The conscious rapper kicked off the University of South Florida's Fall Lecture Series on Monday night with a talk would have made Tony Robbins proud, teaching his philosophy of "find the right path, believe it, live it," from his new book One Day It'll All Make Sense.
The huge line to see the lecture stretched out the door of the Marshall Student Center ballroom, down the staircase to the first floor and outside into the amphitheater, where students waited in the rain.
After a crowd-pleasing freestyle that touched on the Andros dorms, Fowler Avenue and the late Leroy Selmon, Common talked about the life experiences that shaped him into the artist he is today.
Behind the mic or in front of the camera, Common's persona is one of extreme confidence, but, he said, it wasn't always that way. He explained that even after scoring a major hit with his now classic track "The Light," he still didn't fully believe in himself or his talent. The end of his relationship with singer Erykah Badu was a low point. [More after the jump.]
While the battle over the budget rages on in Washington, summer classes at the University of South Florida are slated to begin May 16. With only a month until another semester begins for many, financial aide counselors are advising students not to count on federal Pell grants to come through for this summer session.
The possible elimination of summer Pell grants arises from a compromise between the Obama administration and Republicans over the original deal, which would have cut the maximum Pell grant amount $5,500 by $445.
Pell grants are the holy grail of college funds, money from the government to go toward education that requires no repayment no repayment other than your heartfelt patriotism and a degree, that is. Pell grants are awarded based on FAFSA and are traditionally given to low-income students.
In college, summer classes are a great way to finish your education more quickly. When President Obama passed legislation to allow for a second Pell grant disbursement, the news was music to many students' ears. For many living on a tight budget, summer classes usually require additional income because there are few loans for summer tuition. According to the New York Times' David Leonhardt, the program ended up costing more than expected.
"The government estimated the cost to be roughly 1 percent of Pells annual $30 billion cost in future years. Instead, many more students than expected have signed up for the program and are receiving federal grants for summer classes. In 2013, summer grants are projected to make up $5 billion of the programs total $36 billion budget or a whopping 14 percent."
The Republicans may seem like the grim reapers of young poor people's educational pursuits, but there are some grounds for the cuts. Many in Washington are concerned about federal dollars landing in the hands of for-profit universities.
We aren't talking public universities, community colleges or Ivy Leagues here. These are the University of Phoenix types.
According to Bloomberg News, the University of Phoenix's parent company is Apollo Group Inc. They, along with other for-profit universities, reported that Pell grants make up 25% of revenue. Apollo, the largest for-profit university, got $1 billion from Pell grants in 2009-2010.
But for many students attending school and trying to better their lives with an education, the potential cuts to summer Pell grants seem to again limit options for completing their education.
I recently received an unusual academic degree: a Master of Science in Human-Canine Life Sciences. There is only one accredited university that offers such a degree: Bergin University of Canine Studies in Santa Rosa, California. The university also offers bachelor and associate of science degrees.
What does one learn in a dog-focused university?
Well, in the associate degree program on service dog education, students learn to train puppies starting when the puppies are only four weeks old. Students assist with the birth of litters of puppies, teach the dogs to enjoy being petted and handled, and teach them all the skills that a mobility assistance service dog needs to know. Students learn about creating a healthy and enriching environment for puppies. They learn that early experiences have a lasting impact on puppies and that socializing puppies to all kinds of people, places, sounds, and smells is important for any puppy but critical for a dog who will work as an assistance dog, accompanying his human partner to public places like malls, restaurants, and airports. Students train several dogs of various ages and take a dog everywhere they go. Students also learn about the clients who will ultimately partner with the service dogs they are training, studying the various disabilities that service dogs help mitigate.
As we stood saying goodbye on a steamy Florida summer night, I noticed my friend was acting a little erratic, shaking his hands in his pockets.
Dude, youre looking a little twitchy, I commented.
Oh, I look twitchy? he responded.
It was the next moment that shook us.
