Connect with us

College Life

5 Lessons I Learned from Playing Cards with My Grandma

Alexis Dietz

Published

on

As I was growing up, my family spent every summer at my grandparents’ house. The grandkids would spend all day outside on the lake, swimming and playing yard games. But as soon as the sun faded away behind the horizon, you could find us all sitting around the card table playing a game of Joker with our ‘Mimi.’ For those of you who are not familiar with the game, this is a brief run-down of the rules:

Each player has five marbles that start in the home space. The objective of the game is to get all of your marbles around the board and into the last ‘finish’ space, similar to games, ‘Sorry’ or ‘Trouble.’ The player who sits across from you is on your team. Both you and your teammate must get all of the marbles around the board and into the ‘finish’ space in order to win. 

You need a face card or an Ace to get out of home, an eight goes backward, a seven can be split between two marbles, and all the other cards are worth their number value. A joker is a special card that allows you to either switch places with your teammate or take someone on the other team off the board. Each player has five cards in their hand, and you draw a card each time before your turn. 

In all our years of playing Joker, I am not sure there was ever a time Mimi’s team lost. This is because Mimi had a list of tricks she would follow and repeat to us over and over throughout the years. As a child I thought she was just teaching me how to be a better Joker player, what I did not realize at the time was she was actually teaching me lessons that would carry meaning throughout the rest of my life, shaping me into the person I am today. These are the lessons I learned from playing cards with my grandma: 

1. Always keep an Ace in your hand.

This first lesson is pretty straight forward. Always keep an Ace in your hand. In Joker, an Ace is a card that can get you out of almost any predicament. It can get your marble out and on the board, but it is also worth the number value of one, which can help sort out your marbles if you are in a jam right before you reach the ‘finish’ space. Keeping an Ace in your hand is strategic, it is thinking ahead and preparing for future trouble you might get yourself into. Not only did Mimi make sure we had an Ace in our hand to get us out of trouble in a game of Joker, but she also made sure we were set up with the right tools to be successful in life; a strong support group, a good education, and a whole lot of love. 

2. Don’t forget you have a teammate.

In Joker, even if you get all of your marbles around the board and to the finish, you still cannot win until your teammate has done the same. There are different ways you can help your teammate throughout the game, usually with a seven or a joker. Mimi would always advise us to help our teammate every chance we had. This is a smart move in the game of Joker because once your teammate has all of their marbles in the finish, they can start playing for you. So, helping your teammate get all of their marbles to the ‘finish’ space is just as beneficial for you as it is for them. 

I have found this to be very true in all areas of life. Anytime I help someone out, whether it be a small act of kindness like holding a door open for someone with their hands full or doing volunteer work, I have discovered I always end up taking away just as much as I had given, whether it be a new skill I learned in the process, a new friend I had made, or a new perspective. The other element to this lesson I learned from playing cards with my grandma is knowing that you always have a teammate to help you out as well. You are never completely on your own during a game of Joker. Mimi has always emphasized that this is true in our everyday lives as well. No matter how much trouble we get ourselves into, we will always have our family doing all they can to help us out.  

3. No ‘table talk.’

Conversation was not only welcomed but encouraged at the card table. This conversation, however, did not include ‘table talk.’ Table talk is when you either directly tell your teammate what you are planning on doing, what card you have, or what you would like them to do. It also includes any suggesting action portraying this information to your teammate. Table talk in the game of Joker is a form of cheating, but people tend to do it anyway.

This is because it is natural for us as human beings to want reassurance and a second opinion before we make a move that might impact the final outcome of the game. I always thought Mimi was so against table talk because it is cheating, and cheating is wrong. What I did not realize at the time was she was actually training us to make decisions for ourselves and believe in our own abilities without the reassurance of others. It can be really scary to make a decision all by yourself without any guarantee that it is the right decision. But you are not always going to know what the correct next move is, and you will have to take a chance and have trust in yourself. It takes a lot of practice to have this self-confidence and I am very grateful for the years of practicing these skills at the card table with my grandmother. 

