This afternoon, I sat down with Jennifer Lund, the Associate Dean for International Education at Agnes Scott College. In less than four weeks she and 14 other faculty members will soon be leading small group of students across the world as part of Agnes Scott College’s Global Journeys. As a Senior, the Summit initiative and Journeys trips is all new to a lot of us. (If you listen closely, you may still hear upperclassmen joke around and ask “What is Summit anyway?”) The new direction for Agnes came abruptly, although I’m sure there are years of work and planning under it all. As of 2016, 100% of first years have had travel experience and it will continue to be this way from now on thanks to Summit. Many upperclassmen have already taken a semester off to study abroad and a high percentage of our students are international, coming from countries such as Zimbabwe, South Korea, the UK and Ghana.
As the first years prepare to pack there bags and depart on their journey of their lives I feel like it’s important for all of us to put on our Global lenses and see the world for more that what it is. If you’ve already experienced different states and countries then you are probably already aware that even a three-day trip can change your life. You realize that where you currently reside isn’t the entire world. You’ve experience different cultures, dialects, food and architecture. And once you return home, wherever that may be, you’re hungry for more. More high end experiences. More struggles between languages. And more of finding out who you really are. If you’ve never traveled much before you’re probably filled with a lot of questions. Or maybe you’re content with whatever you’re about to experience, like I was when I took a semester off to study Spanish in Costa Rica. One thing that we all have to remember is that Agnes Scott has prepared us as much as Agnes can only do. It’s up to us to do the rest. If you are preparing to take off in the next four weeks, start preparing mentally today. List your goals and what you want to get out of your new experience. Journaling and scrapbooking may just become your new best friends. For those of us who have already traveled and returned, continue to share your story! In class discussions bring up your experiences so that people can see how life differs across borders. While you’re giving others a vision of a different world, your’e also encouraging them to travel as well.
Imagine this: A world where everyone who has the opportunity to travel actually took it. Can you picture the new diversity, deeper conversations, more acceptance among different cultures? One thing’s for sure, us Scotties are already one step ahead. We’re setting the example for the world before us and we’re not to be messed with.
If you’ve been around a kitchen for most of your life, you’ve probably heard the phrase “a watched pot never boils”. A few days ago I stood in my residence hall kitchen with a resident who slowly became angry as the water in her pot did not start to bubble. She stood right over it, face planted in the hole of the pot, begging for even the slightest bit of steam to appear. In reality this is how we always feel when the results we want in life don’t come when we want it. The process and the journey seem long and annoying and we often forget the joy that will come out of waiting, such as my resident being able to eat her spaghetti with soft noodles instead of crunchy ones.
When we start our first blog, the blank white page looks hopeless compared to our peers around us who have the perfect theme, 7 different pages with 30+ posts, and moving photos and words. Breathe. The process is a long journey that will be worth it in the end. Just as a watched pot never boils, our blogs will never become what we want it to be if we focus on the outcome instead of the small everyday details. So what are these steps to becoming known by the world?
- Work on your website everyday. This doesn’t have to be for hours! Working on your website could be writing a post that sparked your interest, uploading images, changing your them, learning about about coding or even learning the background of working with WordPress
- Have someone look over it. Feedback, whether it’s good or bad is always good. Through this process you’ll learn how other view your site and what could be done to make it better.
- Stay consistent with what you post. You are your own person, so try to stick to themes that are relevant to you and your passions. Don’t upload things that are not your best work, unless you are showing your progress.
- Make it attractive. Browsing through themes can be addicting and you’ll probably even change it more than 3 times until you find the one right for you. Just make sure the theme fits what you’ll be posting on your site, whether it’s more text based or imaged based.
- Share Share Share! Once you’ve become confident in your work, and others agree, start sharing your site like crazy. Post on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and even your resume. This will allow others to browse your site and share to their community as well.
In the end, many of us were not made to become internet famous and that’s okay. You still want to make sure that your work is creative, inviting and can make an impact on others. Keep sharing your work no matter how discouraged you are. Who knows who may stumble across it!
