Interesting Experiences of a Criminal Justice Student

CJSW-BA-campaign-913x513.jpgInterested in criminal justice? Our sQoolink mentor, Stephanie Singh, a former student from Remington College, shares her most interesting experiences as a criminal justice student. As a criminal justice student, Stephanie reenacted various scenarios with her professor and classmates to gain first hand experience. From this, the writer believes that acting out the scenario as opposed to learning from a textbook has made her experiences far more memorable.

Everyone has different experiences in school. These experiences has the potential to make or break one’s academic life. For my Associates Degree I went to a liberal arts school called Remington College in Tampa Florida. It had been many years since I had been to school so that in itself caused my nervousness. I quickly realized that this is not what I expected. There were so many interesting experiences that were gained from this school.

I was in the Criminal Justice program and the faculty did more than just lecture. They had all the students get involved in scenarios. The goal was for the students to understand first-hand what law enforcement and security personnel had to go through on a daily basis. For example, there was one scenario where we reenacted traffic stops. It was what not to do versus what should be done type of situation. There were and have been a lot of police officers that were being killed in traffic stops. The idea was to show the students how a typical traffic stop is done.

There would be a car that was provided and we would alternate between being the officer and the perpetrator. They taught us how to approach a vehicle for a routine traffic stop. There was always the possibility that there would be hostile occupants and erring on the side of caution could mean the difference between life and death.

Another scenario that we learned was separating witnesses or victim/culprit and keeping spectators out of the crime scene that was being processed. Accomplishing this proved a lot more difficult than one would think. Perception is everything and witnesses’ interpretation proves this. It is very interesting that two people could observe the same situation and have differing views on the perpetrator or what happened.

In domestic violence cases as with any other type of crime the victims may choose to not press charges against their assailant. We learned that sometimes an officer would be called about a domestic disturbance and the victim would become hostile towards the officer, insisting that it was all a misunderstanding. This could prove to be a dangerous situation. Officers never know what they will be walking into and for this reason, we were taught that being vigilant of surroundings was the most important thing when responding to any type of situation.

As with most higher learning institutions there are guest speakers. Typically guest speakers explain what their job entails and the class asks questions. However, what if part of your grade was based on how well you interview in front of a panel of the different branches of law enforcement officers. Pretty much some of the guest speakers with a few new ones thrown in. The interview process is difficult and nerve wracking in itself and to throw in FBI, ATF and police officers into the mix made it a lot more interesting and nail biting.

The concept of this interviewing process was for the students who had plans to join the police academy or the varied other law enforcement divisions. The faculty views were if you could interview well in front of all these officers then you could master an interview in a “regular” workplace.

In conclusion, these interesting experiences influence and can sometimes change an individual’s views on academia. Not every student will learn through lectures and tests. These hands on scenarios will make the learning experience fun and will also provide a simulated version of what the world of law enforcement entails.

From personal experience I can honestly say that it definitely changed my views. It’s more than just getting pulled over or having your tags ran. It was about trying to restrain hostile victims or assailants, maybe ensure that their crime scenes weren’t contaminated by overzealous spectators. There are a lot of horrors and heartbreak that officers deal with daily, they have to go to each scene with a “fresh slate”. Most importantly, they’re trying to their duty to the best of their abilities and make it home to their families.

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Moving Forward While Changing Directions: Jobs and Education (Part 1)

Professor Chomsky and I (8.10.2008).jpg

*Peter pictured with Professor Noam Chomsky, a notable linguist and philosopher.

With the summer beginning and preparing for college to begin, it is easy to get nervous. Deciding on a major is no easy task. Do you stick to it? Do you change it? Our sQoolink mentor, Peter Frederic Lordan a former student at Stanford University, shines light on tips and goals to keep in mind while moving forward. Hopefully his guidance will lead to wholesome and fuller understanding! Comment below what was your most interesting finding in the post.

One of the most difficult things for people to do in life is stay consistent, especially when life still demands that we make big changes when we need to. Changing your major, class schedule, extra-curricular activities, internships, advisors, etc. are all enormous adjustments that, while potentially very stressful, are nonetheless unavoidable. Despite the pressure and concerns you may have, rest assured that changing directions never needs to interfere with your progress. I have to warn you in advance, I’m going to be throwing some numbers at you that may seem discouraging (or even scary) at first, but bear in mind that they are meant to work for you, not against you.