Source

4. A card laid, is a card played.

When I was young and still learning the game of Joker, I would sometimes put down a card and then realize it left me in a bad spot or there was a better move I wanted to make. I would ask to pick the card back up and redo it. My grandma would always say, “a card laid is a card played” and point to the next person to go. I always thought this was just because my grandma wanted to win. What I didn’t realize is she was teaching me to think before I act. Often in life, there are no take-backs with the decisions we make, and it is important we analyze our cards and the board in front of us well. To consider all of our options before we make a move. 

5. “The games not over until the old lady sings, and I’m not singin’ yet.”

What frustrated Mimi most in a game of Joker was not being taken off the board by an opponent or having no face cards to get on the board. It was when one of her grandkids would get discouraged and want to give up. Joker is a game that can take a turn at any moment. You can spend turn after turn not able to get out, but once you get that face card, your hand is stacked, and you are quickly back in the game. No matter how far behind or how badly one of us wanted to quit, Mimi would never allow it. Every game we started, we finished no matter the circumstances. This, I believe, is the most important lesson I learned from playing cards with my grandma. No matter the circumstances you face in life, you cannot just walk away when things aren’t going your way. You have to stick it out and see how the rest of the cards fall. 

Over the past few weeks, as I have been living at my grandparents’ house and helping take care of my grandma, I have grown to have a new appreciation for these card games. I have had time to reflect on these games and the lessons they hold. Now, each time I sit down at the card table, I listen closely to what Mimi says while taking every bit of advice she gives into consideration.

Continue Reading

College Life

5 Tips for Surviving Remote Learning and Knowing When To Make a Change

Published

on

Woman in a dark cardigan and white shirt, looking at the computer, biting her pencil

Remote learning is a complete game-changer. For some students, it might be better than in-person classes. You don’t have to worry about getting yourself out of bed anymore, and the flexible schedules may be a godsend for some.

On the other hand, according to a study, many college students find remote learning to be somehow more stressful and less instructive than in-person learning.

Last spring, many universities adopted some type of pass/fail model. This allowed students who were dealing with difficult circumstances to adapt as well as they could with a fail-safe ready.

This semester, most students have been thrown back into what will look like a regular school year (at least on their transcripts, if not in reality). Here are some tips for adapting to the new school year and things to consider if remote school just isn’t for you.

1. Don’t be afraid to change your routine completely

Remote learning is completely different from regular in-person classes, and you really have to change your routine in order to make it work for you.

For example, a lot of students don’t give themselves any time between remote classes, when in reality they probably need more. Schedule snacks and walking breaks into your class schedule. And since they are already home all of the time, it’s really difficult for some people to come up with work hours.

For some students, this might sap working motivation, and for others, it might put a layer of anxiety over any relaxation time. If you’re the first kind of student, consider blocking out a specific work schedule with breaks interspersed, so you can actually get some work done.

And if you are a more anxious student, consider allocating a specific place in your dorm or apartment, or find somewhere outside, to do your work. Instead of doing work in bed or on the couch, label a specific place as your work area; this way, you won’t feel like you are constantly in a work environment, with all of the pressure that entails.

2. Start your day definitively

Part of what makes remote learning so strange is that your day never really seems to start. You can wake up, stay in your pajamas, go to class, and then fall right back asleep, staying in one room the entire time.

Don’t let this be your routine. Plan to eat breakfast. Consider doing something that makes your mornings just a little bit more pleasant with a little bit of yoga or some meditation. But try your hardest not to make classes a blip in your lounging schedule, because that will lead to disaster.

3. Schedule movement

This is probably the best way to keep yourself motivated and avoid that feeling of overwhelming laziness. As mentioned in the first tip, you have to really mix up your routine sometimes.

Do that by scheduling movement throughout the day. Go for a run in the morning. Take little walks around the block when you would normally have been walking to class.

Do some easy warm-up stretches before sitting down to another Zoom meeting. Consider putting your calls on headphones and just walking around your dorm or apartment while chatting with someone.

4. Give yourself a break

It could take a long time to adapt to virtual learning. The entire country is also in a precarious place in a lot of ways, and anxiety is totally normal. Instead of expecting your usual level of output, it’s okay to see some decreased levels of motivation and productivity.

If you see yourself struggling right off the bat, consider dropping down to a lighter class load. Many universities, though they are reverting to a regular grading system, are giving students more time to drop classes.