A few weeks ago I sat in my living room alongside my nine-year-old brother. He had convinced me to watch TV with him almost everyday over the holiday break, something I’d never do on my own. During the commercials he told me that he getting a cellphone for Christmas. Not just any cellphone, but a Samsung S7, the most recent phone out at the time. As a kid I didn’t have access to a cellphone until I was 12, and even then it was a tiny flip phone with limited texting and an extremely slow internet. “For emergencies,” I was told. Today it’s so common to see elementary and middle school children walking around with the latest iPhone, tablets and name branded headphones. These kids know how to work the internet better than most common adults. I was in shock that a nine-year-old was truly convince that he needed a cellphone to survive these days. Have I missed something? As I glanced back to the TV the commercials were full of advertised products that were never thought about when I was younger: Robot vacuums, hands-free speakers known as Echo, Google glasses and automatic cars. For a person who never watches television, I was in awe at what the world was coming to.
Recently I wrote a blog explaining the importance of having your own website seeing that most of what the world needs today is accessed online. Yes, technology has many pros, but as we all know too much of anything can be hurtful not only to you but to those around us. For example, the excess use of our cellphones and the undivided attention that we give to others. Over the past few years my relationship with my phone has changed drastically. I was the one who never left anywhere without her phone, even to the restroom (gross!). During a conversation you’d have my attention for a little while, but once a notification went off my entire focus went to social media. It changed after the many times my (now) 20-year-old brother would yell at me for not paying attention to him during our conversations, and of course after the many times I felt hurt when a friend would pick up their phone while I was talking to them. Was this how others were feeling? When did a screen become more important than the person standing next to you? My nine-year-old brother did get his cellphone for Christmas and my fear was worse than expected. He’s glued to it every moment, always checking his notifications and browsing the internet. If you try to take it away, he screams. If you try to ask him a question, you have to wait. Family has become insignificant and his life has been embedded in a 4.87 oz rectangle.
The world is not going to stop creating new technology. It’s up to us to decide how we are going to use it and how we are going to stay grounded to humanity. Many don’t see cellphones as a conflict and have never thought to think how others feel when they are replaced by a screen. But what if tomorrow never came? Would the conversations with your grandmother still be insignificant? Would you seek to look everyone in the eye instead of browsing their profiles? Would you drive to see a loved one instead of sending a quick text? It’s time for a generation who never looks up to finally see what’s in front of them.
If tomorrow was never promised…would you finally look up?
Each day the world is rapidly moving towards more technology and having everything that we need at the click of a button. All of this easy access is not only allowing people to progress more quickly in their fields and lifestyles but it also allows is allowing us to showcase our talents to reach a broader audience. The internet is a very convenient way to showcase your work, no matter if you’re a writer, dancer, artist or world traveler. People want to know you more.
I didn’t understand this when I first heard about creating my own domain. At first it seemed like a lot of work and I saw nothing good that could come out of it. But I decided to give it a shot. Themes… Coding…Blog posts… it was a lot. It took almost four months before I got the hang of it. What was I supposed to post? Should it be private or public? What was a theme and a category? Did it matter? What if no one sees my posts? Was it all for nothing? All of the questions flowed through my mind everyday and I’m positive that some of these may concern you as well. But these questions don’t take away from the fact that having your own website is so rewarding. After four long months I still have a messy blog, but now I’m up to something. I have so many topics that I wanted to dive deeper into. I’m learning about the many themes of WordPress (solely because I change my theme almost every day) and I even learned a few coding tricks.
With this new SUMMIT initiative, Agnes is placing their students way ahead of the game. All of the incoming freshman are being required to be challenged a lot, more than the Scotties ever have been, but it’s all for their best benefit. Required websites, required study abroad trips and global classes… pretty soon even the top schools will have a hard time trying to catch up with the scotties.
So why is it so important to have a personal domain?
If you use your domain to showcase your work, your process of reflection and growth throughout your journey will be able to show others what you’ve learned and how much you’ve changed as you become better at your skills. As students we learn very quickly that the growth we experience changes each year. Eight months pass by and we are full of knowledge that we never thought we’d have. Why not share this with everyone else in your circle? As you share your work you’ll become more encouraged by others around you. Not to mention the art of reflecting upon yourself and your journey becomes deeper, allowing you to become a better student and person as a whole.