A U.S. Census Bureau report from 2010 found that less than 28% of college graduates ended up in careers that matched their majors from school. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics from January of 2016, the average person today changes jobs ten to fifteen times in their life, and the average time spent at these jobs is less than five years (bearing in mind, that international students studying in the U.S. and students who work and live abroad are not being taken into account in this data). However, according to data compiled by a number of government organizations in 2017 (presented by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES)), the overall employment rate was significantly higher for both men and women, ages 25-34, with higher levels of education than those without.

So whether use your degree directly or not, you are still far more likely to secure employment regardless of other decisions. More specifically, the employment numbers for young adults with bachelors degrees were approx. 86% (males 90%, female 83%), those with some college were approx.80% (males 85%, females 75%), those who only completed high school were approx. 72% (males 80%, females 61%), and those who had not completed high school were approx. 57% (males 70%, 42%).

Now, while men were still more likely than women to be employed in each of these age categories, other studies are very encouraging. A 2016 publication from the Pew Research Center shows that women were earning 83 cents for every dollar that men earned, which is a significant increase from 64 cents per dollar during 1980. This gap was even smaller in the 25-34 age range, showing 90 cents per dollar. Women are also overtaking men in both college and graduate-level education from 2017 data. Within the 25-64 age range, women are more likely to have four-year college degrees, with women at 38% and men at 33%. This trend is similar with advanced degrees as well, with women at 14% and men at 12%.

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Selecting Freshman Classes

Q and A of the week

Are you ready for your first school year? Summer is approaching and it’s time to register for classes! Our sQoolink mentor, Nick Sohn from the University of Southern California, shares his experience with selecting classes. Although this may be a difficult task, do not worry. After reading Nick’s tips and tricks, hopefully you’ll arrive at an informed decision!

Q and A of the Week: What classes should I take as a freshman?

Most Universities allow you to take 4-5 classes a semester so choose wisely! Do not fret though. College is a time to experience different subjects and develop your passions. Select one or two major related courses that will ensure you don’t fall behind in your intended major. If you are a math major, take calculus or linear algebra. If you are a business major, take accounting or economics. You may realize that your intended major is not the best fit for you.

Experiment with your General Education (GE) classes. Most schools require students to enroll in multiple GE subjects to secure a broader education. Not only find subjects that truly interest you but enroll in subjects outside of your comfort zone. You may come across hidden passions!

Take your GE’s seriously; you never know where it may take you. Last semester, I developed a passion for pharmacology and biology and was granted an undergraduate research position. On the last day of my recent semester, my writing professor stated her biggest regret was not paying enough attention to her GE classes. GE’s are a gateway for opportunities and develop your overall profile as a learner.

Enroll in a Computer Science course! Computer Science is a rapidly growing field that encompasses all aspects of our lives. From the software on our phone to the social media apps we use, computers are an integral part of our economy. Although you don’t plan on becoming a programmer, programming is becoming a requirement in jobs across various fields. With a basic understanding of computational thinking, it may provide the edge you need in the competitive work field.

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Money Saving Textbook Hacks

Are you already off for the summer? When the new school term starts in the fall, you will need to think about buying new books. Our sQoolink mentor, Devan Herron from East Carolina University, shares with us her textbook hacks that will save you a lot of money! Do you have loads of books from your previous courses? Consider selling them online to make up some of the costs of purchasing new books!

Textbooks are an essential and expensive part of college. Before you add your next set of books to your shopping cart, consider these helpful tips for book buying!


Before I started my first semester of college, I was so eager to buy my textbooks. I didn’t shop around too much, and I even started reading and taking notes in July. However, after my first week of classes, I found out that half the books on the list I was given were only suggested reading material. Lesson learned! Wait for classes to start to find out what your professor will actually require!

Compare Prices

The college bookstore probably won’t be the best choice for buying textbooks. There are tons of different websites to order from. Don’t go with the first listing you see! Also consider the price to rent the textbook. Afterall, you won’t need it next semester.