So take advantage of that offer if you need to! Employers will understand if you need to take fewer classes. Go for quality over quantity.

5. It’s okay if remote learning is not for you

It’s incredibly important to be honest with yourself. If this fall semester doesn’t go well and you know that a remote semester isn’t for you, consider a deferral.

The current schooling paradigm is a continuous model of going to school for 15 years straight and then entering the workforce. But that does not need to be followed by everyone. If remote learning just goes in one ear and out the other, don’t waste your education or tuition.

Consider taking a semester or quarter off in order to participate in any number of amazing remote opportunities. You can apply for an internship or think about an independent research project.

Check out volunteer positions and roles in your area or get involved with community organizing for a movement that specifically interests you. It’s also okay to take a lighter course load if that would help you retain the information you learn online better.

Continue Reading

College Life

9 Legit College Jobs This Fall For Students

Emily Bevacqua

Published

on

Sign being held up in an office, in front of a group of people saying "We're Hiring"

Finding work during a pandemic can be difficult. However, with schools starting up again, there are more opportunities for college students to find part-time jobs. Both on- and off-campus students can get work if they want it — they just need to look in the right places.

There’s a reason why society associates college students with being broke: they spend a lot of money. Tuition, room and board, meal plans, parking passes, textbooks — the list is never-ending. Oftentimes students need a part-time job in order to support themselves.

The efforts to end the pandemic while keeping schools open has caused thousands of college students to either be stuck at home or quarantined on campus. With unemployment rates at an all-time high, finding a job right now may seem impossible. However, the new school year brings opportunities both on- and off-campus.

On-Campus

Many campuses are staying open for a select number of students. This means that there is a need for people to work in buildings in order to keep them open and running. The best place to start looking for part-time work is in these pertinent buildings:

  • Academic Departments. Advising services and departments at colleges and universities will remain open throughout the semester for students to utilize. Although these services have most likely been altered to have remote sessions, someone needs to be manning the phone and scheduling appointments. Reception work is a great way to show future employers that you have strong communication skills, good organizational abilities, and can work well with others.
A person looking into the camera with binoculars, wearing a dark shirt and "JOB SEARCH" overlaid on top.
Source:
  • Dining halls. If there are people on campus, they are going to need to be fed! Dining halls, cafes, and cafeterias on campus will need staff in the kitchen, cleaning the tables and dishes, and serving visitors in order to keep operating. Working in dining halls can give students experience working under the pressure of rush hours, collaboratively working with others to make things run smoothly, and being friendly in order to maintain good customer service.
  • Dorms. Students living on campus have strict rules and regulations to follow in order to keep everyone healthy. Security guards and RAs for dormitories are even more crucial now than they were before. Both of these positions would show future employers that you are organized, patient, and responsible. These jobs, especially for an RA, require a lot of people skills, which are important to have for future jobs.
  • Libraries. On-campus libraries offer many different job opportunities. Services for technology and tutoring are often found in campus libraries, and they are still needed despite the decrease in the campus population. Students can also work behind the front desk, doing reception work, or helping librarians with book returns. Any job found in a library can improve one’s organizational skills, time management skills, and communication skills.
  • Labs. Research labs do not stop their work for a pandemic. Some researchers are looking for a vaccine for COVID-19 or a cure for cancer, and time is precious. Lab assistants can help researchers save time since dividing the work among multiple people will help them get things done. Lab assistants have the opportunity to develop many valuable skills, such as collaboration, organization, and analyzation, as well as many other field-specific skills.

The next best place to start looking for a job is to see if your school has a job board. Not only does the school post available on-campus jobs, but people in the community can post opportunities as well!

Drawing of a white woman with braided dark hair in a purple shirt, a bearded black man in a green shirt, and another white woman with dark hair, glasses, in an orange shirt
Source:

Off-Campus

If a student is studying remotely or is commuting to school, there are plenty of job opportunities for those students as well. The following jobs provide opportunities to teach valuable skills, even if they seem irrelevant.