Another important reason to have your own domain is to prepare you for your careers in the future. Like I mentioned earlier, having your own website that showcases your talents can set you above all other applicants. Job interviews only last so long, so sending them your resume along with your very own website sets you up for more success. Businesses and corporations will be able to see how much work you’ve done and where your passions and strengths are. And with WordPress you have the absolute freedom to make your site look however you want. You can browse the thousands of themes and make post that are interesting to you, alongside uploading some of your profound work assignments that are due for class.
It’s only been five months since I’ve started working on my domain and I could only imagine what emotions you are going through. If it helps, we’re all in this together and you have an innumerous amount of support around you if you just ask! Your website could come out of Agnes looking stunning and full of potential if you truly work hard with it. The pain is now, but the possibilities will be endless.
For any questions or help needed regarding your personal domain, contact a tutor at the D-Center @ www.dcenter.agnesscott.org
Carry the SUMMIT Point Wherever You Go
During our time at Agnes Scott we have created our own personal domains showcasing our most prominent work accomplished in our classes, work experiences and personal journeys across the world. This showcase will be prominent once we graduate and enter into the real world. How unique would it be to be able to showcase our academic and leadership journey during a job interview or internship opportunity? We could be put above all applicants just by presenting our domains, which contains all of our research, artwork, fascinating writings or even our growth as a photographer. This has been the goal of SUMMIT here at Agnes and now we are almost ready to share it with everyone. But there’s bad news. Six months after we graduate all of our work on the Agnes Scott WordPress domain will be lost. Agnes has to make room for the incoming students so that they too can have this experience. But take heart; there is a way to transfer over your domains so that you can have them forever without messing up any of your content or formatting. Take a look at the Q&As below to get started.
What is a domain and how do you select one?
Your domain is simply what is typed into the search bar of the internet, also known as your web address. They are always followed by suffixes that are 2-3 characters long, such as “.com”. Common domain suffixes are .com, .net, .info and .org. You can choose whichever suffix you like for your website.
Who is Tim Owens and what is reclaim hosting?
Agnes Scott has a great relationship with Tim Owens, the creator of Reclaim Hosting. In order to keep your website and all of your work, you will have to create your own domain and Tim has given us the best price for allowing students to keep their domain and have full control over it. You can visit https://reclaimhosting.com/ for more information.
What is /How do I buy a hosting service?
Through Reclaim Hosting, Tim has made easy tutorial videos on how to buy a hosting service and transfer all of your work at Agnes over to your new domain. A hosting service is a company that will simply store all of your websites on their server. During your time at Agnes your website is hosted under Agnes Scott. But now since you are moving forward, you will need to find a new host. We recommend Tim Owens at Reclaim Hosting, but there are many other hosting sites out there.
Are there other options besides Reclaim Hosting?
As we mentioned earlier, there are other hosting services such a BlueHost, iPage, SiteGround and eHost. But when doing the calculations, Reclaim Hosting will come out cheaper at $2.08/month.
Are there free hosting services?
Usually students ask why can’t they use free websites such a Wix.com? We chose WordPress because of their liability and space for creativity. There are approximately 77 million WordPress users worldwide and 30% of all of the websites in the world are made with WordPress. That should tell you something!
There is no discrimination against Wix, but these websites will not have all of the features of WordPress that you have been learning here at Agnes. WordPress allows you to be more creative and have total control over your site with the options of thousands of themes, plugins, coding. Because wix does not use WordPress, transferring over your work will be a lot more complicated. Be aware that the free option for wix will affect your website name and will include wix’s title such as agnes.wix.com instead of agnes.com. And Wix’s premium options will still cost more than using Reclaim Hosting.
Creating Your New Domain
Now that we have learned the basics of creating your new domain and you are ready to transfer over your website we can get ready! Tim has created 3 step by step videos in which we will use to move forward from here. Video 1, Signing Up, will take us through the beginning process of choosing a domain, sign up, and get your website running. You will need a working credit/debit card for this. Video 2 will show you all of the management information on how to keep up with payments through Reclaim Hosting and how to change you payment plans such as upgrading to more space and even add add-ons such as security protection. Lastly, Video 3 will show you how to start building on your website, similar to the WordPress C-Panel.
As you walk through the videos we strongly encourage that you work with a D-Center tutor here in Dana 210. We would love to assist you in any way. You can also sign up for one on one appointments on Compass.
See you soon!