Saturday, November 3, 2012

I am currently writing an article about the mathematic anxiety, which has plagued our school system. I should finish it pretty soon. I am certain that you will enjoy it. In the meantime, I find this article in "Medical News Today", which should serve as a prelude to my upcoming article. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Eliminate poverty and affirmative action would be a thing of the past.

One cannot talk about affirmative action without considering the effect of poverty on the type of education that one receives. Affirmative action simply alleviates the symptoms while doing nothing to eradicate the root of the problem. What is happening today is the unwanted side effect of affirmative action. Therefore, we now need a much stronger medicine -“the Supreme Court”- to tackle the problem once more.  I can guarantee you, whatever the Supreme Court’s decision, nothing much will be done. Nevertheless, eliminate poverty and affirmative action would be a thing of the past.

I have decided to write this post just to respond to a claim that I have read in multiple news media.  I find this one from ABC News: "She (Abigail Noel Fisher) said she was denied admission, even though her academic credentials exceeded those of some of the admitted minority candidates."

I do not think that admitting minority students would have affected her admission to UT. The fact that Abigail Noel Fisher didn't meet the requirements to be among the admitted top 10 percent, it just becomes more competitive for Fisher because the admission committee would have to consider other factors to admit her. I am certain that the top 10% is not only composed of White students. There would be some minority students who fall under this category.

On the basis of race, Fisher would have to compete against the other 90% of non-top-10-percent applicants. I do think it is a mistake to say that her credentials exceeded those of some of the admitted “minority” candidates. It is important to mention that Fisher credentials, for certain, exceeded those of some of the admitted “White” students.

Let us now consider an admission committee reviewing Fisher’s application and that of another White student. Let us now assume the other student grew up in chronically underprivileged community. The admission committee could have used that parameter to admit that White student over Fisher. The university could also decide to grant admission to a minority student over Fisher because that student came from a community where the school system is well known for its mediocrity.

Whether a student is White, Black or Hispanic, financial hardship does affect the quality of education that he or she receives. As a result, a student who grew up in poverty might not perform well in standardized exams just because his school did not have access to certain pertinent academic resources. Folks, poverty is a real weapon of mass destruction. Studies have found that poor students perform 13 percent lower in mental tests than those living in affluent communities. We also must not ignore the fact that poor students do not have access to affordable and adequate health care and do not eat a well-balance diet.

I am patiently waiting for the Supreme Court ruling. I do believe that the University of Texas has the right to opt for a diverse student body. I am siding with UT because I do believe that it wasn’t their intention to reject Fisher’s application. The university is simply trying to promote racial diversity. Fisher should also understand that not all the non-top-10% applicants are minorities. The media should also avoid referring to this statement because it is a claim of fallacy. Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, we can all agree that diversity is healthy and does belong in our schools.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sorry, Not Enough Skills

I have come to the conclusion that one cannot live well without knowing the basics of the financial market. That's why I have made it a priority to begin each morning with reading the New York Times Business section or spend a few minutes watching CNBC.

This is what I frequently hear: "there is plenty of jobs, but not enough skillful workers". Whether you like it or not, it is true that there are plenty of jobs out there. At the same time, there are plenty of college students who graduated with massive debts who have been long struggling to find a job. Can't you see that there is something wrong in here?

Now I am asking who should we blame for this?
Neither Romney nor Obama is responsible.
I blame the schools because program directors do have the rights to monitor and amend their school curriculum as they see fit. To me, it seems that those program directors don't read or simply choose to ignore the reality of the current job market here in the United States.

I am hoping that someone soon recognizes that an overhaul is needed in the current undergraduate curriculum. Perhaps, we can learn from the success of the work that Siemens has been doing in Germany. For years, Siemens has been investing in training German students ( When students do graduate from these training-intensive programs, they are equipped with the skills that they need to succeed in their career.

I can guarantee you that most school would be ashamed of themselves if they survey students about their job experience or status one to three years post graduation. It is hard to imagine or even see a student struggling to find a job while companies are outsourcing jobs overseas because of our unattractive workforce. Before we went to college, we were advised that a four-year degree was a visa to a good life once one graduates. Given the challenges that our students face today, can this statement still hold?