Do you have a friend that shares a lot of the same classes as you? If so, consider sharing textbooks. This isn’t always an ideal textbook solution, but it can be lifesaving if you’re on a tight budget. Make sure that you and your book buddy have a plan so that both of you can have an equal chance to study!

Alternative Editions

By my senior year in college, I only bought alternative versions of my required textbooks. Often times the alternative books are listed as the international version. The page numbers didn’t always match up to the assigned homework, but it definitely saved money!

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Library Love (Part 2)

Our sQoolink mentor, Devan Herron from East Carolina University, continues to share her love for the library. Her library hacks and tips are so useful! Let us know in the comment section and share what your personal hacks and tips!


Worried that you’ll forget to turn in your library book? Ask your college librarian if they have a reminder program. Text and email reminders for returning books are becoming more popular in the world of libraries. If they don’t have anything in place yet, set a reminder on your phone so that you aren’t stuck with late fees. If you did still manage to forget, look at your late fee as a donation to great resources on campus!

Secret Spot

The library can be a big place. Don’t stick with popular areas to study, because they can become distracting and overwhelming. Find a place in the library that is extra quiet, and has a nice feel to it. Try out a few different work areas to discover what helps keep you focused the best. And yes, it’s okay if you find a comfortable spot on the floor. Its college, after all, no one is going to judge you for getting your study on.

Don’t limit yourself!

Most likely, the city your college is in also has a public library nearby. Enjoy a change of pace, and check out what the city library has to offer. You might be able to find a great resource that your college library didn’t have on the shelf. A new environment to study might help you focus.The public library will also have a larger selection of fictions books too if you are looking for something less academic. Talk to a librarian and get a library card!

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Library Love (Part 1)


It’s National Library Week in the United States. How are you celebrating? Our sQoolink mentor, Devan Herron from East Carolina University, shares her love for the library. Her library hacks and tips are valuable to any current or prospective college/university students in any country!

Campus Life
It’s that time of the year again, National Library Week! Every year, this week is a time to celebrate everything that the library has to offer. Not only is it a good place to study and get some work done, a library is also a neat place to discover something new. On that note, here is a short list of library hacks and tips for making the most of your college years!

Headphones, please
The library doesn’t always have to be a quiet place, but nobody likes the guy who doesn’t use headphones. Before heading off to the library, make sure you have everything you might need. It’s always a good idea to have an extra pen, some scratch paper, and your laptop charger. Remember to also pack a few snacks and a water bottle, just don’t make a mess! The library is a shared space for everyone!

Chances are, there is so much more to your college library than you know. Take an hour break from studying and see what you can find. The more familiar you are with the library, the easier it will be to find what you are looking for the next time around. Ask a reference librarian if there are any hidden treasures around, and they just might show you a special collection that you didn’t even know they had!

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The 5 People You Will Meet in College/University

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In this incredibly funny but true blog post, our sQoolink mentor, Cathrina Balido, tells us the five different types of people you will be sure to encounter during your three or four years in college/university. Have you found your mentor professor or best friend? Or even better, your future husband? Let us know if you have met all five types of people already!

With the thousands of people you meet every single day in the university, there surely are those you’ll forget in a heartbeat. And then there’s those you won’t. Here are the 5 people you’ll meet in college/university:

The Mentor Professor. He or she does not just serve as your grade-giver, but your true teacher. He or she becomes your friend, guide, and confidante.

The Hitler Professor. When you have the mentor professor, then you’ll surely get a horrible chance to have the Hitler professor. This one’s hard to miss, sometimes even harder to forget than the nice ones. They give you hell, and make sure you stay in that hell for the rest of the semester.

The Best Friend. This is one of the best takeaways in college/university. You meet someone that sticks with you through thick and thin and papers and parties.

The Most Annoying Person in the World. This is your walking nightmare. This person’s just so annoying you just want to lock her in the bathroom for three days.

Your Future Husband. If you’re lucky, that is. Some people meet their forever partner in the very halls of the university. Watch out, you might just bump into the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with.

21st Century Library: A First World Library in a Third World Country (Part 3)

In this last blog post of a series of three, our sQoolink mentor, Cathrina Balido, continues to lead us through the incredible spaces of the Learning Commons (a.k.a. the library) at the De La Salle University in Manila. Don’t you just want to study or hang out at this amazing place? Hope you will enjoy the last part of this journey!

