education

These Are the 7 Best Places to Live in the United States for 2017

For so many of us, relocating to a new city is a daunting experience. From finding new neighborhood favorites to maintaining sociability, moving has the power to leave you mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. But as you know the saying, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and it’s true in more ways than one.

The U.S. is a beautiful nation, full of vibrant cities that stand out on their own influence to attract visitors from around the world. But which of these is actually the best livable location for you and your family?

U.S. News & World Report released its list of the “Best Places to Live in America for 2017” after ranking the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. According to the report, these metro areas are evaluated by looking at five categories: desirability, value, job markets, quality of life and net migration.

Whether you plan on moving this year or are looking to visit a fresh, desirable city this spring, we look at the top seven best places to live in the United States for 2017 with help from U.S. News & World Report.

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Luke Bryan Pays It Back with His Latest EP and “Farm Tour”

{Image Credit: Capitol Records Nashville}

For years, reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan has given fans new music every spring break with his annual beach party-themed EPs. Fun-filled and nostalgic for old crowds and new, the records have been a favorite among many since its initial debut in 2009.

But after ending the highly anticipated tradition just last spring, Bryan is turning a new leaf this fall as he returns with a new collection of music — one the award-winning artist is better associated with: his country boy roots.

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How to Be Your Own Best Friend for a Healthier Lifestyle

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There’s no denying that while we might be surrounded by amazing relationships in our waking life, we have spent every moment from birth to now in our very own company. And the truth is, no matter who pops in and out of our life, we will always be the one soul consistently there for us.

It might sound like a lonely thing to say, but we never escape our own presence and in that understanding, we have the ability to be our own best friend, without fear and without judgement. After all, if we allow ourselves to be our own best friends, chances are we will never really be alone.

So often we disappear into those we love or the life we make, that we end up neglecting not just our family or friends, but ourselves. Whether you’re 34 or 64, how many friends you have and at what stage in life you’re at, it’s essential to recognize that you are capable of everything you imagine for the others you love in your own life.

In order to feel at peace and realize we are worthy of self-love, we need to build a solid friendship with our very being at the core. It might take some work and patience but with a careful mindfulness, you can surely get there.

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How Journaling Can Improve Your Life

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Between pimply, youthful dreams, pages plastered with Lisa Frank stickers and all that blue-penned angst, notebooks have a teenager-y sort of stigma. But “journaling” (as we refer to it in the post-puberty stages), is the next big trend this year following coloring books. The tradition of healthy reflections dates far back with some of the earliest journal writers including the Greeks, Romans, Japanese women of the 10th century and “enlightened” individuals during the Renaissance period.

However, by keeping a journal of sorts through a notebook or today’s standard, a blog, we allow ourselves a better chance to discover who we are. Journaling is a valid method in remembering ourselves when we first experienced specific moments. As a tool in recollection and contemplation for sincere living, journaling aids greatly in the big or loud aspects of our life. From happiness to hurt, first loves to heartbreaks, achievements to failures, writing down our thoughts helps keep a record of “what it felt to be me” during a period you might not realize was a learning experience.

In reflecting on those written words, we gain valuable bits of knowledge and insight into the puzzle of our purpose. From there, we are able to construct a life well worth living and loving through responsive emotions and thoughts. By increasing our own self-awareness and delving deeper into our true voices, we are able to make better-informed decisions to honor who we truly are.

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6 Awesome Back-To-School Apps to Rock Your Semester

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The start of a new school year is an exciting, yet busy time for students across the country. As many gear up for another semester full of homework, projects, tests and assigned readings, technology has never been more useful to the enterprising student looking to organize their day-to-day studies and heavy course loads with the help of their devices.

The truth of our modern times is that you won’t find a student without a mobile device. In a study from Purdue University, researchers discovered that students prefer using apps on their smartphones instead of web-based sites. Of the students surveyed at the Indiana university, it was stated that native apps are faster and simpler to navigate than web-based sites. With the ease and speed of app utilization by students around the nation, it is no wonder 78 percent have regular access to mobile devices today.

Easier than carrying around an agenda, the smartphone today is incredibly beneficial to students. Integrating technology into one’s timetable is a great way to reach new heights to organization and diversity in personal planning. While every student might already know which educational apps would benefit his or her needs most, there are a list of apps that no student should have to endure their semester without. As a student starting her third semester at Ball State, here are six of my favorite apps that have been extremely helpful in keeping me organized all semester long.

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Film Noir with a Touch of Class: TCM’s “Summer of Darkness” Now in Session!

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School’s not out for summer just yet. This month, class just got a whole lot cooler by letting students and cinema lovers dive deep into the world of film by devoting two to four hours a week, simply watching television. That’s right—you read correctly. Watch television and learn something?

In mid-May, it was announced that the Peabody Award-winning television network, Turner Classic Movies would collaborate with one of the nation’s best public institutions, Ball State University on the Canvas Network for a free online course open to the public. Leaping into the world of film noir with the help of social media, the course is one of several interactive efforts from the television broadcaster in hopes to connect audiences from around the world to study and appreciate the roots of this beloved, classic genre.

As a life-long fan of Turner Classic Movies and a student at Ball State, I truly believe this groundbreaking course redefines the medium of education, setting a definitive precedent for advanced learning that is open to all. It’s a big step forward into the tech-driven classroom culture and with the blend of television, this makes the experience all the more fun for everyone involved. Online education has exploded in recent years, giving students the chance to explore beyond the classroom and interact with technology, but this course is different in the sense that it’s not as isolating. With the combination of video lessons and lectures with social media, students will not just focus on the films itself, but gain knowledge from public discussion with others. The nine-week course running concurrently with TCM’s Summer of Darkness programming event (an annual tradition first introduced in 1999) will air 120 noir classics in 24-hour marathons every Friday in the month of June and July.

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Do You ‘Duolingo’?

As education rapidly moves to the online medium, a relatively new site and app called Duolingo is creating quite the buzz with users. The completely free language learning resource and tool is one of my new favorites and something I’m seriously addicted to. Ever since I bought my iPod Touch 5, I will admit that I downloaded a lot of games like Ghostbusters, The Simpsons Tapped Out and yes—Angry Birds, but that one is based entirely on my need to vent. (more…)

Raising Hope: Malala Yousafzai – The World’s Symbol of Promise

From a purely humanistic approach, life is not about how fast you can run or how high you can climb over the obstacles. The value as to the purpose of life may pertain to a higher purpose of confronting ultimate reality; to live one’s dreams, to matter in life, to count and to stand for something; to have made some difference in other people’s lives through personal sacrifices and ordeals; to follow or submit to destiny; to face our fears, hopes and then to accept the lessons life offers us; or to challenge oppression, and do it so with perseverance and faith with ability to bounce back.

This is what Malala Yousafzai embodies and personifies. It’s been said that everyone has the ability to become the hero of their own life story as it’s essential to fight for what you believe is right. This year the world met a brave young girl who has not just been a hero to many oppressed in a socially ravaged part of our world, but has become one of the most influential and talked about people. The amazing thing is, this charming young woman is only fourteen years old and already creating quite an impression with many worldwide.

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