The time has now come for the university system to put student first. Instead of fighting over increasing tuition fees, you (school officials) should instead devote similar energy at designing curriculum that would prepare our students for a successful career.

Our students can no longer afford to be part of the $1 trillion student debt statistics. Going forward, school officials will need to focus on integrating intensive internship programs in their curriculum. When this is done and if properly done, companies would no longer need to outsource science and engineering jobs to foreign markets. Those jobs would instead stay here in the United States thus putting more Americans to work.

Looking forward to your comments.


W. Sainval

Monday, October 1, 2012

Holiday Hiring Season and College Students

The 2012 Holiday season is finally here. For you college students, this merry season brings along a lot of job opportunities. Many department stores will need to hire new employees to service the large volume of customers who are expected to shop this holiday season. Many retail stores have already prepped for that excited season. Therefore, the earlier you can submit your application, the better your chance of being invited for an interview and ultimately offered a position.

According to Reuters, this holiday season, Wal-Mart is expected to hire 50,000 seasonal employees. Las year, Target hired 92,000 employee for the holiday season. Thirty percent of those employees were given permanent position thus making this year estimate to be at around 80,000 to 90,000 employees (Atlanta Business Chronicle). Kohl’s and many other giant department stores are also hiring. There are many ways that you can inquire about new employment opportunities in you locality. You can do so by visiting the actual store website, calling the human resources department or simply take a trip to that store. You will need to be careful on whom you ask about current store vacancies. Some store associates simply aren't current on recent or new openings; others simply would not encourage you to apply because of the competitive nature of today's job market.

From my experience, when you walk into a store don’t make the mistake of talking with only one store associate. Before leaving that store, try to at least talk with 3 to 4 employees.  You need to be certain that one of those employees is a supervisor or someone who works in the human resources department. I remember 6 years ago, I approached a supervisor at a major home improvement store and asked him if the store was hiring. He quickly responded me with a “Nope….we are not hiring at this time…as a matter of fact, my department  has recently taken measures to cut on some employee hours”. I replied “thank you sir” then I walked to the customer service desk and stood in line until my turn was up. When the associate asked if she could help me, I said: “well….obviously, I don’t have any return but I live just 5 miles from the store and I would love to work here”. She responded, “You came right on time because our store is accepting application for receiving (warehouse), cashier and appliance sales associates. One week later, I was offered the position of appliance sales associate but I rejected the offer in favor of a much better position that I had on campus.

Since many students do go back to their home cities, it is important that you plan your holiday schedule ahead of time so that you don’t risk loosing your new job. Plan as if your career with that company will go beyond the holiday season. As a matter of fact, many stores will retain a small percentage of their seasonal employees. There is a high chance that you might be one of the few that they choose to keep. I refer to that as the "seeing the glass half full instead of half empty" attitude. If you don’t have a permanent job, don't be afraid to approach your supervisor or human resources personnel and express to them your desire to become a permanent employee with their company. You need to show them that you are interested in their company. Most importantly, you will need to show your immediate supervisor that you are someone who is reliable, respectful and customer oriented. If you are hired as a sales associate, try to be the best sales associate that you can be. Don’t be afraid to seek advices from senior and top performer associates.

I hope this holiday season brings some extra bucks in your pocket.

W. Sainval

Friday, September 28, 2012

Considerations When Choosing a College

The college journey is quite excited. The best way for you to prepare for that journey is to be informed about the schools and programs that you are interested in. Some students make the mistake of choosing to enroll in a school just because one of their friends has chosen that school; others simply want to get away from their parents’ supervision. If you are a student who fit one of these two categories, you really need to sit down and rethink your enrollment decision. 

