less than you expected, check out other dorms available to you on campus.  A lot of universities have dorms built and renovated at different times, so just because the one you’re in looks ancient doesn’t mean they’re all bad.

If your roommate is your biggest problem, talk to your dorm counselor.  While it may not be easy to get a new roommate, it is possible, especially if both of you want out.

The food

College meal plans can be expensive, and if you don’t like the food offered on your plan, that’s even worse.  Do your best to find out about the quality and type of food you’ll have access to via your meal plan before enrolling.  If you just know that the school’s standard fare won’t work for you, see if it’s possible to get housing with your own kitchen or compare the cost of a meal plan to eating out most of the time.

In the end, college is bound to be a bit less than the glamorous party-life experience that a lot of your favorite movies or TV shows portray, but it’s definitely worth the investment you’re making in your future if you “tough out” the things you can’t change.

The History of the Parliament of England

Once upon a time, England was a true monarchy.  The reigning king or queen really did rule the land with what was called “Divine Right.”  It was believed that the king’s authority came directly from God and, as such, was unimpeachable.  The monarch’s word was law, and the monarch did not need anyone’s approval or counsel before implementing new laws, including tax laws.  Most monarchs did have trusted advisors to help guide them, but these advisors could not enact laws or force the king’s hand in any way.  The best monarchs were wise enough to take the counsel of their advisors seriously, as they understood the importance of having relatively happy subjects.

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In 1066, William of Normandy instituted a system, later called the feudal system, of consulting with landowners (called tenants-in-chief) and religious leaders before creating new laws.  This allowed for broader input from people in various parts of the kingdom, thus giving the monarch the best possible overview of what prevailing needs and sentiments were.  In 1215, the tenants-in-chief reached an agreement called the Magna Carta with reigning monarch King John.  The agreement established a royal council that would have to consent to any new taxes.  This system eventually developed into the current Parliament.

Over the years, Parliament began limiting the power of the monarchy, which led to the English Civil War, which ended in 1649 with the execution of Charles I.  Following this war, England saw a combination of parliamentary and sole-protectorate rule that shortly led to anarchy and an invitation from parliament to Charles II to reclaim the throne.  Things were relatively peaceful under his rule despite the hard feelings left over from the war and subsequent chaos.  After his death in 1685 his brother, James II, a Catholic, ascended to the throne.  Most people were not willing to accept the rule of a Catholic king, which led to the Glorious Revolution in 1688.  This revolution was engineered by a union of England’s Parliament and the sovereign Dutch prince, William of Orange.  Following the Glorious Revolution, Parliament’s supremacy was established, and the monarchy was restricted to a constitutional role with limited executive and legislative authority.

The Act of Union in 1707 merged the English Parliament with Scotland’s Parliament to form the Parliament of Great Britain.  In 1801, the Parliament of Ireland was disbanded, and its former members joined the Parliament of Great Britain to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which remains its official name.

Parliament consists of the House of Lords, or Upper House, and the House of Commons, or Lower House.  The British Prime Minister is officially appointed by the reigning monarch, but is the sitting member of Parliament who leads the party that holds the majority in the House of Commons, making him the leader of the official government formed by Parliament.

The monarch does retain some executive powers that do not depend on Parliament.  These prerogative powers include the power to declare water, make treaties, award honors, and appoint officers and civil servants.  These powers are generally exercised by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister and other high-ranking members of the government.