The seventh to tenth floors contain the extensive collection of books that the school has invested on. Each floor has a specific range of books, specifically: the 7th floor contains the Information Reference Collection while the 8th floor has the circulation-reserve collection. The 9th floor is for periodicals, and the 9th-floor mezzanine is for the Filipiniana collection. The 10th and 11th floor contain the archives while the 13th floor has the Special Collection.


Photo Source: Toni Rose Pinero


More than books, the Learning Commons has special learning spaces such as discussion rooms (that comes with a whiteboard and marker in each room) from 7th to 12th floors, meeting rooms, quiet rooms located at the 8th, 10th and 12th floor, respectively; audiovisual rooms, a viewing room on the 7th floor (where you can watch movies if you want to), photocopying services, and board games if you want to stay out of books.


At the end of the day, it is in a person’s willingness to learn that lets one adapt to any environment of learning. We are just so glad that institutions start to acknowledge the different needs and learning styles that the students and non-students of the 21st century are calling for.

21st Century Library: A First World Library in a Third World Country (Part 2)

Following the previous blog post, our sQoolink mentor, Cathrina Balido, leads us through the spaces of the Learning Commons at the De La Salle University in Manila. You will be amazed by the gorgeous spaces and photos! It is definitely a world-class library in a third world country. Read on to find out more about the amazing spaces!

In 2013, De La Salle University – Manila officially opened the main feature of the then-new Henry Sy, Sr. Hall — “The Learning Commons.” The building provides a whopping 9-floor dedicated space for its learning hub. Books, computers, outlets, bean bags, coffee shop (yes, there’s a coffee shop inside!), photocopying services, outdoor space, and quiet rooms (this is the only place where silence should be practiced) are just some of the perks in this state-of-the-art facility.


Photo Source: Toni Rose Pinero


The fifth floor is rather less obvious and serves as a secret space for the students. It is necessary that you enter through the sixth floor and find the staircase down that leads you to an underground bean bag place. This is where a lot of students relax and sleep (a space that ACTUALLY allows you to sleep? Boy, this school’s good) after long hours of studying.


Photo Source:


The sixth floor locates the main entrance of The Learning Commons, where there’s a cyberspace hub, library exhibit (depending on the theme that the Learning Commons currently has), a TV corner, and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Cafe. Food is allowed up to this floor only.


Photo Source: Toni Rose Pinero


Cepeda, C. & Justiniani B. (2014, September 17). Inside the Learning Commons. The Lasallian. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from

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21st Century Library: A First World Library in a Third World Country (Part 1)

Cathrina Balido School Campus

Our sQoolink mentor, Cathrina Balido, tells us what a 21st-century library should like. Are you jealous of what she described as the “library” at De La Salle University? Wish you had something similar at your college/university? Just by reading her blog makes us want to attend De La Salle University! How lucky the students are there…

Whenever libraries are mentioned, endless shelves of books, numerous “silence” signs, and a strict librarian almost always come to mind. Just the thought of it makes you sleepy. Well, that’s not the case for De La Salle University – Manila or DLSU. It is one of the top universities in the Philippines located in the capital of the country – Manila City. While most students try to turn to a different route to avoid the sacred place of academics, DLSU students turn to the university’s book destination to learn, play and hangout. Play and hangout you say? Well, here’s why.

For starters, De La Salle University – Manila calls their learning facility “The Learning
Commons” instead of a “library”. According to an article by Donna Alden for Connect Charter School, the term learning commons “recognizes that information, teaching and learning, and knowledge are collaborative in nature, and not confined within any walls, restricted to any format, nor rigidly scheduled.” In other words, it is a less formal space where library patrons can talk (without volume limitation), do research through books, computers, television, movies and other media tools, conduct meetings and focus group discussions, and adapt to learning styles whether it’s traditional or virtual. There is a change in the interior, too. Instead of a long line of wood tables and chairs, there are sofas, couches, reading nooks, and even bean bags to adjust to whatever’s most comfortable for the user.

Alden, D. (2012, May 23). School Library or Learning Commons: What’s in a Name? Connect! Charters Blog. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from learning-commons- whats-in- a-name/.

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