Showing posts from August, 2011

The Non-Monetary Costs of Commuting

Sorry for the lack of updates! I've had one day off this past week and haven't had much time for anything else but working, commuting, and sleeping. I'll try to post a more substantial update when I actually have more than one day off.

In the meantime, I'm going to use this post to talk about commuting. Currently, I commute between 25-50 miles one way each day to get to a given hospital. This allows me to continue to live at home and save some money. However, I've concluded that there are a number of non-monetary expenses associated with long commutes. These include the following:

-Time: I spend roughly 2-4 hours each day commuting. By the time I get home, I don't have much time to do anything other than eat, shower, watch baseball/exercise/blog/surf the net/work on hobbies/talk to my boyfriend online (more or less simultaneously depending on my energy level), and sleep.

-Sleep: I try to get about 8 hours of sleep a night, but normally I only manage 7 …

How to Book a Cheap Trip to Las Vegas

Since I'm fortunate enough to have flexible per diem jobs, I've managed to schedule a week of vacation at the end of this month. So far, my plan is to fly to Las Vegas with some friends and spend a few days relaxing and having fun! I didn't want to spend too much on this trip, and thanks to some shopping around and early planning I'm spending less than $150 on housing and airfare!

Here are some tips on how you can save money on a trip to Las Vegas (which can also be applied to other locations):

-Shop around and book early: I cannot stress this enough. When I decided I wanted to go to Las Vegas, I immediately started searching travel websites like Expedia, Priceline, Kayak and comparing rates. My friends and I decided to book a room at a hotel located in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip for $24.50 a night. The next day, the price went up to $27.00. Today, the same room is $33 a night. By booking early, you ensure you have a room and extra spending money to spen…

Social Work: Where Workplace Violence is the Norm, Not the Exception

In Major League Baseball, fights such as last night's bench clearing brawl between the Giants and the Phillies are not the norm. Contrarily, workplace violence is a risk faced by social workers on a daily basis.

Since entering the work force a little over a year ago, I've been bitten/chased by dogs, exposed to a multitude of diseases, threatened with physical harm, assigned to unsafe neighborhoods, and called to deal with aggressive individuals. I know that as I continue my career as a medical and home health social worker, I'll inevitably encounter many more risky situations. While I try to be aware of my surroundings and take precautionary measures (such as keeping pepper spray in my purse during home health visits), there are those scary moments when I find myself thinking, "Please don't hurt me!"

Here are a few things I've done in an attempt to minimize my risk at work:
-Carry pepper spray with me during home visits
-Inform friends and family when I&…


I finally signed up for a Twitter account! Feel free to add me for the latest updates: Follow me on Twitter!

How the Debt Ceiling Deal Affects MSW (and other Graduate) Students

After much political drama, the House of Representatives has finally passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, meant to stop the U.S. government from defaulting on its payments to U.S. government bondholders. This bill is bound to have many impacts, but for this particular post I will focus on Title V and its affects on graduate students, especially future social workers.

Title V consists of several parts:

$17 Billion to Save Pell Grants: According to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Budget Control Act of 2011 will allocate $17 billion towards the Federal Pell Grant Program in the next 3 years. The Pell Grant Program provides financial aid to low-income undergraduate and certain graduate students who likely would not be able to afford college otherwise. Unlike loans, these grants do not need to be repaid.

Elimination of Federal Direct Stafford Loans for Graduate Students: Currently, college students with financial need are allowed to receive $8500 in subsid…

Tiger Mom: Revisited

Lately, I've been reading the blog of Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, Amy Chua's daughter. Not only is Sophia obviously intelligent and hard working, but to my surprise also appears to be creative, witty, personable, and well-rounded. She also seems to have a great relationship with her mother, and is genuinely thankful for the way she was raised.

In several interviews following the release of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", Amy Chua stated that her book was meant to be a satire. After reading Sophia's blog, I'm more inclined to believe that Amy Chua exaggerated parts of her book and that she really wasn't that strict at all (relative to how I was raised). To compare, when I was Sophia's age I was not allowed to have a job, have a boyfriend, wear clothes that stylish (or even shave my legs), have my grades drop from from an A+ to A, and not major in anything but pre-med. Additionally, I have yet to read about Sophia or her sister Lulu receiving physical…