Local Essay Writing Contest Now Accepting Applicants

essay-writing-scholarshipCollege is getting more and more expensive every year and students are always looking for ways to save on tuition or cut costs. Every fall there is a mad dash for financial aid as students look for ways to lower the high cost of classes.

But surprisingly enough, not as many students apply for scholarships as you would think. Don’t get me wrong, there are some scholarships that thousands of people apply for, but there are also some that very few people apply for. And the unfortunate story of scholarships goes, the more work that a scholarship required, the less applicants it will receive. If there is anything kind of essay required than the number of applicants will drop drastically—which is good news for students who can write.

The problem is not enough students look at scholarships as a source of income. Students should look at scholarships just like they would look at a part-time job. If it takes you 4-5 hours to write an essay for a scholarship but you end up getting $500 out of the deal, then you made out pretty well. You just got paid $100 per hour. Where else can you get paid that much while you’re still in school?

What I advise everyone who asks me about college advice is, take one day per week and apply it to nothing buy scholarships. Obviously you need to get your homework done and all of that, but instead of going out on Thursday nights with your friends, take every Thursday night to look for new scholarships that you can apply for and get all of the necessary information ready for them and fills out the forms you need to fill out. You can go out with your friends on Fridays and Saturdays. You need to spend at least a little time looking for scholarship money!

Well, hopefully more students in our local area have this mindset because a local publishing company is sponsoring an essay writing contests for high-school seniors on the topic of “Who was the best author of the 20th century and why?” The best and most compelling essay will receive $1,000 to attend college. The essay should be 4-5 pages long and the ideal candidate is someone with a deep appreciation for the literary arts and who wishes to pursue a career in that field. Applicants need not be English majors, but show a strong passion for literature.

One-thousand dollars is a lot of money just to write one essay—and I know some of you might need a little bit of help getting back into the writing mode, but there are tons of resources online that can help you with your writing and most of them are completely free. The writing community is a very helping community that is interested in spreading our knowledge far and wide. Why else would we always be writing our stories and tales down for the world to read?

So go to a library near you and bone up on your essay skills, the winner of the contest will be announced in a few months.

Supporting Local Libraries

supporting libraries at local book salesLibraries seem to get sort of a bad rap these days—especially among people under the age of 25. Say just about anything about libraries and you can expect to hear, “Who goes to libraries anymore?”

It’s unfortunate that kids are asking themselves this question because not only does it show that they aren’t going to libraries themselves, but it also shows that they don’t see the value that libraries give to those wiling to go there. And this is especially bad. It’s one thing to not go to libraries yourself. Kids have this strange idea that only “nerd” read books and therefore only “nerd” must be interested in going to the library. So it’s one thing not to go yourself, but it’s an entirely different thing to not recognize the value that libraries bring to communities.

Libraries offer huge value to residents in communities all across America. First of all, the knowledge that you can find inside a library is astounding. You can find books on writing, reading, math, science, space, anything. You name it! In this sense, they contribute to a culture of knowledge in a community and help foster a society that values learning. This is extremely important.

On top of their traditional role of loaning out book, most libraries today also have periodical magazines people can read and even movies that people can rent out. This shows even more of how the add value to a community.

Next, they host/house many local clubs. A lot of small clubs get together at libaries to meet because they don’t have any space adequate of their own. I, for example, have a book club that meets at our local library and it is a great location. And the atmosphere is perfect for a book club because it’s a library!

It’s for all of these reason why I think supporting local libraries is such an important thing for communities to do. Supporting a library can come in many different shapes and forms. Obviously, you can donate to a library to help support it, but there are many many other ways to help too. You can donate books that you are no longer using for the library to use. Just because you’re done with a book doesn’t mean that someone else can’t enjoy it and read it. Libraries take in donated books all the time.

And even if they don’t use it for their current collections, many libraries have book sales where they sell duplicate books or books that no one ever checks out. And they then use the proceeds from these sales to help fund new book purchases. You can also volunteer to help staff a book sale.

There are quite literally hundreds of ways that you can help your local library stay afloat, but the most important way is probably to just go there. That’s right. Go inside, take a look around. Maybe even check a book out. After all, that’s what they are there for! The more people go to a library the better it will do because it will attract more people. We need to make going to libraries popular again!

My First Book Club—And Starting Your Own!

student-org-fairI know I have talked a lot about starting various book clubs over the years, whether they be from my time in college, at work, or today in my private capacity. I have started a bunch. Today, however, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and go back and look at my very first book club that I joined while I was a freshman in college and show you why you should join one too!

So, to start off, it was my first year in college—the first month in fact. And every fall semester all of the student organizations on campus organize a gigantic exhibition on the main quad where each one gets a booth and they talk to people walking by. As you can imagine, there are clubs for just about anything and everything under the sun. Frisbee clubs, softball clubs, archery clubs, dance clubs, you name it! If it’s a popular (or even not so popular) hobby or activity, there will be a club. There is even a club that goes around feeding the wildlife on campus—who knew?!

So as I was walking around this giant festival-like event of student clubs, I stumbled across a few different writing and reading clubs where people would get together and read books, discuss them, and talk about the characters, plot, storyline, etc. I know this doesn’t sound like that revolutionary of an idea, but up until then I had never really heard about something like this. I went to a relatively small high school of about 500 or so kids. I had about 140 people in my graduating class and we didn’t really have much of a reading or writing association at the school.

So needless to say this sounded like an amazing group to me and I went on book club overload. I joined 3 or 4 different book clubs that same day and couldn’t wait to become an active member of all of them.

Over the next year and a half I was very active in the clubs, making a number of different selection for the month’s book and other discussion and essay topics, but I got the urge to start my own group. Not that the groups I was in were inadequate, but I wanted something more. So the end of my sophomore year I got everything set in place to start my own club for the beginning of my junior year and it went spectacularly. It blossomed into the biggest book club on campus and it is still going strong today!

So why haven’t you started or joined a book club yet? Were you like me when I first got out of high school and didn’t know that they even existed? If not, what are you waiting for? They are loads of fun and they keep you reading if you’re not someone who is naturally inclined to do so. I have had a lot of fun over the years in my various clubs and have been exposed to a lot a great books that I would not have otherwise known about or even heard of.