Although excited, the journey through college is not easy. You need to recognize that you are making the most important decision of your life. When it comes to your college education, there is no room for mistakes. Your decision to enroll should be based on the quality of education that a school can provide to you. Your acceptance checklist should include information about program accreditation, classroom size, course registration, internship placement, financial aid package, living expenses and alumni connections. You should be satisfied with every item in that list. For instance, a great financial aid package will provide you and your parents with peace of mind because you will not have to worry about some major expenses (tuition, books and fees). If your major requires you to do an internship, you will need to know about how the school will assist you during that process. You will also need to know about the accreditation status of your program; this is important because you do not want to invest all these times and money to later find out that you cannot sit for the licensing exam required for your profession.
Don’t be one of those students who try to keep their parents out of the college admission process. I can guarantee you that you cannot make this journey without strong family support. As you begin this journey, it is important that you keep you parents informed. Due to work and other obligations, your parents might not be available to accompany you to every school related appointments. The best way to overcome this situation is to plan ahead. By keeping your parents informed throughout the admission process, they can make the proper accommodations to make sure that you always have someone (siblings or other close relatives) by your side.

Thanks to social media, you can be anywhere in the world and still stay connected with your old high school friends. Once you begin your classes, you will need to establish some guidelines. It is crucial that you remain faithful to those guidelines. For instance, your books should become your closest friends and your class activities should now become your most demanding friends. You will need to create time to study. If a friend does not want to respect those guidelines, it is a signal that it is time to let that friend go.

Hope you enjoy this post! We welcome your feedbacks!

Wedlin Sainval

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cost of Internship

Internships provide us with the opportunity to acquire the skills that we need to succeed in our professional career.  Without proper preparation, you might find it difficult to allocate the needed funds to pay for certain expenses.  If your college degree requires you to complete an internship, you advisor or career counselor will most likely set you up with an internship program. Usually, the distance that you will need to travel is beyond the control of the person responsible to find you that internship. As a result, you might need to travel far from your residence or home school.  By now, you should realize that the cost could add up very quickly. If you are lucky, you might find an internship program that pays you a stipend or reimburses you for traveling and living expenses as related to your internship.

Regardless that you are placed in a paid or unpaid program, your main focus should be on the outcome of your internship. Just remember that every penny that you spend in your education is an investment with high yields.

I hope you enjoy this post!

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Internship Vs. Volunteering


Most people tend to confuse these two words. Internship is something that you do to acquire skills that will benefit your professional career. For instance, certain college majors require students to do an internship. The primary goal of that internship or practicum is to present the real world to those students. Internships can either be paid or non-paid. Before accepting any internship position, it is important to inquire about its quality. One of the best ways to collect useful information is to talk to both current and former students who are familiar with that program. As a college student, you will need to be careful on whom you ask for information. You should try to find at least five students who can give you unbiased feedbacks about the program that you are interested in.

Often times, I observe students trying to get an easy way out of their internship. These students usually report late to their preceptors and are usually the first ones to leave that office. As an intern, you need to show your supervisor that you are interested in being there. Make yourself available!


Merriam-Webster defines volunteer as an individual who voluntarily undertakes or expresses willingness to undertake a service. Financial reward is never a primary goal of volunteering. One can however be refunded for expenses such as traveling, housing and meals. A volunteer normally puts the welfare of others before his or her own. Although volunteering is about making a difference in the life of another individual, a volunteer inevitably receives some valuable life experiences.

Whether you are an intern or a volunteer, you should make it your priority to gain as much experiences as possible. As a college student, when you are applying for a job or to graduate school, the interviewer will be interested in what you have learned; not what your supervisor did. A recruiting manager will mostly be interested in how your skills will benefit her company. For graduate school, the program director will need to know how your skills will benefit that program.

 If you are interested in becoming a medical doctor, it might be in your best advantage to volunteer in a health related field such as a hospital, nursing home or a low-income health clinic. If you aspire to become a lawyer, I do think that a shelter or a non-profit human rights organization is a great place to start.

If you are responsible for securing your own internship, you will most likely come across some agencies or websites that promise to find and place you in the program of your dream. Choosing this route can however be very costly. I tell students to avoid the middleman because you can directly contact the coordinator of any programs that you wish to apply to.

Hope you enjoy this post!

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.