As he made his comment, he stepped forward with his right foot. It was at some moment after that step that he blacked out and stumbled forward, bouncing face-first off the pavement and landing in the grass. He laid there -- lights out -- for nearly a minute as the mood went from being a bit funny to near panicked.
Thankfully, he came to, asking Why am I on the ground? about twenty times, blood dripping from his left eye.
A story like this is far too common among young people, thanks to alcoholic energy drinks. In this case is the drink Four Loko, a caffeine-infused beverage that contains 12 percent alcohol. These dangerous cocktails, which include Sparks, Joose, and even Red Bull and vodka, leave you drunk yet feeling alert, so your body is even more disoriented than just drinking alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, these drinks can lead to heavier drinking and alcohol-related injuries. As your central nervous system gets boosted from the stimulants, your body falsely believes that everything is fine, and then it hits like a freight train.
In case you didnt know, even though professional baseball is just getting into the real meat of the season, college baseball is winding down. While the teams congregating in Clearwaters Bright House Field may seem to be made up of overgrown Little League players, some of them could very well be seen in the lineups for next years major and minor league teams.
The Big East Conference is hosting its baseball championship in the Philies spring training grounds. The double elimination tournament began on Wednesday and will wrap up on Sunday at noon. Many of the teams arent as well-known as those in other conferences, but the tournament includes the University of South Florida.
While the Bulls lost to St. John's on Wednesday night, they pulled out a big win to eliminate West Virginia University on Thursday. They will play against the first seed University of Louisville on Friday at 7 P.M.
Games are Wed. May 26 until Sun. May 30. Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Rd., Clearwater. Tickets start at $4. Student and Senior discounts. www.bigeastbaseball.com
Rachel Kaylor is a junior at USF majoring in broadcast journalism. She'll be writing about USF topics for the Daily Loaf, including the music scene.
The deafening sound of the stereo being turned up, the banter of instruments, the first note of the song and the concert begins. This scene attracted four USF students back in 2007 when they took their backgrounds as band geeks and started a ska band.
The four boys were in band together at Satellite Beach High School in Satellite, Florida. In 2007, when they were juniors, they started to think about starting a band of their own. Elliot Dickinson, now a USF sophomore majoring in music performance, said, We wanted something less formal, we all excelled at music and we hung out all the time anyway.
Dickinson said the idea for the name came from a shirt he got while visiting his sister in Japan. "The shirt said 'The Ambassy Want You' and we liked that it didnt make sense. With a name in place, the only thing left was the music.
We really had to figure it out, listening to different bands and creating our own sound with different ideas, said Dickinson. The band started out covering the band Reel Big Fish, and as they got better they started to define their own style, said Will Brant, a sophomore at USF majoring in music composition.
The music comes straight from their heads to their hands and is quickly written on paper. Most of the time we just sit around with an acoustic guitar and write down melodies," said Dickinson.
The boys collaborate to make a final product that sounds good to them. A lot of songs are inspired by our life situations or things that have happened to us, said John Macdonald, a sophomore majoring in music performance.
Thousands voted, but only one of our College Guide contestants could win it all: Amanda Abadi of the University of Tampa.
Her inventive video which we refer to informally as "Crocodile Dundee Meets UT" drew 6,694 votes in our College Guides 2009 contest. Readers were asked to choose their favorite entry from a collection of videos, photos and essays created by seven students as portraits of their respective schools.
Amanda is a second-year MBA student at UT, which she also attended as an undergrad; all that experience must have helped, because her video takes in just about every corner of campus life.
Junior, Journalism (News/Editorial)
My USF is: The professors who teach me about myself and the world.
For Evan, the most memorable aspect of his college experience was wait for it the education! And as an old-school kind of guy, he decided not to go the video route to sum up that experience but instead reported on it the old-fashioned way in writing. Read his essay, below, about four favorite professors, and listen to his audio slide show about them, with photos by Rebecca Wainright.
Everybody seems to have favorite teachers. For me, its been USFs teachers of liberal arts. Although I had one English teacher who mocked me for reading books in class really for the most part Ive had good luck with people on the humanities side of the academic fence.