  • Tutoring. There is no doubt that learning for K-12 students will be more difficult than usual due to remote work or hybrid schooling. Parents will need help keeping their children on top of their schoolwork while also working themselves. Being a tutor for younger children is a great way to learn patience and compassion while developing teaching and communication skills at the same time.
  • Babysitting. This semester, children will be home for some, if not all, of their school day, and parents will be busy with work, whether at home or in person, and they will need someone to watch their kids. Babysitting may seem like an irrelevant job in regard to building skills for the future; however, it can teach people time management skills and teaching skills. Babysitting can demonstrate how creative and responsible a person is, as well as their ability to multitask.
  • Animal caretakers. Taking care of animals can be just as important as taking care of children. Stopping by someone’s house to let the dog out and play with it for a few hours may seem like child’s play; however, taking care of an animal means watching it with a close eye and possibly even training it. Training an animal takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. Working as an animal caretaker is a great way to relieve stress as well!
Sign being held up on a red background stating "WE ARE HIRING"
Source:
  • Brand ambassadors. Being a brand ambassador is another way to earn money. This job requires a person to simply wear or use the product daily in their life and post on social media about it. Most college students are going to be on social media anyway, so why not earn money while doing it? Having social media skills is a commonly used ability in today’s world with technology increasing seemingly every day. Being a brand ambassador would also show a person’s sales and communication skills.

Whatever job a college student ends up having, it’s important to understand that working while in college shouldn’t be stressful. A job should be flexible, stress-free, and help you gain skills you can use in your future career. It’s what students take out of a job that’s important, not the title of the job itself.

Continue Reading

College Life

7 Tips to Socialize as a College Freshman During the Pandemic

Anna Anderson

Published

on

Three students sitting at tables, looking at laptops.
Source

As a freshman, you may be nervous about making friends during the pandemic. Schools everywhere are tightening their rules, making it safer but more difficult to socialize. The following article will provide you with social tips to use on a virtual campus. These should help you make new friends during your first year at college.

1. School events

Your school will likely give you options for freshman bonding activities. These will probably be Zoom meetings and online events, in order to avoid having large gatherings. Even though these won’t be the same as meeting people in person, you should attend these events; they are a way to introduce yourself and get to know other freshmen. These virtual events and meetings can be helpful if you put effort into them and show off your personality.

2. Social media

You can use the internet to your advantage by reaching out to people through social media. Join Facebook groups and follow Instagram and Twitter feeds for the Class of 2024. Don’t be afraid to post on them and ask people if they’re interested in hanging out. There will be many people in the same boat as you, so don’t be embarrassed. A lot of your peers will also want to make friends in college.

3. Clubs

Go to your school’s website and look for club offerings. Contact any of the clubs that might interest you. Even if you can’t do the activities in person this year, it’s a good way to set up connections. You can meet people with similar interests and go to the clubs in the future.

4. Peers

If you have some in-person classes, be sure to strike up a conversation with your peers before and after class. If all of your classes are remote classes, it might be harder to get to know your peers, but there are ways.

Get study groups together for quizzes and exams; this will help you academically and could be a good way to get to know the people in your classes.

5. Make the most of in-person interaction

If you are on campus this year, talk to the people living in your dorm, especially those living on the same floor as you. These are people who are easy to see frequently. You can make small talk in the bathroom or the hallway and hang out in common areas. It’s easy to become close with people you see every day.

6. Take initiative

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Ask people to hang out by going on a walk in the park or getting take-out together. Odds are that they’ll say yes. It’s much better to be friendly and outgoing with new people than to close yourself off early. If you don’t take action, it will be much harder to make friends. A few rejections here and there won’t compare to the amazing friendships that you’ll make.

7. Multitask

Pursue multiple avenues for making friends. Do as many of the above actions as you can. In the beginning, try to make a lot of new friends, rather than tying yourself down to one or two. Your friendships will change over time, likely not remaining the same throughout all of college. Therefore, you should try hanging out with multiple groups of people before finding who fits into your life the best. You will have to explore and get to know different people before finding the ones who will matter most to you.

For all incoming freshmen, there is still a lot to look forward to. College life may be different from how it is typically, but you can adjust and make the most of it. Don’t forget to study hard for your degree, and have fun making plenty of friends!

Continue Reading

Trending